The Many Faces of Rīga:

“My Rīga...”

Krzysztof, moved to Rīga from Warsaw in 1999:

“In Latvia people cut their hair only during the waning moon, and their nails – never on a Sunday. Remember not to put your briefcase on the floor unless you want to have serious financial problems. Never whistle when inside, or you will summon the devil! If you were taught never to go on a swamp, in Latvia you can forget this silly rule – EVERYBODY does, as this is where the best cowberries and cranberries grow. And you better not make yourself look silly by showing off your noble surname. Here the only part of the society which is considered to deserve extra respect are people born nine months after Līgo, the national mysterium of fertility. A British journalist once concluded that Latvia is the last pagan country in Europe. Well... exactly! Welcome to Latvia – a unique place where one can still sense reminders of pre-Christian Europe!”

Jerry, moved to Rīga from Estonia in 1996:

Rīga is a great place for business. Rīga is one of the largest cities on the Baltic sea coast, and certainly in the Baltic States, with liberal economic policies that make it easy for the foreign investor to get in – and get out. Although once in, you may also want to stay. The quality of life in Rīga is excellent. As the capital city, Rīga attracts the best workforce of the country, it is well connected to the other cities in Europe, and it offers walkable distances, a rich cultural life, nearness of nature, and a thriving and friendly international community.

Brigita, moved to Rīga from Melbourne in 1993:

“Rīga’s most endearing quality is that it’s compact. This isn’t simply a useful party component; it’s more a state of being. Living in Rīga, you can be anywhere else in Europe quickly. You can also be at the beach in half an hour, or deep in the fresh nature of your choice, in even less time. But if you don’t actually leave it, old town is an eloquent and compact history lesson. Most streets, with at least one wooden, Art Nouveau and Art Deco building, are an even more compact ‘history of architecture’ text book. It’s pleasing to the eye to scan, contrast, whimsy, texture, story, history, mystery. If you stand in the centre of Rātslaukums, you have a 360’ panorama of Rīga today, the good and the bad! If you do the same on the corner of the Saeima and Klosteru iela, you can see the 13th through to the 20th century by turning on a coin. And, the sleeper suburbs are also compact enough to be avoided easily! The emergence of the new ‘creative quarters’ will further entrench the delight of clever compact neighbourhoods, and ultimately, the legacy of diverse nationalities living side by side in a busy merchant port is what has given Rīga its unique patina!”