Riga History: Riga within the Russian empire (Mid-19th cent.–1918)

The second half of the 19th century in Riga was a period of rapid change. Riga being a city of the Russian Empire, the state exercised a number of administrative reforms there. In an attempt to modernise the city administration, the medieval Town Council was replaced by the Dome (Duma). In 1868, the Riga Latvian Society was founded, and its activities made Riga the centre of national unity. The urban development plans resulted in the modern visual image of Riga. The defence ramparts were taken down and, on the site, high-rise public and apartment buildings formed the Boulevard Circle. In the early 20th century, along with the large-scale celebrations of the 700th jubilee of Riga, Art Nouveau entered Riga’s culture, architecture and everyday life.

On display are the unique relics of the Song Festivals and the removal of the ramparts, insignia of power and everyday objects. Apart from them, there are photos, historical evidence of the new era, which lend an impression of Riga and its citizens.