Riga, Latvia 8.-11.9.2006
The Riga City history is more than eight hundred years long. At the end of the 12th century, crusaders came here as well when the German merchants tried to widen and strengthen their area of activities along the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. In the 13th century trade boomed in Riga, and it became one of the main intermediaries between the West and the East.
Soon after Riga was founded the building of the first fortifications was started. In 1330 typical fortification system consisting of wall and 28 towers was finished. Today only in some places we can see traces of this old fortification.
Pieces of old fortification wall
Only one tower of old fortification system has remained, Powder Tower
In the period between 1535-1537 the new fortification system of Riga was built consisting of ravelines and bastions. Middle of 19th century fortification system of Riga lost its significance and was torn down 1857-1863. Traces of new fortification system are the Bastion Hill, which was created in the place of the former Sand Bastion, and the Riga Canal which shows the triangle form of old bastion system.
The Blackheads House
The origins of this structure date back to the 14th century, when a building was put up for the needs of city officials and tradesmen. The so-called Blackheads Society, whose patron was St. Mauritius, took over the building in the 15th century, although the name “Blackheads House” dates back only to 1687. In 1713, the society won full ownership rights to the building. It once contained one of the world’s richest collections of silver objects. The building was destroyed during World War II, but on June 29, 1995, the foundations for the structure that is seen today were laid. A memorial capsule was inserted into the foundations. Work on the restoration was completed in 1999.
The Rīga Castle
The castle was built in 1330 as a residence for the master of the Livonian Order. The building was sacked in 1448, and in subsequent decades it was rebuilt a number of times. Eventually it lost its Medieval appearance. The lead tower was put up in the early 16th century, while the so-called three star tower was erected in 1938. A new three-story addition was attached between 1785 and 1787 for the needs of the provincial institutions in the city. The White Hall was installed in 1818.
The Dome Cathedral
The cornerstone for the Dome Cathedral, which is the seat of the archbishop of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church, was laid on 1211. It is the largest church building in Latvia, and inside one can find many art treasures.
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church
St. Peter’s was first built in the 13th century, although since then it has gone through a number of building periods. A Baroque wooden steeple was installed in 1690 - the highest in the world at the time. The church was burned down during World War II and restored only in 1973. The metal steeple is 123.25 metres high.