Riga is a city where city life and the outdoors are connected unlike any other place I visited. A perfect place to experience this is Zunda Garden.
Zunda Garden is a cultural event center housed in a former Soviet hangar, surrounded by a vast garden. This was the second empty building to be opened up by the guys of Free Riga, a local association with a very effective approach to repurposing abandoned spaces. It’s a short bike ride away from the city, located on the riverside, surrounded by trees.
When I’m meeting the Free Riga guys for a quick tour, their hairs are still wet from a quick dip in the river. Jāzeps point me to a platform they constructed, to help people get in and out of the water more easily.
The garden itself is filled with art pieces and little hideouts, all constructed by volunteers on open community days. Next to the garden are a camping site and a donation-based tea bar. In the hangar, they regularly host parties, concerts, exhibitions, lectures and film screenings. Jāzeps emphasizes that they are always open to initiatives from locals and international artists.
We’ll be sure to keep an eye on Free Riga’s future activities, as they trail blaze the way to more repurposed spaces and temporary use in the Latvian capital!