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The historical centre of Riga (Vecrīga, which is in Latvian: Old Riga) is famous for its old churches and cathedrals, UNESCO World Heritage monuments, shopping facilities, restaurants, pubs and office buildings. Riga has the largest number of free Wi-Fi spots in Europe per square kilometre and per head of population.
In 1201 the city was the first time mentioned in chronicles. It is now more than 810 years old, and still keeps some of the buildings from the time of foundation. Riga is considered as the birthplace of a Christmas tree. In 1510, the first fir was decorated to celebrate the birth of Jesus, transforming a pagan tradition into a Christian one to last for centuries to come all over the world.
Along its history, Riga has seen many happy and dramatic moments, it was a significant and prosperous trade centre and a member of a Hanseatic League, a union of North German and Baltic cities and towns.
Having been a part of Germany, Sweden, the Russian Empire and the USSR, Riga has absorbed various traditions and cultural heritage, becoming a successful trade port, an education and industrial centre, and a famous tourist attraction.a