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Four churches in Riga

By Kaisa Kahu. 05.11.2008

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  If you get tired of this material world, you can visit these selected churches of Riga, each spectacular in terms of architecture, history, feeling and good location in the Riga city center. Just enjoy the silence and don’t forget to donate some santims!

THE DOME CHURCH - This is one of the landmarks of Riga, situated by the Dome Square. In 1211, bishop Albert laid the basis of the church with the purpose of showing the German influence and power in Riga and in Livonia. Throughout centuries the church has been rebuilt, ending in 20th century when it got its hall in an Art Nouveau style. An interesting detail of the church can be found at the top of the 90-metre spire: a golden weather vain. One side of it is black to let the ancient market people know whether the ships that carry goods have arrived and whether there’ll be any good business or not; black of course being a bad day.

ST. PETER’S CHURCH - Situated near the Town Hall Square, St. Peter’s church was first mentioned in 1209. Its spire has had an unhappy history--in 1721 it burnt down due to a thunder storm and in 1941 again due to World War II and it has since then been rebuilt many times. The spire you see today is made of metal and was restored in 1967. Among the other exciting things to see at St. Peter’s that were added at different times in it’s history are the clock tower which has only one hour-hand. On the façade surrounding the entrance are three portals that were made in 1692. A stove was added in 1859 and a memorial for the victims of the communist terror in Latvia was erected in 1992. The church has ceremonies every Sunday at 10 AM.

THE ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL - In between the high Reval Hotel Latvia and the Statue of Freedom you will find fine example of a Orthodox cathedral. The cathedral offers you something different than the above-mentioned churches; built in a Russian Byzantine style in 1876-1884, the cathedral has huge onion-shaped spires, which was made to remind the individual how small they really are in front of God. Being constantly busy with visitors, the cathedral has a tight schedule of different events. Women should preferably wear a skirt/dress when entering or can even rent one from the cathedral. Orthodoxy in Latvia originates from Polocka, Russia, where the closest bishop’s cathedral was, and has given the Latvian language such words as ‘holy’, ‘church’, ‘cross’, and ‘saint’. The church recognises the Patriarch of Constantinople as its head.


THE OLD ST. GERTRUDE’S CHURCH - This Lutheran church is named after Saint Ģertrūde (626-659) and there are seven more churches built in her honour. The building is Gothic, having three aisles with the columns being of an interesting shade of green. The ceiling is 13 metres and the spire 63 metres high. The church is situated behind Reval hotel Latvia and close to the shopping area of Brivibas Street.


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