ImageThere’s a very nice little history by Kevin O’Connor of Gonzaga University the rise of the Latvian city of Riga on his blog Briniskigi! here. Complete with the map below (a little early for the standard Mythic Russia timeline, but a good base) and the picture to the left (which is Riga in 1621, so conversely a little late), it gives a sense of the way it emerged and above all the role of the Crusading Orders (the Livonians, the Sword Brothers) in that process. (This is also discussed on this Latvian history site.)

Still today, Riga is a gem of a city with a lovely medieval centre now a UNESCO World Heritage Site — very well worth exploring if ever you get there. (I confess I also have a hankering to try the ‘Medieval Adventure in Old Riga‘ ‘interactive guided tour’ even though, or maybe because, I suspect it will be quite hokey.)