Gaze in awe at the art nouveau mansions that decorate this regal city center street and visit a museum with exhibits about this architectural style.
In a city blessed with art nouveau masterpieces, Alberta iela (Alberta Street) stands out with some of Riga’s finest examples. Marvel at the landmark monuments designed by acclaimed architects such as Konstantīns Pēkšēns, Mikhail Eisenstein and Paul Mandelstam. Alberta iela takes its name from Bishop Albert, who founded the city in 1201. The celebrated buildings were erected between 1901 and 1908.
This cobblestone street is only about 820 feet (250 meters) long, yet each of its buildings is a perfectly preserved architectural delight. The art nouveau style originated in England about 1890 and then spread throughout Europe and the U.S. Pay attention to the ornamental and symmetrical façades of each house, many characterized by protruding balconies, columns and pilasters. Note the repeated inclusion of carved female figures, floral reliefs and geometric ornamentation.
House Number 12 of the street is the lavish former residence of the Latvian architect Konstantīns Pēkšēns. In 2009 it opened to the public as the Riga Art Nouveau Museum. Its rooms are decorated with displays of period artwork, clothing, furniture and tableware from the early 20th century. The spiral staircase and ceiling frescoes evoke images of a royal palace. Visit the museum from Tuesday to Sunday. It has an admission fee.
Of the other historic houses, some are the property of educational institutions while others are embassies. Most notable are the Riga Graduate School of Economics and the Irish embassy. Look for a souvenir shop and a restaurant with an outdoor seating area that offers views along the street.
Located in the Centrs neighborhood, Alberta iela is 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) north of Riga Central Station. From Riga’s Old Town walk about 20 minutes to get here. Continue your discovery of the city’s art nouveau legacy on nearby Elizabetes iela, Rūpniecības iela and Vīlandes iela. Alternatively, enjoy some relaxation in pretty Esplanāde Park and Kronvalda Park.