When visiting Riga, the beautiful capital of Latvia, there is much to see and experience, especially for those who are fans of European architecture. In particular, the city is home to many sites that showcase Art Nouveau.
But before we go any further, let us first answer a very important question — What exactly is Art Nouveau architecture?
Art Nouveau Architecture
The Spruce explains Art Nouveau as "a late 19th and early 20th century aesthetic movement that is influenced by the natural world and defined by organic shapes and sinuous lines." It first emerged in the 1890s specifically in Belgium, and its influence stretched to visual arts, interior design, jewelry design, and architecture.
When it comes to architecture, key characteristics of Art Nouveau include stylized versions of natural elements, intricate mosaic work, and even stained and curved glass.
"Regarding the architecture itself, the 'materials of the modern world' such as iron, glass and cement are considered, allied to the praise of the rationality of science and engineering," says ArchDaily.
Related Article: World Architecture: Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau Archiecture in Riga
If you're on the hunt for picture-perfect Art Nouveau architecture, the city to be in is Riga. In fact, one third of the architecture found in Latvia's capital city is Art Nouveau.
Alberta iela, otherwise known as Albert Street, is lined with numerous buildings done in the Art Nouveau style. Many of the buildings found here were designed by Mikhail Eisenstein, one of the city's most prolific Art Nouveau architects.
Another area you can head to for more architecture following this style is Elizabetes Street. One of the most standout buildings here can be found at 10b Elizabetes Street. Also designed by Mikhail Eisenstein, this blue building is one of the most photographed structures in the area.
It is not hard to understand why as seen in the photo below.
If those streets are not enough to sate your curiosity for Art Nouveau architecture, wander along to Jauniela Street, which is only 225 meters long. While it's best known as Baker Street in the Soviet TV series "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson," it is also known for its Art Nouveau-style buildings.
Riga Art Nouveau Centre
If you want to dive deep into Art Nouveau and go beyond just architecture, head on to the Riga Art Nouveau Centre. It is located in a building that once belonged to Konstantīns Pēkšēns, who is one of the best known Latvian Art Nouveau architects.
Located along Albert Street, its interiors have been renovated to recreate the authentic interiors from 1903. There is Art Nouveau everywhere here, including the door handles, stained glass windows, and the breathtaking spiral staircase.
Read Also: Brussels: The Center of Art Nouveau
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