When you travel to Latvia, you will find Latvian souvenirs that reflect centuries-old cultural and artistic traditions. Pottery bears patterns of pagan symbols, traditional designs are woven into linen and wool garments and accessories, and locally produced food items preserve Latvia's culinary heritage. Great places to find Latvian souvenirs are located in Riga, the capital city, so be sure to schedule shopping into your travel itinerary.
Latvian Pottery photo credit: Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com
Most of Kaunas' must-see sights are located within the center and include historic churches, a rebuilt castle structure, and dozens of metal or stone sculptures that add visual interest to the urban environment. A map and a few hours in Kaunas are all you need to enjoy these free and interesting attractions.
St. Michael the Archangel Church in Kaunas photo credit: Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com
Kaunas is home to an impressive number of museums. Many of Kaunas' museums are located in the center, which means it's easy to visit one or more during a tour of Lithuania's second-largest city. The M. K. Čiurlionis Museum is dedicated to one of the nation's most important artists and composers, while the Devil Museum takes a look at representation of evil from world cultures.
Kaunas Devil Museum photo credit: Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com
Kaunas is Lithuania's second-largest city and an important center for culture and history. Its old town, situated on the confluence of the Neris and Nemunis rivers, is packed with sights and is easy to get around. Kaunas makes an excellent day trip from Vilnius and can be reached in under two hours via public transportation.
Kaunas Town Hall photo credit: Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com
Art Nouveau in Prague is special. This turn-of-the-century style of art and architecture was heavily influenced by Alphonse Mucha, an artist of Czech birth. Many examples of Art Nouveau can be seen in Prague, and Mucha's Museum can be visited by guests who want to know more about this artist and his style.
Hotel Europa photo credit: Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com
Art Nouveau in Ljubljana exhibits fewer curving lines and scrolls than does the same style in other cities. Slovenia's architects working in this style favored pattern and rhythm, using tilework and repetitive motifs across the face of their buildings to create harmony and flow in design. Some of Ljubljana's most famous examples of Art Nouveau can be found right on the main square or within a short walking distance.
Art Nouveau Architecture in Ljubljana photo credit: Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com
Art Nouveau Cities in Eastern Europe include Budapest, Prague, Ljubljana, and Riga. These four cities are home to exquisite examples of Art Nouveau (also known as Jugendstil or Secessionist) architecture. However, each city's take on this turn-of-the-century style is unique because local artists attempted to incorporate national themes and folk motifs through the use of Art Nouveau. For example, Budapest's Art Nouveau architect, O. Lechner, incorporated Eastern motifs into his designs as a way to recognize the Magyar's location of origin.
Art Nouveau Detail in Budapest photo credit: Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com
Eastern Europe--well, much of it--celebrates Easter today. Those who are not celebrating today will observe Easter at a later date, determined by the Orthodox calendar. Easter celebrations in countries such as Poland, the Baltic nations, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and others mark today with traditions both ancient and modern and may attend church service and spend time with family. Egg decorating is a major feature of this colorful holiday.
Czech Easter Egg photo credit: Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com
Riga's Church of Jesus photo credit: Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com