Rīga is a city where centuries meet, where Art Nouveau grandeur contrasts soviet practicality, where wooden buildings are reflected on the walls of new high rises. Rīga, the oldest city in Latvia, has developed into an important economic, political and cultural centre since the Middle Ages. When the formation of an independent Latvian Republic occurred in 1918, Rīga became the capital. Today more than one third of Latvia’s population lives in Rīga; it is also home to the country’s largest manufacturers, as well as central government and administration boards. Rīga is a cultural hub, where all forms of culture are part of everyday life; it is a European city with a unique, and historical, feel. Rīga has many faces, new and old, contrasting and complimentary, creative and traditional.