Latvia has a rich cultural heritage - architecture, opera, ballet, cinema, literature, art, music, dance, theatre.
For gourmands of architecture a travel to Riga is like a pilgrimage – they see the Mecca of Art Nouveau here. Riga is one of the few European capitals, where Art Nouveau announced itself clearly and vividly. The creativity of the building engineer Mikhail Eisenstein and the most outstanding Latvian architects Konstantin Pekshen and Vilhelms Ludvigs Nikolajs Bokslafs had no limits – the facades are bristling with decorative elements, obelisks arch above the windows, there are vases, lions, sphinxes, flowers and plenty of other elements symbolising prosperity. Albert Street is considered to be a pearl of Riga's Art Nouveau.
The National Opera of Latvia (NLO) is the only institution of the opera and ballet genre with state opera status. The first Latvian national opera "Baņuta" was created by the composer Alfrēds Kalniņš. Every year Riga's opera and ballet festival takes place, where Riga's people and its guests can enjoy the latest and brightest performances.
The more than eighty year long history of Latvia's ballet is closely linked to the best traditions of the Russian classical ballet school. The traditions have been transferred from one generation to another, giving to the world ballet stars such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Māris Liepa and Alexander Godunov. The first Latvian national ballet staged by Osvalds Lēmanis is „Victory of Love" by Jānis Mediņš.
The most outstanding Latvian composers are Jāzeps Vītols (one of the best works "Palace of the Light") Emīls Dārziņš (one of the best works "Melancholic Walsz"), Imants Kalniņš (one of the best works rock opera "Hello, people!"), Raimonds Pauls (one of the best works "Wild Swans"), Jānis Lūsēns (one of the best works "Kaupēn, my Love").