A mixture of styles in Riga – private tour about Pēkšēns soon


Riga is known for its breathtaking collection of Art Nouveau architecture. It’s also a meeting point of Germanic, Slavic, and Scandinavian cultures. Perhaps less obvious is the fact that its architecture is in fact an expression of its multiculturalism on several different levels. Not only were its buildings designed by architects of different ethnicities, but they also showcased trends from across fin-de-siècle Europe and borrowed symbols from different continents, civilisations, and religions to create an architectural language of their own.

Two of the most intriguing animal designs found throughout Riga are those of peacocks and dragons. The peacock is an understandable choice for a façade decoration, and many Art Nouveau architects indeed saw it as the best expression of their cult of beauty.

Perhaps most unusual is the use of dragons in Riga’s architecture, something favoured by the Latvian architect Pekšens. Although dragons are often associated with malice in western European mythology, in East Asian cultures they symbolise strength, fertility, wisdom and prosperity.

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As in Summer 2017 we have updated this article because we have started offering the tour: