Church of St. Peter

Church of St. Peter in Riga

Церковь Святого Петра в Риге

St. Peter’s Church in Riga is a unique symbol and one of the main sights of the city of Riga (Latvia). For the first time this outstanding work of architecture was mentioned in 1209. The church is known for its unusual spire, whose height is 64.5 meters with a total height of the church tower of 123.5 meters.

St. Peter’s Church was erected as a people’s church. It, in defiance of the Dome Cathedral, which was built by the authorities of Riga, was built on the collected funds from artisans, merchants and even ordinary peasants. At the same time, the Church of St. Peter was the main religious building of the privileged stratum of the population in feudal Riga. One of the oldest schools of the city worked at the temple.

The temple is built in the Gothic style. Initially, the room was not very large. The erection of an ordinary church was planned. But in the beginning of the 15th century a new altar part of the building and a bell tower in the Gothic style were erected. After, in the 17th century, the decorated baroque portals were erected, and a spire appeared at the church, which we can still see today.

The spire of St. Peter’s Church is the most recognizable part of it and the inseparable component of the panorama of the city of Riga.

In the XIII century, the tower of the temple, perhaps, was a separate building. For the first time, as part of the church, the tower was built at the end of the XV century. It was then that an octagonal spire of wood was erected, which stood for almost two hundred years. In the middle of the XVII century, the aged spire collapsed. One of the houses suffered, and eight people died. The spire was rebuilt the following year, but 10 years later it burned down. In 1690, the spire was rebuilt. It is interesting that this spire for a long time was the highest spire of wood in Europe, whose height is 64.5 meters with a total height of the church tower of 123.5 meters.

In 1721, a lightning bolt hit the tower of St. Peter’s Church. There was a fire. His extinguishment was attended by the Russian Emperor Peter I, who was in Riga at this time. Unfortunately, the fire could not be extinguished. The spire almost completely burnt out and collapsed. Fortunately, the burning spire did not hit the city, but “formed itself into itself.” This did not cause unnecessary destruction. According to the legends, the prayers of Peter I helped. In the same year, Peter I ordered to reconstruct the spire by his decree. The work ended only two decades later – in 1741. There was a reconstituted spire exactly two centuries and was destroyed on the day of St. Peter’s memory (according to the Gregorian calendar). The church suffered badly during the Second World War. For a long time the building was destroyed. And only in 1966 it was restored. The construction of the spire was completed only in 1973. The shape and size of the new spire completely repeated the original. But it was made of metal. In the spire there were two observation platforms at an altitude of 57 and 71 meters. And for the convenience of visitors was installed a lift and reinforced concrete stairs.

Today, tourists and visitors of the city enjoy the most popular sightings of St. Peter’s Church, and the spire itself is depicted on many photographs and souvenirs.

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