If you want to see the city unfold before you, with its melange of church domes, vast parks, ribbon of river and squat Soviet creations, follow the urban throng to Šķūņu iela to St Peter’s Church (Pēter baznīca), a large red-brick structure with a graceful three-tiered spire and climb the tower (3Ls) for excellent panoramic views of the city. Battling the church for the finest views of Rīga is “Stalin’s Birthday Cake” – the Academy of Sciences, a 1950s Empire State Building lookalike at Akadēmijas laukums 1. The 65m skyscraper, adorned with hammers and sickles near the top, has a 360-degree viewing platform on the 17th floor.

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