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The Majestic Bridges of Riga

Riga, the capital of Latvia is divided by the Daugava River into the Right and the Left Banks. The Right Bank includes the Old Town and the center of Riga while the Left Bank is known as Pardaugava or Over the Daugava and is like the Riga suburbs. Since Riga is on both banks of the Daugava there are many different bridges crossing over the river. Depending on where you are heading for in the city or from the city to the suburbs will depend on the bridge you’ll choose. This is the city I lived in for many years starting from 1994 until I returned to my homeland the U.S. in 2018. I will tell you the story of this city through my own photos and through other sources since it is a very beautiful city.

Vansu Tilts or Cable Bridge – Was built across the Daugava beside the place where the temporary wooden bridge once stood from 1945-1950. It was opened on July 17, 1981. This bridge is the most northern of all of the bridges crossing the Daugava.

Akmens Tilts or Stone Bridge – A traffic bridge which includes rails for trams and connections for trolleys. On either side of the bridge are walkways with ornamental railings for those crossing on foot and old-fashioned looking lantern posts light the bridge at night. It was opened on July 21, 1957.

Dienvidu Tilts or Southern Bridge – Is the newest bridge across the Daugava. It was begun in 2004 and only its first portion was opened to traffic on November 17, 2008. It can be crossed by car or on foot and it is also possible to cross it by bicycle.

Salu Tilts or Island Bridge – Is the longest bridge across the Daugava and opened on December 10, 1976. It is also the most complex. It consists of 2 big bridges, 9 piers, 5 overpasses, and 3 tunnels. It is called the Island Bridge because it crosses over three islands – Zakusala or Rabbit Island, Lucavsala and Zvirgzdusala.

Dzelzcelu Tilts or Railroad Bridge – This bridge is only for trains crossing over the Daugava. The original bridge was opened on April 8, 1914. The bridge was damaged during WWII and renewed in 1955. In 2007 a lighting project was begun which illuminates this bridge at night. The project cost 280,000 Lats which was the currency at that time. The bridge has two different kinds of lighting effects – one for every day and one for holidays. On regular nights the lights glow blue but on holidays they glow blue and white.

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