Good for: people watching, bargain shopping, photography tour, Shopping, Cheap Souvenirs
Not good for: taking photos, showing out
- Prāgas iela Old Town S of the Train Station
Lonely Planet review for Central Market
Located in five huge hangars behind the bus station, this colourful, Soviet-style market is one of the largest in Europe and has Rīga's cheapest produce.
A 1330 manuscript provides the first written reference, alluding to the market near the Dome Cathedral being moved to what is now called 'Riflemen Square', east of Akmens Bridge, where it remained until 1570, when it was moved to the banks of the Daugava to facilitate trading along the river.
The market stayed on the Daugava for more than 350 years. By the mid-1600s when Rīga, then under Swedish rule, outgrew Stockholm, the market flourished with over 1000 merchants trading goods from all over the region.
In 1930 the market was moved to its present location by the train and bus stations, prompted by the need to be closer to the railway, which had replaced the river as the principal trade route.
When Latvia was absorbed into the Soviet Union, the market shrank briefly, but these days it is larger than ever, seemingly bursting at the seams with space for up to 1250 sellers.