Architecture in Riga
|St. Peter’s Church
|St. John’s Church
|The Dome Cathedral
|House of Blackheads
|“The Three Brothers”
This paper is an effort to present the Architecture of Riga, the capital of the Republic of Latvia – one of the Baltic States on the Eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. Riga was founded more than 800 years and now it is the largest city in the Baltic officially counting about 800.000 inhabitants within its limits. However, it has been calculated that about 1.2 million are in the city on a working day. This is quite a number considering that the second largest city in the Baltic, Vilnius in Lithuania, counts 500 000, but the overall population of Latvia is only about 2.3 million people.
The first paragraph might create an impression that I am a fan of numbers and figures and this work will be another example of dry technical boredom of countless building terms and descriptions. No, it will not.
I will try to present Riga and its architecture as lively as possible for one simple reason – I am Latvian, Riga is my birthplace and the place I consider being my home. So, this paper is not just a scientific analysis. It is really a pleasure for me to present and explain the diversity of Riga’s architecture. Thus, I hope this little ‘tour’ will help you to feel at least a bit of Riga’s charm.
I have chosen the chronological order for my analysis and I will try to cover the major examples of the architectural styles represented in Riga closing with the modern structures and even taking an exclusive look into the future. Sticking to chronology will be hard at times because some buildings have been continuously rebuilt, renovated, extended and reshaped as the styles and moods of passing centuries dictated new fashions in architecture.
Riga is situated on the banks of the River Daugava. During the Middle ages the river Daugava was one of the largest trade routes in Eastern Europe. Historical sources mention it since the 9th century as the route connecting the Vikings with the Greeks, its upper reaches linking the Baltic with the Black Sea. The delivery of goods down the Daugava was of utmost importance in turning Riga into a prominent East European port. And thus the sea bay became the destination of numerous North German merchants at the end of the l2th century. …
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