Where? Riga, Latvia
Recommended by Cristina Cona
This truly is a bookstore with a vivid history. It all began a century ago when the crème of the Latvian academics, writers, artists, actors and musicians started meeting in an apartment in Riga to discuss intellectual matters. Janis Rapa, a student and an apprentice in a bookshop and a publishing house, also took part in those meetings. Therefore, it was no wonder that after finishing his studies, he founded a partnership with Artus Valters in 1912, bearing in mind that many Latvian intellectuals were dissatisfied with the lack of bookshops stocking suitable literature.
From that period on, minor changes happened in the leadership of the store. By the Second World War, the publishing house managed to issue around 3500 titles (some 11 million copies of books). After 1940 Valters un Rapa was nationalized and had to change its name to Publishing House of the State Printing and Publishing Department. Luckily, and with the help of its manager and staff, in 1997 the bookshop changed its name to the current one and in the year 2000 its whole interior was redesigned to meet the needs of the modern bookaholic.
Valters un Rapa, being the biggest bookstore in the Baltics, offers a wide selection of books of Latvian and Russian literature, classical literature, modern fiction, travel guides, books in foreign languages (such as English and German) as well as Latvian publications translated into international languages. Although it is a chain bookstore, it deserves a place in Bookstore Guide because, unfortunately, the Baltic countries have yet to expand their offer of English language books. As for Valters un Rapa, they also produce notebooks and calendars, sell newspapers and magazines and print business cards, tickets and other printable materials. The bookstore has five branches throughout the city (so check their website) but we shall only mention its biggest premises in Riga. It is perhaps also interesting to mention that as of June 2010, Valters un Rapa has opened its fifth branch at the Riga International Airport, located after the check-in.
Valters un Rapa
Aspazijas boulevard 24
Riga LV 1050
Phone and Email:
View Valters un Rapa in a larger map