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With over twenty years of liberty and a restored status as Latvia's capital added to its repertoire, Riga is recovering its legitimate title as the cosmopolitan foundation of the Baltic.
Sitting at the junction of the immense realms that composed the pages of Europe's intricate history, Riga was – for a considerable length of time – a vital linchpin in the conquest of essential grounds. Today, the city is unrecognizable - chic, enthusiastic and flooding with iconic architectures.
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In the course of recent years, hip bistros have spread like rapidly spreading conflagration all through the downtown area, sweaty pork-and-potato suppers have been swapped for canny new-Nordic dishes, and several disintegrating veneers are being restored to their splendid, workmanship nouveau shine – all in time for Riga to win the potentially deserving merited honor of being named European Capital of Culture for 2014.
A graceful induction of EU's financial aid has further secured Riga's UNESCO-ensured castle center, while bold efforts at civic, sculpture like architectural planning have given the cultural capital a certain 21st-century feel. Various celebrations fill the annual time-table – from city's celebration of its German, Swedish and Russian history to enthusiastic occasions exhibiting numerous time honed Latvian customs.
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Held on the late Summer solstice i.e. 23rd and 24th of June, Ligo and Jaņi are Riga's most vital days, celebrated with profound agnostic undertones. Despite the fact that most city occupants head to the rustic field for bonfires, lagers and getting naked, the capital stays exuberant, with parades and local people wearing ethnic dresses.
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Riga's Blackheads' House was known for its wild gatherings; it was a clubhouse for unmarried traders. On a chilly Christmas Eve in 1510, a squad of single guys, loaded with enthusiasm (and different spirits, as it were), pulled an extraordinary pine tree up to their clubhouse and covered it with blooms. Towards the end of the nighttime, they smoldered the tree to ground. From that point on, adorning the 'Christmas Tree' turned into a custom, which gradually spread over the globe, as you most likely know, the smoldering part never truly got on.
An octagonal memorial plaque, decorated in cobbled Ratslaukums, marks the spot where the first tree once stood; nothing's truly like partying around at Christmas time when a great tree towers over the square.
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