Riga: Art Nouveau



September 4, 2014

To buy or not to buy? 

As the American actress Mae West (1893-1980) once remarked, “I never let anything tempt me, unless I can’t resist it.”

On Alberta Street, I couldn’t resist the book Art Nouveau in Riga.*

Despite my protestations, my pleadings , my sob stories and my best negotiating and bargaining skills, the Latvian (or was she Russian?) saleslady did not budge from the asking price of ten Euros for the book.  Honestly?  It is worth every penny.

In this small, glossy, colorful book, the authors and photographers captured what I tried my best to photograph – the impressive beauty of many of the Art Nouveau buildings and the exterior sculptures and decoration.

The authors:

“In the Art Nouveau style, 850 buildings were built in Riga at the turn of the Century, many of which are under the protection of UNESCO….

 “Take your time dear readers, while walking the streets of this city, to gaze up to have a closer look at the facades of the buildings.  Then you will truly enjoy the magic beauty of delicate balconies, unusual form windows, fantastic turrets and intricate grills.

 “Human masks and masks of exotic animals, sphinxes and atlases, delicate female figures and figures of antique gods – all this surprises you and fills with admiration, making you return to the streets of Riga again and again.”

(The most prominent architect was the Russian born, Mikhail Eisenstein.)

Where have I seen this before?  Where can I see this again?  I did a search.

One article lists Riga as one of the best European cities to view Art Nouveau architecture.   Some of the other cities are Prague, Paris, Brussels, London and Glasgow.  “The entire city of Riga stands as an Art Nouveau attraction.” ….”The metropolis of Art Nouveau” claims another article.

Many of the buildings are clustered around Alberta Street (the appropriate location for the bookshop).   Many of the buildings are scattered around the city.

“Take your time, dear readers.” Take a stroll through this city.   So far, my favorite city in The Baltics.

 Not crowded.  Inexpensive.  Delicious.  Expansive.  Artistic.  Welcoming.



*Art Nouveau in Riga.  Larisa Klegere, Andis Kalnins, Janis Knakis, et.al.  EGANN, SIA, Riga