Freedom Monument and the Central District
- Type: Monuments and Memorials, Neighborhood/Area
- Time to Spend: 2 hours to Half Day
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Latvia's Lady Liberty stands atop a stone pillar in a downtown Riga plaza, holding three gilded stars above her head to remind onlookers of the country's hard-fought unity and freedom. Built in the 1935, it represented the union of Latvia's three original districts -- Vidzeme, Latgale and Kurzeme-Courland. Under Soviet occupation, the pillar came to represent Mother Russia uniting Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. In present day, travelers describe this monument as decidedly somber, but credit how it exudes Latvian perseverance through its troubled past.
The best evidence of progress might actually be the bustling Central District that surrounds the monument. Several embassies, the University of Latvia, the National Opera House, a park, tons of quaint cafés, and busy restaurants now call the neighborhood home. And the park around the monument (specifically the Laima Clock) is a popular meeting place for locals. Swing by yourself for a little people watching.