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Social Activities

A lot of activities in Russian

Do you agree that social activities in Russian and cultural events around Latvia are an important part of your stay and successful study process? Russian Language Academy Durbe does! You will have a great opportunity to join social activities and find out new and interesting information about Riga, as well as Daugavpils – a city our new Executive Russian language centre will open in 2020. Furthermore, you can visit the most important and exciting places in Latvia and practice listening and speaking Russian after lessons!

On your first day of studies in Riga, you are invited to join the complimentary free of charge weekly Walking Tour. It takes place on Mondays for all new students. You will be greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable guide and will see the most interesting places around school and the Old Town – a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

You will learn about the Freedom Monument, the Russian Drama Theatre, and the Latvian National Opera and will take a walk through the narrow streets of Riga’s Old Town to feel its medieval breath. In addition to the cultural side of the tour you will have an opportunity to consult your guide about some specific shops, places of your interest, public transport stops, restaurants and cafes, souvenir shops and much more! Your guide speaks Russian, therefore, expect your vocabulary to be further expanded!

In addition, you are welcome to also sign up for various guided social activities in Russian offered 2-3 times a week for an additional fee. The coordinator is always happy to find out your wishes and expectations of the program. Don’t hesitate to ask about cultural events in Riga and Daugavpils, as well as other places in Latvia to go to on particular dates as well!

Riga

You have a nice opportunity to ride a comfortable tourist bus to view the various unique sightseeing places in Riga. See the city’s business centre and colorful parks and canals. Enjoy the view of the embassy elite district, the centre’s avenue. See the Riga Palace, the National Opera, the Freedom Monument, and the Arts Academy. Moreover, there’s the Orthodox Cathedral, the Art Nouveau monumental buildings and the city’s post-Soviet residential communities!

Sightseeing buses in Riga: http://citytour.lv /

You can also explore the city on foot! See the city’s most historically recognized and hidden locations. These include the Great Guild (Liela ģilde) and the Small Guild (Mazā ģilde), the Powder Tower (Pulvertornis). Also Rāmers and Jirgerna Tower and the Swedish Gate (Zviedru vārti). Include the churches of Saint Jacob, Saint Peter, and Saint John as well! Don’t forget the Convent of the Holy Spirit (Sv. Gara konventa seta)! At last, don’t forget to check out the narrowest and “quietest” street in Old Town – Rozena Street.

Daugavpils

The Executive Russian language training center is located just 30 minutes from the center of Daugavpils – the second largest city in Latvia. By the way, Daugavpils is located near the border with Russia and Belarus and it is the city with the largest population of Russian-speaking residents in Latvia. During your trips to Daugavpils you will have unlimited opportunities to speak and practice Russian. Daugavpils, like a magnet attracts thousands of tourists from all around the world. One of the gems of Daugavpils and its symbol is the Daugavpils fortress. This is the only fortress of the the first half of the 19th century in Eastern Europe, which has been preserved almost in its original form.

Detailed information about Daugavpils: https://www.visitdaugavpils.lv/en/

In Daugavpils you will also find the incredibly popular Mark Rothko art-center, conveniently located on the terrotory of the Daugavpils fortress. By the way  this famous artist was born in Daugavpils and he painted one of the most expensive paintings in the world ‘’ Orange, red, yellow ’’, which in 2012 was sold at a auction for $ 86.9 million! In the art center of Mark Rothko you can get acquainted with the unique originals of the works of this world famous artist.

To learn about various fun and educational activities in Daugavpils visit this page.

Public transportation in Riga

If you come to Riga by plane you can get from/to the airport with the № 22 bus or by taxi. The cost of a single journey by bus, trolleybus, minibus or tram is 1.15 EUR. Passengers can acquire a one-way ticket on public transport from the driver for 2 euros. Tickets for several trips can be bought in a Narvesen kiosk. Additionally, in case you are planning to stay in Riga for a longer period of time, it is advisable to buy monthly tickets which are valid for one month from the first registration day. For example, a monthly ticket for one specific route costs 30.00 EUR. For more information on Riga’s public transport system, please visit RigasSatiksme.

If you’re staying in certain districts of Riga, you can also reach the city center by train. Latvia’s railway system includes routes from Riga to all other major towns in the country. The Central Railway terminal is located at Stacijas Laukums/Origo Centre, right across from RLA Durbe. There are various rent-a-car services in Riga. Car rental rates are from 40 EUR per day. You can use Taxi services as well. The cost per 1 km is about 0,70 EUR. Bolt application, RedCab, BalticTaxi.

Money

The national currency is the Euro. 1 Euro equals 100 cents. Dollars are not accepted as a form of payment in stores and restaurants. You can convert your currency either in banks or numerous exchange points (called “Valūtas maiņa”). The banking system is well developed. Most banks, hotels, restaurants, and shops accept Eurocard, MasterCard, Visa, JCB, Diner’s Club, and American Express.

The most popular banks in Riga, for example, are Swedbank, Citadele, SEB Bank. It’s not a problem for a foreigner to open a bank account. All over Riga, there are dozens of ATM machines, even in provincial centers. The closest ATMs to the Durbe RLA are located in the Origo shopping near the academy’s building.

Theatre and Opera in Riga

The Riga Russian Drama Theatre, located in the Old Town (7 minutes away from the academy), is the oldest professional theatre in Latvia. In 2013, the theatre turned 130 years. Thanks to the artful conduction, strong actor’s ensemble, and thoughtfully created repertoire, the Riga Russian Drama Theatre is one of the best theatres in Latvia’s capital city. If you study Russian abroad in Riga, we advise you to use a chance and visit at least one performance during your stay!

The Latvian National Opera offers more than 200 performances, staging on average six new productions every season of both opera and ballet. The season runs from September to June. Tickets are quite affordable and start from 7 EUR.

Concert halls

Riga is the true capital of culture and the arts in the Baltic region. There is the widest possible repertoire for every taste, every mood and every leisure requirement offered. For information about concerts of Russian and world-known pop stars bands, visit BiļešuServiss or LiveRiga.

Nightlife

Riga’s nightlife is really exciting and full of fun. You can choose any of numerous nightclubs, casinos, disco bars, or music clubs. There, you can meet Russians and practice the language. Visit “Studio 69” – one of the best nightclubs in the Baltics. A great way to enjoy your Friday evening!

Mobile phones and operators

In Latvia, there are 3 main mobile phone operators such as LMT, Bite, and TELE-2. For example, in the shopping centre Origo there are branches of all these companies, as well as in tunnel B, where it is possible to buy a cheap mobile phone. All phone numbers have 8 digits that go directly after Latvia’s country code +371.

Shopping

Riga is a paradise for fashionistas! You will enjoy a lot of modern and spacious shopping centers in a comfortably accessible distance from the academy and other places in the city, namely – Origo CentreGalerija Centrs, STOCKMANN, Alfa, to name a few. Each shopping centre differs from others by offering specific goods or unique shops and trademarks.

Grocery stores

For everyday needs, you are welcome to shop in Latvia’s most popular grocery stores such as Rimi or Maxima. They can be found in various shopping centers around Riga and Latvia.

Restaurants

Riga’s lovely cafes and restaurants turn the city into a gastronomic paradise of Northern Europe. Choose your favorite cuisines or try new ones. A large number of dining offers will satisfy every visitor’s taste and desires. This is a great way to practice your Russian as well.

The people in Riga most often arrange a rendezvous at the Laima clock and then they head off for the Old Town where you can find the largest number of cafes and restaurants with cuisine from different countries in the world. You can enjoy traditional Russian cuisine in numerous Russian restaurants. The most famous are: “Pelmeni XL” – good price value, “Krievu Sēta”, “Traktieris” and “Uncle Vanya”.

If you want to taste Latvian cuisine, a chain of restaurants – the “Lido” brand is the best suggestion. Their employees wear stylized folk costumes and offer modern interpretations of traditional Latvian cuisine.

If you’d like to try something else – there are a lot of international restaurants in Riga. Many of them offer home delivery for sandwiches, pizzas, or more exotic food. Kiosk “Narvesen”, cafeterias “CoffeeInn”, and “Double Coffee” make really good take away coffee.

Fitness clubs

Fitness clubs closest to the RLA Durbe are Sporta Klubs Centrs on Audeju street 16 and My Fitness on Marijas street 13/8.

Cosmetics

Latvians love nature and nature-inspired cosmetics are very popular here. Latvians may be proud of many famous and popular perfume and cosmetics manufacturers with more than 100-year history! For example, try the fragrant perfume Riga Lilac from Dzintars to experience the charm of Latvia. Or relax in a bath with bubble balls from STENDERS and explore Latvian nature through herbal creams and lotions made by Madara cosmetics.

Relaxation

Good relaxation is one of the basic parts of human life. There is a great variety of spas, water resort complexes, and saunas for you to choose from. Make sure you visit a Russian bathhouse (“Баня”) – something very Russian (another exciting cultural event in Riga!) and extremely healthy. In the Slavonic culture, a “banya” has always played an important role. It is not only a washing room but a special club! There you can gather with fellow students, get to know each other and have a heart-to-heart talk. You should definitely try it out!

SPA and hair salons

You will be surprised at how many hairdressing salons you will find in Riga. The prices will be an additional benefit – in Latvia, you can get a truly fabulous haircut for an average price of 20 EUR. Usually, hairdressing salons also offer cosmetologists’ and manicurists’ services. There are some smart barbershops, so don’t worry that your gorgeous beard will overgrow while in Riga. There is also a great range of different SPAs, such as Kolonna or ESpa.

We do hope you find tips about Riga useful! Make the best of your Russian language linguistic stay in Riga and study Russian abroad in Latvia with a pleasure!

Landscape photos are the property of LIAA.