If you decided to spend your vacation or weekend in a charming Latvian capital, you will like its narrow streets, cozy courtyards, exquisite architecture, and gourmet cafes. But it’s worth to mention that Riga is one of the main Baltics cultural centers with a huge number of historical, art, and modern museums. Let’s look at Riga’s most interesting and amazing museums that are worth to visit while travelling.
The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia in Riga is one of the most interesting historical museums, devoted to the period of Soviet and Nazi occupation. The museum was founded in 1993 and displays the history from 1940 to 1991 years. The expositions depict all aspects of life under totalitarian rule. Visitors can observe historical evidence, artefacts, documentary films, personal effects of deportees, political prisoners, and eyewitnesses of those events. Visitors can also discover a lot of interesting facts about the partisan movement in Latvia and their struggle for national liberation. A visit to the museum is a part of official programs for all foreign leaders and diplomats during their visits to Latvia. The museum is opened daily, from 11:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. The entrance fee is a voluntary donation.
Art Nouveau architecture is Riga’s most recognizable feature that makes this city so special among the other Baltic and European capitals. Exquisite Art Nouveau buildings are the point of pride of Riga’s citizens and the most popular tourist attractions. Riga Art Nouveau Museum located in the historic part of the city on Alberta Street 12. The museum’s address is symbolic since it is placed in the house of one of the most prominent Latvian Art Nouveau architects – Konstantins Peksens. The building of the museum is a true masterpiece of Riga Modern, it was created in the 1903 year as a private residence of the architect. In the museum visitors can have a closer look at the history and distinctive features of Riga’s Modern; room by room, explore an authentic interior of the Art Nouveau apartment and find out more about the Art Nouveau style not only in exterior, but in interior, furniture, and glassware design. The working hours of the museum: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed on Monday. The entrance fee is about 5 euros.
Impressive Latvian War Museum that is settled in a stunning architectural monument, Powder Tower, in the heart of Old Riga depicts Latvian military history from ancient times to the 20th century. It is one of the most visited Latvian museums with a collection of more than 25,000 pieces. There are some permanent exhibitions that cover the period from the 9th to 19th centuries, and several exhibitions devoted to the history of the 20th century, the struggle of Latvian nation in the First and Second World Wars. The visitors can observe unique samples of weapons, armor, military uniforms; explore a lot of historical documents and photographic evidence. The museum is opened daily, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the entrance is free.
One of the most fascinating Latvian museums that please everyone and even people who had never been interested in cars is Riga Motor Museum that boasts the largest collection of vintage cars and retro vehicles. Passing through several floors of the museum, you will discover the history of the automotive industry and see unique collections of vintage, classic, rare, and race cars, motorcycles from around the world. You can explore each vehicle and discover its history. Special attention is paid to cars and buses that were produced in Latvia. There is an exposition of military and special vehicles from the time of the Soviet Union. You’ll also discover a unique collection of cars used by Soviet officials. The museum is opened daily, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the entrance fee is 10 euros for adults and 5 euros for children.
The ethnic museum “The World of Hat” represents a marvelous collection of traditional headwear from all over the world. It’s a cozy private museum that consists of five rooms in which authentic women’s and men’s hats from Africa, Latin America, Europe, and Asia are collected. Each hat in the museum is a piece of art, made by hand; it has its own fascinating history and symbolic meaning. The World of Hat awaits its visitors from Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
In Riga is also placed one in a kind European museum dedicated to the Sun. Beautiful and cozy Sun Museum was started as a private collection of its owner, Iveta Grazule, and nowadays the exhibition consists of about four hundred pieces that illustrate how the Sun is seen in different nations and cultures. It includes symbols of the Sun from all over the world that is made from wood, porcelain, metal, coconut, glass, etc. In this comfortable and warm space, every visitor can make its own museum piece during the workshops that are conducted in the museum and included in the entrance fee.
Take a 30-minutes bus drive from the center of Riga and immerse yourself in a distinctive Latvian history and culture that is depicted in the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum. The museum was founded in the early 20th century to preserve the unique samples of rural Latvian architecture and handicrafts that had deep roots in authentic traditions. Nowadays tourists can observe a collection of ancient houses, barns, household items, working tools from all over the country and find out more about regional differences in architecture. The museum offers its visitors a great number of activities including guided tours, educational programs, workshops, etc. Different festivals and folk celebrations are often held here. The entrance fee is 2 – 4 euros; the museum is opened daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in winter and to 8 p.m. in summer.
The Art Museum Riga Bourse is located in an exquisite historic building of the 19th century and famous for its great collection of Oriental and Western art. The museum is divided into four exhibitions. The first one is the Oriental Gallery that is dedicated to Chinas, Japanese, Indian, Egyptian art. In the Western Gallery tourists can enjoy the most beautiful samples of European porcelain. In the Painting Gallery placed a collection of paintings of the best European artists. Silver Cabinet gathers the best samples of silver work. In 2013 the museum was rewarded as one of the most successful European museums. The museum works daily except Monday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The entrance fee is about 3,50 euros.
Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation was founded in the 1773 year in one of the most recognizable Riga’s landmarks – Riga Dom Cathedral. The museum was established as a private collection and considered as the oldest museum in Baltics and one of the oldest museums in Europe. It boasts the richest collection of antique exhibits, historical artefacts, ship models, navigation tools, maps, and documents. The halls of the museum are organized in chronological order and display all the history of Latvia from the 12th century to modern times. The museum works from Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The entrance fee is 5 euros.
At Riga Museum of Anatomy will not reveal any new facts about Latvian culture and history but show you a lot of secrets about the human body. The Museum of Anatomy is placed in the building of Anatomic Theatre. It was founded in the early 20th century and has been used as an educational museum for health-care students. The museum collections include more than 6.000 exhibits that displaying different parts of the human body, normal and pathological anatomy, a collection of embryology, etc.
The museum is opened from Monday to Friday, at 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
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Visit Riga and discover its best museums!