I knew Riga's Central Market was big but I had not idea quite how vast...and large in area...it actually is.
There are 5 huge hangars, originally Zeppelin hangars and re-erected on the site in the 1920s. Each is filled with 'stalls' (more like mini-shops without roofs), some hangars with a second level, selling all the foods you can imagine, flowers, things for pets, clothes, fabrics..... One hall is mostly (entirely?) devoted to meat, another to fish...and the other three are a mixture of everything.
And around those huge 'hangers' is a large outdoor market, with stalls selling a huge array of foods and goods. From little old ladies with a few baskets of berries or mushrooms to large fruit-and-veg stalls, honey, rye bread sold by the kilogram, cheese, flowers, tools, shoes, up-to-the-minute latest fashions or matronly dresses...I suspect you can find anything you want here.
I was amazed to find the market open on a Sunday..but it was. I was there by 7am and stall-holders were already setting up, buyers were already buying. The only difference on Sundays is that the market doesn't officially open until 7am (it's 6am on weekdays) and closes a bit earlier....and there are, I think, fewer stalls. Some market-traders clearly take Sundays off, and who can blame them?
I returned early in the morning on a weekday, exploring the hangars in more detail and wandering a bit further around the outdoor section...it just goes on and on and on!
You could very easily spend a couple of hours wandering the Central Market, even if you didn't spend any money there. It's a superb place to people-watch and you will be as amazed as I was at the quantity and variety of foods and goods on sale. I can only assume that the good citizens of Riga (which is not a massive city) are still keen very keen on regular shopping in their market....and that's good.
The Central Market is one of the largest and oldest markets in Europe and has been included in Unesco World Heritage list in 1998. We didn’t buy anything but it was great just to wonder around and observing the local does their shopping. This market is huge. They are many products sold here ranging from cheese, salami, clothes, meat, fish, poultries, vegetables and many others. I reckon if I speak their lingo I’ll be good at bargaining. The large pavilion was once a Zeppelin hangars, no no Led Zeppelin did not hang around here.
Riga Central Market, one of the largest markets in Eastern Europe,
is visited daily by 80,000 to 100,000 people.
It was wow! How big is this place, certainly the biggest Market I have ever been to!
The Central Market has big pavilions which have stood here since the 1920's. They were originally constructed as military buildings, and used during World War I as hangars for the huge airships like the Zeppelin, which belonged to the Kaiser’s German army who were based in a town in Kurzeme.
After the war, when Riga City was expanding, it was decided that these hangars could serve as market pavilions, so in 1930, these five 240 metre long, 46 metre wide and 38 metre high halls,
became known as the largest and most modern market in Europe!
They are now on the UNESCO Global Heritage List, including old warehouses in the market area.
I went inside, and found that each Pavilion mainly on sold the one thing....
eg. All clothes, all meat, etc. etc.
After looking in the pavilions, it was time to check the outside area of the Markets.
I couldn't believe the variety here, anything you wanted you would be able to find here. There were plenty of stalls selling the same items, so you can check prices between them. I did buy a bag and bargained, and the price was dropped a little.
Lots of different foods were for sale, including fresh and smoked fish, fresh and marinated vegetables, fruit, berries, milk and cheese, ecological food, country bread, honey and so much more! I loved browsing the flower and the local craft stalls.
Hand-made knitted items, scarves, caps and other useful things and souvenirs.
I didn't have any trouble here, but just be careful in case of pick-pockets.
We found people in Riga pleasant and helpful but reserved, and we found it difficult to get a sense of the people until we visited the main fresh produce market. This is magnificently housed in a number of redundant Zeppelin hangers along the waterfront - one of several instances where we came across structures being completely reinvented for other purposes once the initial function had fallen away (which appeals greatly to my recycling instincts).
Markets are always fascinating places, and hugely informative when you're trying to come to terms with an unfamiliar culture. There wasn’t much in the way of exuberant produce, but the high quality of dairy produce, fish and vegetables was unquestionable and there was a strong sense that prudent housewifely skills were being exercised.
The hangers may be functional, but even in mid summer, they were chilly. Goodness only knows how cold they get in the depths of winter!
The Central Market is an amazing place. The official market is contained in 5 Zeppelin hangars. In addition to this there are a number of smaller buildings and also outdoor market stalls which ramble off south of the main market. For practical shopping, there are leather goods (I bought a wallet), clothing, souvenirs, cheeses, meats, vegetables and fruit and ... just about anything. For window shoppers, there is everything from pigs' heads to dried fish. We spent most of a morning there and just soaked up the atmosphere. This must be the best free tourist attraction in Riga - great for people watching!
South of the Old Town you'll find the absolutely massive central market. I rather like marketplaces, not necessarily because I'll find loads of things I'll want to buy, but markets can be so different in each country, and at the same time so similar in so many ways.
Staffed by mainly older ladies selling all nature of wares, from household wares, to cigarettes, to meat and fish, the Central Market consists of a number of large pavillions in the style of massive aircraft hangars and built in the 1930's. Each pavillion is dedicated to a different product, so one for fish, another for vegetable, another meat, that sort of thing. It can take as long or as short a time as you like to wander through the markets. Like many things in Riga it's closed Sunday and Monday. You can also grab a coffee and a doughnut for about 1.00 lat.
This is a great place to take some photos of local 'colour', but be careful that a few of the local ladies aren't keen. I make it a point to try and avoid taking recognisable photos of people without their permission, so you'll only find pics of the architecture and the stalls here.
The Central Market in Riga is not only a shopping facility, in my opinion it is an absolute "must see" place. This market (the biggest one in the Baltics) is near the central railway station and is housed in 5 huge halls that in former times were hangars for zeppelins. Each hall has a specific emphasis, like meat, fish, vegetables etc. Please have a look at my shopping tip as well! Thanks!
Take your time and stroll through the different halls and the outside market area and enjoy the colors of the goods!
When you wander around Riga it is quite noticable that there seems to be a lack of shops selling 'normal' things, rather than stuff aimed at tourists. The reason for this becomes clear when you sight one of the most recognisable buildings of Riga - the vast market halls.
They look as if they were built for their present purpose but they were actually erected by the Germans in the first world war to house a Zeppalin (airship) fleet. Interestingly the Geremans solved the problem of how keep an airship on the ground when not being used. The Germanic mind turned to building these vast Art Deco halls. What did the English do ? Put up a pole and tie them up on a biy of string.
Re-furbished in the 1930's they are still going strong with piles of meat, veg, an amazing fish market, clothes and anything else you care to purchase. I think there was also, somewhat bizzarely, a branch of Lidl as well.
The large Central Market in Riga is situated near the train- and bus stations in five big market halls. Those were originally constructed as zeppelin hangars and were used during WWI. Between 1924 - 1930 the hangars were moved from the town of Vainode to their present place in Riga.
The central market is a lively and colourful place to visit and it is very nice to walk around here for a while watching people and the different products. There are different products on sale in the different market halls. In one you will find meet and in the others you will find diary products, vegetables and fruits, fish and clothes. There are also a lot of stalls around the market halls.
A huge shopping center with everything from food to clothes. This is more a place fore people who live in Latvia and not for tourist (by that I mean shopping) the quality of the clothes here are a dissaster (thats why so cheap) I think after 1 wash you can trow it away. But however It was a great experience to have been here It truly is huge.
But no shopping paradise fore tourists.
Located near to the bus station, Riga Market has some astounding architecture, and then there is the food! The market is situated in old zeppelin hangers and the scale is amazing. It seems that the locals do most of their shopping here and that you can buy anything.
This market, taking place in and around old airship hangars, is said to be one of the largest in Europe. Here, you will find everything you need for everyday life. Food is dominating, but also household items can be found there. A couple of stalls are also selling clothes, CDs, sunglasses and similar stuff. Even some souvenir shops can be found here. If you are looking for a real bargain item, that’s the place to go. Indeed, it is really fun to go into this atmosphere and get lost in one of the halls. Just be careful about pickpocketing as this place is a real paradise for petty criminals. Oh, and by the way, it is one of the oldest markets still existing in Europe being first mentioned in 1201.
The perfect way to start the day in Riga is grazing at the Central Market. While the food is the highlight, shoppers also will delight and there is great people watching. Located next to the train and bus stations and housed in five former zeppelin hangars, Riga's Central Market is not only one of Europe's largest markets, it's also the oldest and dates back to the city's founding in 1201.
The markets sure offer some sights you might not be familiar with. However, Latvians like pork, so expect to see these kinds of views in the hall where they sell meat. Half/Whole and parts of pork that are being chopped of take place here.