UNESCO has recognized the unique heritage of Riga's wooden architecture and part of that heritage can be explored on Ķīpsala, the central island on the Daugava in Riga.
Some of the buildings have been restored to their original appearance, others are complemented by modern additions and a few - like the fine, wooden structure on Balasta dambis 60 - have been moved there from central Riga to save them from destruction. The Australian home beside it - complete with a kangaroo on the roof - is also worth a look.
After walking along Ogļu iela, go to Zvejnieku iela 5a to see one of the elegant buildings designed by leading Latvian National Romanticist Eižens Laube, then return to the Philosophers' House on Balasta dambis 68b, followed by dinner at the Fabrika restaurant.
In 2009, the construction of the Žanis Lipke Museum (Žaņa Lipkes muzejs) began on Ķīpsala. Together with his wife Johanna, Žanis Lipke saved the lives of approximately 55 Jews during the Nazi occupation of Latvia (1941-1945), hiding many in a bunker under the shed behind his home on Balasta dambis. The architect of the museum - which will also be of wood - is Zaiga Gaile, a prominent preservationist who has rescued many of Latvia's wooden structures.
Photo: Kirils Kirasirovs
Keywords: Riga, architecture