Riga, the capital of Latvia, is the biggest city in the Baltics (population 766 500). It was founded in 1201. During its 800 years long history Riga has lived through many rough times - it was subjugated by Roman bishops and archbishops, the Livonian Order, alternately came under Polish, Swedish and Russian rule. For many centuries it was encircled with 13-meter high walls with numerous turrets. In 1875, after the dismantling of ramparts the city began to expand.
It was less than a century ago, when Latvia's independence was proclaimed on November 18, 1918, and Riga for the first time in its history became capital of an independent country. In 1991, after fifty years of Soviet occupation, it regained its status as the capital of free Latvia.