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The canal side plantings stretch in their green splendour from the Central Station up to the Kr.Valdemāra Street. The landscaping of the city canal side took place from 1856 to 1857 following the dismantling of the Riga fortification walls that used to encircle the Old Town.
Amidst the plantings on the Bastion Hill, stones were arranged in decorative stacks, and a brook with a cascade of waterfalls was devised in 1898. In 1881 landscaping works were done near the Opera House. The plantings by the canal side ahve undergone a number of changed in the course of time, several footbridges have been built, a swan house installed, monuments erected. In 1930, a monument to Blaumanis was built as designed by T.Zaļkalns. In 1935, the Freedom Monument was unveiled (sculptor K.Zāle, architect E.Štālbergs).
The canal side Parks cover 12.26 ha and stretch along the canal for 3.5 km. The plantings include a number of rare species and decorative shapes of of trees and shrubs. Of a particular value are, e.g. Kentucky Coffetree, Ginko, Yellow Poplar. The central and dominating element of the landscape, of course, is the canal itself that imparts a distinctive character and image to the plantings.
The trees are more significant here than any of the fine sculptures. Truly unique specimens can be found by the city canal, for instance the imposing Ginko Biloba (Maidenhair tree) which belongs to the oldest species of trees on the Earth. Bastion Hill is currently a popular place where people love to meet in Riga, summer or winter. The canal side features a number of fountains, welcoming walking paths, and summer cafes. In summer you can rent a boat or a water bike.
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