Kipsala is an island on the left bank of the Daugava River. It is part of the protected buffer zone of Riga’s historic center, which is a member of the UNESCO World Heritage List. The United Nations has deemed these sites “of outstanding universal value,” deserving of special preservation/conservation care.
Kipsala’s key attraction is its location—only half a kilometer from Riga’s Old Town and within easy access of the city center. It also has the unique advantage of being a quiet island floating in the middle of a booming metropolis. Those seeking this serenity can reach the Gypsum Factory by bicycle, car or foot along Balasta Dam (Balasta dambis), after crossing the Cable Bridge (Vansu tilts). Balasta Dam is also a splendid promenade for walks along the Daugava riverside. Its cobblestone surface restricts car traffic—which is exactly the intention—preventing it from becoming a busy thoroughfare.
Kipsala Island has in recent years become a prestigious residential address, and numerous foreign ambassadors live here. Kipsala’s International School of Riga (ISR), whose students include the children of ambassadors and foreign professionals, is an educational/cultural asset for residents. The school enrolls children aged 2–14, with plans to expand to grade 8 in 2012.
… KIPSALA ISLAND IS ANOTHER FANTASTIC PLACE THAT OFFERS A GLIMPSE OF A DIFFERENT RIGA …
Should you feel like enjoying a bit of a vibrant Riga night, do end your day about the city with a supper at the Fabrika Restaurant, complete with a fabulous panoramic view of the city as a backdrop. The restaurant being quite popular among the locals and visitors alike, you would be well advised to book a table with the best view of the River Daugava and Riga church spires in advance. This is a vantage point from which Riga is reminiscent of a lovely postcard—one that is constantly changing depending on the play of light and shade … Do spare a moment to go for a little walk in Kipsala; the island boasts some well-preserved examples of the unique Riga wood architecture, painstakingly renovated by Zaiga Gaile's studio. Besides, unlike the center of the city, it is incredibly peaceful and quiet in Kipsala. The best way to get back to the city center is definitely walking.”