Before visiting, I pictured Riga having mostly modern, some old fashioned and sparsely art nouveau style architecture. Oh how wrong I was. The art nouveau architecture is everywhere you turn and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be singing the intro to ‘Bel Air’ by Lana Del Rey around every corner. “Gaaargooooyles, staaanding at the front of yo-our gate”. You won’t know which way to turn for romantic tortured faces with floral motifs.
Now, I’m no architectural expert, I actually know nothing about any kind of architecture except that those buildings looks modern and that one looks old. But because I’m a pedantic travel planner, I had to research every little detail of the history of art nouveau in Riga before I went.Here’s a brief summary of what I learned: Art Nouveau was super popular in Europe during the early 20th century when everything was romantic and flowery and Gothic. Riga jumped on the bandwagon of this craze and in turn, now have the largest collection of art nouveau architecture in Europe.Alberta Iela is a street completely dedicated to this type of architecture equip with a stylised restaurant, cafe and a museum that was sadly closed for renovation for the four days I was there.Although the Alberta Iela is the best place to see this kind of architecture, you can see it all over Riga, even in Old Town, so don’t worry if you’ve got limited time in Riga, you can still catch the Art Nouveau without going too much out of your way.