Riga Castle Latvia

The Riga Knight’s Castle

Рижский замок

Riga Castle is one of the most famous and popular sights of Riga, which Russian and foreign tourists visit with pleasure.

The castle was founded in 1330 by the master of the Livonian Order, Eberhard von Monheim. It was a three-story building encircling a square courtyard. On the lower floor there were business premises, on the second floor – the cells of the brothers of the order, the master’s residence, meeting rooms, the refectory, the chapel.

In 1481, the armed struggle of the townspeople and the Order broke out. Rigans began the siege of the Riga Castle, and its defenders were forced to lay down their arms. For three days in a row, the townspeople smashed the walls and towers of the castle. In 1491, the Order besieged Riga and the city capitulated. The townspeople had to return all the spoiled property of the order and build a new castle.

The Master of the Order Walter von Plettenberg himself drew a general plan of the castle in the form of a 4-coal building with corner towers. The construction of the new Riga Castle was completed in 1515 and the last years of the Livonian Order’s might had to be built. The cube building was fortified with two powerful round towers – the tower of the Holy Spirit and the Lead Tower. On the first floor of the castle housed economic services, on the second – the rooms of the Master of the Order, the bedchamber of the brothers of the Order and the chapel. They adjoined the main halls and the refectory. After the fall of the Livonian Order, the Riga Castle served as the seat of the Polish administration and retained its importance as a fortress. The garrison of the castle was about 300 riders and several guns. When Riga passed under the power of the Swedes, the residence of the Swedish administration resided in the Riga Castle. In 1649, a new two-storeyed stone building with a corner bay window was built on the site of the forurb. There is a legend that this bay window was ordered to build Queen Christina.

At the beginning of the XIV century, the Riga Castle was surrounded by a defensive moat, and in the 16th century it was fortified with an earthen rampart and bastions. In 1682, the building of the arsenal was added to the castle. When Riga became part of the Russian Empire, the residence of the Governor-General settled down in the Riga Castle. In the XIX century the castle was repeatedly rebuilt. In the Riga Castle from 1801 to 1803 served as the secretary of the Governor-General of Prince Sergei Golitsyn famous fabulist IA Krylov. In 1938 the Riga Castle became the residence of the President of the Republic of Latvia. From 1940 until February 1941, the Latvian Council of People’s Commissars was located in the castle, and in February 1941 the Palace of Pioneers was opened here. Currently in the southern part of the castle there are expositions of the Museum of Foreign Art, the Museum of History of Latvia and the Museum of Literature and the History of Art named after Rainis. Since June 12, 1995, the official residence of the President of Latvia has been located in the Riga Castle.

Dome Cathedral in Riga

The Dome Cathedral

Dome Cathedral in Riga

Домский собор в Риге

The Riga Dome Cathedral is a symbol and one of the main sights of the city of Riga. The Dome Cathedral is the largest medieval temple in the Baltic States. First and foremost, the Dome Cathedral is identified with religion and faith. The dome cathedral, not just a building – this architectural project is listed in the World Heritage List, for more than a century now it has glorified the name of its architect EF. Valker. The name of the cathedral comes from the Latin expressions – “Domus Dei” (“House of God”). At present it is the main church building of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Latvia. Along with the church of St. Peter and the Cathedral of St. Echobus, is the high altitude dominant of Old Riga and the forming city-building element of the old city (in particular, the key building of the Dome Square).

His builder was the bishop of Riga Albert, the founder of the Order of the “Brothers of Christ’s Knighthood”, better known as the Sword-bearers. With their help, he conquered the Livonian tribes and settled in Livonia. In 1210, a fishing village burned down next to the bishop’s house, and Albert took the opportunity to seize this piece of land. In 1211, the foundation stone of the cathedral was laid and the land dedicated to construction was consecrated. The temple was spent huge funds collected in the form of taxes from the conquered Baltic lands. The Bishop’s Cathedral was to surpass the church of St. Petra, which then began to build artisans and merchants of Riga. Albert invited architects from Germany and set before them the task of building a temple in a new, blooming Gothic style. Grandiose arches supported by columns, stained-glass windows, an abundance of sculpture, a plan in the form of a cross – all these Gothic features were completely uncharacteristic of local architecture, so the majestic building of the cathedral rose above the city as a symbol of the triumph of the Catholic Church.

Near the Dome Cathedral was built a monastery for the House Chapter. At the end of the 16th century an organ was installed in the cathedral. The final view of the cathedral was acquired only in the XVIII century, after several restructuring. For example, the shape of the tower, which was struck four times by lightning, changed every time, depending on the tastes of the era. Organ Hall in Dome Cathedral, one of the most popular places for tourists. The body, which has incredible acoustic power, has four sets of keys for the hands. He was reconstructed three times. Works for the great organ were written by many outstanding composers and gave their concerts right in the cathedral. At the time of its construction in the world there was no organ that would outnumber this one in size.

For many years, the cultural layer around the cathedral has grown substantially, as the cathedral has stood irrevocably all these years, and around it continually disappeared and again new settlements arose. Now, in order to get inside the church you need to go down the steps, and before you had to climb up, but time does not stand still. The Dome Church itself was restored in 1959 – 1962, it recreated the interior exactly the way it was more than four hundred years ago, and still under its arches the organ sounds. Today in the monastery buildings there is the Museum of the History of Riga and the Museum of Navigation.

Orthodox Cathedral

Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ

Кафедральный собор в РигеThe Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ in Riga.

The need to build a new cathedral in Riga was discussed at the end of the 18th century. But the practical realization of this idea began to be realized only after a hundred years. With the blessing of the bishop of Riga and Mitavsky Veniamin (Karelin) in the seventies of the XIX century, collection of donations for the future church was started. Six months later, Prince Bagration, as Governor-General of the Baltic region, sent a petition to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Russia to build a worthy cathedral in Riga.

Nature itself has joined the petition. On September 1, 1873, a hurricane storm broke over Riga. One of the thunderbolts struck at the Petro-Pavlovsky cathedral. The upper cornice of the bell tower collapsed. Fire destroyed part of the painting. In many places gilding has disappeared. Without the glass there were the upper windows. The cathedral, already very tight and modest in decoration, began to demand considerable repairs.

This circumstance hastened the solution of the problem. April 17, 1874, at the behest of Alexander II, the Riga diocese is allocated 900 thousand rubles.

And at this time, three famous Riga architects Ya.-F. Bauman, G. Shel and R. Pflug have already completed work on their projects of the future cathedral.

Each project took place in Riga, St. Petersburg and Moscow, a competent expert evaluation. As a result, in December 1875, on the project of Academician Pflug, the resolution of Alexander II was inscribed: “To begin construction …”

Construction was given in a row on a competitive basis. Preference was given to the Vilnius provincial architect Academician Chagin.

The consecration of the cathedral’s bookmark took place on July 3, 1876. The first stone to the future building was laid by the Bishop of Riga and Mitavsky Serafim (Protopopov).

By the beginning of the eighties of the XIX century the construction of the building was almost completed. But at that time Alexander III sent 12 bells to the church. The largest, in the name of Alexander Nevsky, weighed more than 800 poods. Each bell was an outstanding work of art casting. They emptied at the factory of the Moscow merchant Nikolai Dmitrievich of Finland. One of the outstanding masters of the end of the XIX century Xenophon Verevkin cast the bells.

This ensemble of bells required a special architectural solution for their placement. R. Pflugu ordered additional design. The architect’s project proved to be very successful. The bell tower above the main entrance to the church created a special perspective. Performed in a single architectural style with the cathedral, it gave a large volume to a very high overall building.

In eight years the construction of the temple was completely completed. On April 24, 1884, it was transferred to the authority of the spiritual department. And on Saturday, October 27, 1884, the ring of all 12 bells of Christ the Savior Cathedral was first heard over Riga.

Soon the Riga cathedral becomes the universally recognized spiritual center not only of Riga, but of the whole region. Many prominent representatives of the clergy take part in its activities. A number of sources have preserved information that in September 1894 the church service was performed here by Protopriest John of Kronstadt, now ranked as a saint.

At the head of the multilateral activities of the cathedral were his abbots. The first of them is Archpriest V. S. Knyazev. Professor of church and biblical history, canon law and church archeology, he contributed in every possible way to enrich the spiritual, moral and aesthetic level of the temple’s activity, to broadly familiarize the Orthodox Rigans with the history of culture and ancient traditions.

In the first decade of the 20th century Archpriest VI Plis, a teacher of the Riga Theological Seminary, was appointed head of the cathedral. Thanks to the outstanding representatives of the clergy and highly educated Riga residents, the prestige of the cathedral was exceptionally high, especially since the services were performed here in four languages: Church Slavonic, Latvian, Estonian and German.

According to the testimony of contemporaries, every visit to the cathedral brought people a spiritual rest, the joy of a highly spiritual state. This in no small measure contributed to the special internal atmosphere of the temple, its decoration, the overall harmony of everything around.

A single artistic solution was carved iconostasis and choir. They were decorated with patterned columns, a gilt ornament made of cast zinc, a unique woodcarving. A special artistic value was represented by openwork gilded gates of the main side-chapel. In the general style of the cathedral, church utensils fit in. All its items were made of silver of the 84th test by the skillful masters of Moscow manufacturer Hlebnikov.

For several years, the vestry of the cathedral was created. Vestments of the clergy sewed the best gold embroidered workshop of the brocade products of the St. Petersburg merchant Zheverzheyev. Unfortunately, the authors and performers of these unique products remained unknown.

A truly precious treasure of Christ the Savior’s Nativity Cathedral was his collection of icons. They were performed on canvas and zinc, white metal and a cypress board. They were written on a golden background, focusing on samples of ancient church painting. Many people donated icons to the cathedral and personally participated in the enrichment of this outstanding icon collection, some of which were preserved from the foundation of the Riga diocese (1850).

Among the icons of the earliest letter were those that were transferred by the procession from the Petro-Pavlovsky church on the day of the consecration of the new cathedral. A significant part of the icons was made on the special order of the construction committee. Their authors are outstanding artists. Brushes of V.Vereshchagin belonged to the church icons “Nativity of Christ”, “Nativity of the Blessed Virgin” and “St. Alexander Nevskiy”. He was also the author of the icons of the first tier of the main iconostasis and the Royal Gates.

Icons of the second and third tiers of the main iconostasis were painted by the artist Vasilyev. Among the works of K. Shamshin, the icons “Our Lady with the Child” and “John the Baptist” are known.

Among donors of icons there were not only рижане, but also inhabitants of many other places, in particular Petersburg and Moscow.

It is known that 850 items were listed in the main and additional church and figurative descriptions. All of them had church, historical, artistic and material value. These included church painting, liturgical books, vestments, miter, carpets and much more. A significant part of these unique values ​​was donated by the citizens of Riga. Riga’s benefactors were so numerous that it was impossible to name them all. Gifts came from the Riga merchant class, high society circles, various societies.

In general, more than half a million rubles were spent on the construction of the cathedral. The internal arrangement cost 140,212 rubles 87 kopecks. This at a time when the pound (400 g) of bread cost 2 kopecks, and meat – 15, a thousand times cheaper than now, silver.

The tragic turn in the fate of the temple began in the First World War. In 1918 the Riga municipality actually closed the cathedral. Worship was forbidden in him. And when Archbishop John Pommer arrived in Latvia at the invitation of the All-Slavic Council of Orthodox parishes, he found the church in a catastrophic state.

Windows without glasses. The belfry without its own unique bells. The furniture is desecrated. Dear, the artwork of the iconostasis is perekorezheny, dumped in a heap. The painting is crushed, the crucifix is ​​thrown into the garbage. All that was of value disappeared. About who is to blame for this and where the most valuable monuments of Orthodox church art, centuries-old culture have disappeared, are still arguing. There are many versions, but there was not much to return.

The difficult path to resurrection began with the fact that His Eminence Archbishop John (Pommer), in order to prevent the further destruction of the temple, to collect everything that was still left and which could be put in order, restored, settled in the cellar of the cathedral. A stove was added for heating. Gradually, at the cost of considerable effort and a difficult struggle, the restoration of the temple began. Rigans also helped those Russians who suddenly became emigrants, lost everything, lost their roof over their heads.

The work of the cathedral was resuming with difficulty. Initially, each divine service required a special permission from the authorities. And only since Christmas 1922 the cathedral began its daily service. Divine services were performed in the Church Slavonic and Latvian languages.

By the mid 30-ies the cathedral was put in order, the painting was renewed. There was a stubborn struggle for the return of the former property of the cathedral, including icons, church utensils. The temple once again became the spiritual center of Riga.

A new blow was struck by the Second World War. Again the devastation and resurrection of the cathedral again. After the war, there was a normal spiritual life. The cathedral continued to be a spiritual support for many and many people who knew the horrors and troubles of this monstrous war.

But what did not destroy the two world wars and the revolution was ruined in the 60s. By an order of the Council of Ministers on October 5, 1963, the cathedral was closed. This time, everything was destroyed and rastasknano. From the cathedral there were only walls. But they are disfigured, they are blocked with reinforced concrete, floor coverings are made. Build up and reshape the internal space, destroying the painting. People from “knowledge” turn the temple into a profitable place and exploit it for thirty years.

Only from July 1991 began a difficult path to resurrection. Almost five years there was a dismantling. The difficulty was that the ceiling ceilings, unknown as laid, created a threat to the walls of the building itself. Not only considerable funds were required, but also extreme caution. A special difficulty was the restoration work of the central dome.

The spiritual life of the cathedral began in the hardest conditions on January 6, 1992, when His Eminence Vladyka Alexander performed the first divine service. Since then, regular worship services have been started. Simultaneously, with incredible difficulties, but continuously, day after day, restoration work was carried out. Every step in this direction from year to year is given with great difficulty. Now the Cathedral is beautifully painted. Covered with copper all the domes, made a new roof. The cross on the central dome is gilded. But much remains to be done.

Families of philanthropists Vladimir Ivanovich Malyshkov and Igor Vladimirovich Malyshkov donated a beautiful iconostasis.

Through the efforts of many people, the “Rizhsky”, three times resurrected, as it is called by the people, the Nativity Cathedral, has already found its worthy place in the spiritual and cultural life of Latvia.

The information is taken from the official site of the Riga Cathedral –


St. Jacob's Cathedral

St. Jacob’s Cathedral

St. Jacob’s Cathedral in Riga

Собор Святого Иакова в Риге

St. Jacob’s Cathedral in Riga is the main Catholic church in Latvia, the fourth largest church in Riga. Cathedral. St. Jacob is a monument of brick Gothic. The first mention of the church, which was in place of the current cathedral, dates back to 1225. This date, engraved on the central western facade of the church, is considered a conjectural year of the construction of the Church of St. James.

During the reformation in 1552, parishioners risked conducting the first in the history of Riga divine service in the Lutheran models in this church. In 1524, during the peak of anti-Catholic unrest, the St. Jacob’s Church, like most of the Catholic churches in the city, was defeated, resulting in the almost complete destruction of the interior.

During the siege of the city by the Russian troops of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, several shells enter the St. James Church. Two of them in memory of the siege of Riga were walled in the walls of the central facade, and two more – in the altar.

Throughout its history, the church has several times changed its religion and partially rebuilt. In 1756, a pointed spire in the form of an octahedron was attached to the main church building. In 1782 a new central portal was built. Since 1923 the Church of St. James again belongs to the Catholic faith.

The height of the church tower, including the spire, is 80 meters. In interior interiors one can see a floral ornament decorating the capitals on church choirs. This type of ornament is rare for the church canon of Gothic sculptural decoration. Initially, the church was a hall type, today it is a three-nave structure, which is 27 to 50 meters in plan. In general, the interior of the church is simple and laconic, which, however, corresponds to the concept of the design of Catholic sacral buildings. In 1736, on the spire of the church tower was placed a traditional weather vane in the form of a cock, which we can see today.

In 1680 in the church, which at that time was the main royal Lutheran church, an altar was created. It is assumed that he is the earliest altar in Latvia, executed in the baroque style. Who is the creator of this altar is unknown. In 1902, it was decided to eliminate the altar, which had already fallen into disrepair. For the construction of the new, two masters were invited: the woodcarver Jacob Schrad and the sculptor Christophe Mittelhausen. Despite the fact that the old altar was dismantled, something of it survived, namely the adorned carved figure of the angels, which are kept in the museum of the history of Riga and navigation. In 1924, a new altar appeared, which was already the third in a row.

One of the interesting elements of the interior of the church of St. James is the department. It is made in the Empire style, it was made by the master August Gotthelf Heibel in 1810. The chair is made of red woods, its area contains intarsia with rich vegetal ornamentation and exquisite arabesques. In general, the peculiarity of the temple is a mixture of architectural styles in the interior of the church, whereas outside it is relatively homogeneous.

In 1761, the organ master Henry Andrew Koncius began to create an organ for the church. To this day this organ has not survived. The new one was made in 1913, the master of the modern organ was the master E. Martin. The windows of St. Jacob’s Cathedral are covered with stained-glass windows, the time of their creation dates back to the last century. So three bright stained-glass windows, which decorate the windows of the eastern wall of the choir, were made in 1902 in Art Nouveau style.

Church of St. Peter

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.

The Church of Our Lady of Sorrows

The Church of Our Lady of Sorrows

The Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Riga

Цeркoвь Скорбящей Богоматери

The Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Riga is the first stone sacral structure in Riga, built after the reformation began in Livonia. In its place stood a small chapel, consecrated in 1865. In 1875, the Austrian emperor Josef II passed through Riga, who, after visiting this small church, was extremely surprised and indignant at the poor and unsightly sight of the chapel. He sacrificed an impressive amount of money to build a more representative temple.

The first stone in the foundation of the future church was consecrated in 1784, and a year later the consecration of the newly built church in honor of the Our Lady of Sorrows took place, the service was conducted by Bishop Janis Benišlavskis. The future emperor of Russia Paul I, the Polish king Stanislaw Poniatowski and other Polish tycoons donated for the construction of the church. In addition, local Catholics provided financial assistance, as far as possible. According to the instructions of Empress Catherine II, all the buildings in the castle area, including the church, were to be built in the style of classicism.

Three entrances led to the church, the main one was located on the side. The church itself was made in the style of classicism, but some details belonged to the Baroque.

In May 1854, the Russian emperor Nicholas I came to Riga, who, after examining the temple, stated that the building was not large enough, but too narrow. The Emperor’s remarks accelerated the repair work. In 1858, a cardinal restoration of the building began, lasting 2 years. The director of perestroika was the young and talented architect Johann Daniel Felsko.

The last reconstruction of the church of the Sorrowful Mother of God, as a result of which the temple acquired a modern appearance, was held in 1895. The project was designed by the German master Wilhelm Boxlaf. He gave the building a neo-Renaissance appearance and expanded it by completing the building for the ritual of baptism.

As a result, the Church of the Sorrowful Mother of God acquired an elegant eclectic decoration, practically unchanged, preserved to this day. The height of the church, including the spire, is 35 meters. The main entrance is on the side of Zamkova Square. The length of the church is 48 meters, width – 17 meters. The Church of the Sorrowful Mother of God refers to the church buildings of the hall type. The top of the three-story tower, which performs the function of the dominant, is crowned by a pyramidal spire.

Concerning the interior, it is worth noting that after repeated rebuilding, each of which brought something of its own that it was a bizarre confusion of all architectural styles. Here you can see elements of classicism, in this style the church was made from the very beginning. The first restructuring brought elements of romance and Gothic, well, and later all elements of neo renaissance appeared. The Church successfully transferred the periods of wars and Soviet times, all this time it was in effect.

Riga town hall

Town Hall

Рижская Городская РатушаTown Hall in Riga

The Town Hall in Riga is one of the sights of Riga. Looking at the Riga City Hall, there is a feeling that she always stood in this place, but this is not so. The first building of the Town Hall took its place where the laboratory buildings of the technical colleges stand now. They were erected in the 60s of the 20th century. When in the 1990’s they started talking about the restoration of the Town Hall, it was necessary to build it on a new, and not in its historical place.

According to historical chronicles, the first building of the Town Hall was at the crossroads of two streets: Tirgonyu (Torgovaya) and Shkunyu (Sarayna). Townspeople were able to win the power to have a city government body after 1225. In those years, those who were dissatisfied with the authority of Bishop Albert von Buxgevden rebelled. A year later, in 1226, Riga managed to defend the city’s rights and the opportunity to pursue an independent policy. This circumstance entailed the creation of a city council, as well as the construction of a building for it. The constructed City Hall was located at the so-called large gates, which were the main entrance to Riga.

The first building of the Riga City Hall

It is believed that the first building of the Town Hall was destroyed as a result of the battle unleashed by the Order, when the Order troops let Riga out of the popular uprising in 1297. Although in 1330 the Order managed to win back Riga. A new building, the mention of which is found in written sources in 1334, was built in place of the old one on the Riga market square.

The second building of the Riga City Hall

It is assumed that the second building of the Riga City Hall was built in the Gothic style, the roof was high gable. In all there were 6 rooms. The rooms on the first floor were for sale. Every year, on the eve of the national holiday – St. Michael’s Day, when mass festivities took place, the herald from the balcony of the Town Hall read out new decrees and decrees, including changes in the field of tax collections, as well as monopolies for the production of some goods (for example, beer). Speeches of heralds were later called burgher speeches. After the year 175, a musician was invited to the balcony of the Town Hall, who “sounded” the melody with each hour’s offensive.

The second building of the Town Hall was severely damaged during the siege of the city by the troops of Peter I in 1709-1710. The decision to demolish the building was taken only in the middle of the 18th century. At the same time, the design and construction of a new building, the third one, began, its construction continued for 15 years due to the fact that the government allocated funds for the construction of the new Town Hall periodically.

The third building of the Riga City Hall

The third building of the Town Hall was built in the style of early classicism, the tower had baroque forms, the building itself framed the columned portico of the Tuscan order. In 1791 the attic part was built.

Reconstruction of the City Hall building began in 1848, supervised by the young architect I.D. Felsko. Over the improvement of the existing building, the architect Felsko worked for 2 years, the third floor was built on.

In 1877 as a result of municipal government reforms, the Riga City Council (city council) was abolished. The main city library of Riga is located in the Town Hall building. In addition to it, there was a bank and a city orphaned court. So it was until the Second World War. In the summer of 1941, the building of the former Town Hall was hit by a heavy fire, at the same time there was a big fire in which many buildings, including the Town Hall, were burnt.

The ruins of the Town Hall did not touch for several years. Only after 1954, according to the decision of the Riga City Executive Committee, they were dismantled. And in place of the Town Hall in the middle of the 50s of the 20th century, new buildings of the Riga University began to be built. Some of the fragments of the Town Hall were miraculously preserved to this day: sculptural fragments of the pediment, the sculpture of Themis.

Design a new building of the Town Hall began in the late 1990’s. The project was realized only by 2000. The new Town Hall building was opened in November 2003. The new building is a copy of the historic building, which, however, is estimated in different ways by architects and designers. Today the Riga City Council is located in this building.


Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau, not "modern"

Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) originated in the late 19th, early 20th century. Art Nouveau or Art Nouveau is the German name for the Modernist style.

Speaking of Riga, local people usually use the term “Art Nouveau”, not “modern”. Art Nouveau is one of the branches of the Art Nouveau style, its German variety. In German, Jugendstil means “young style”. He received his name from the popular German magazine Jugend (“Youth”), which began to be published in Germany in 1896.

From 1902 to 1914, all Riga architects used in their work the techniques of Art Nouveau and, of course, its decorative forms. In the Riga building of this time it is almost impossible to find a structure in which the style of modernity did not appear in one way or another. This applies even to those buildings that are created in the spirit of other concepts.

Art Nouveau characterizes simple geometric lines and shapes. Architects sought to make the facade elements as decorative as possible: stylized ornaments, garlands of flowers, sculptures of various animals, statues of women, winding covers of balconies and stairs fences, faces. On the facade of buildings in the style of Art Nouveau, it was possible to judge even the master and the history of the house.

One of the most striking architects in Riga was Mikhail Eisenstein, who worked in the Baltic State Property Administration, and privately worked in architecture. According to Sergei’s son, the famous film director, Mikhail Eisenstein built about 53 houses in the style of Art Nouveau.

Powder Tower

Powder Tower

The Powder Tower in Riga

Пороховая башня

The Powder Tower is the only fragment of the defense system of Riga that has survived to this day. The first written references to this tower are found in the chronicles of 1330. Especially for the master of the Livonian Order in the fortress wall of Riga, a cannonball was made through which he entered the conquered city. After the conquest of Riga, the members of the Order decided to reconstruct and strengthen the fortification system of the city. So, according to one version, the famous tower appeared. However, there is another theory, which says that the tower was built at the end of the 13th century, that is, before the conquest of Riga by the Order.

According to available archival data, the tower originally had the shape of a horseshoe, and only by the middle of the 14th century it acquired its present, cylindrical shape. The system of fortifications of the city consisted of 28 towers, which at different periods of history were rebuilt and received different names.

In one of the periods, the Sand Tower was rebuilt, it was turned into a six-story building and a so-called pantry was built between the upper floors, intended for catching the enemy’s cores. The master of the Livonian Order was the inspirer of the reconstruction. However, as early as 1621, the tower was destroyed as a result of hostilities during the Swedish-Polish war. However, the fortification system was reconstructed, and the tower returned to life. There is a version that after these military actions it received its present name and became known as Porokhovaya. However, again this is only a theory.

According to the second version, the tower received its name already in peacetime, when it was adapted to the warehouse in which gunpowder was stored. However, this version is not convincing. There are also several opinions regarding the nuclei of the tower, embedded in the wall. One of them says that all these nuclei are the echo of numerous sieges of the city by Russian troops. And the second theory says that these nuclei appeared only after the reconstruction of the 30s of the 20th century. According to this version, the cores were specially embedded in the walls of the tower by restorers.

In the years of the Russian Empire, the tower was unclaimed, and by the middle of the 19th century the question of the liquidation of all fortifications had arisen, since they limited the city and did not give it opportunities for territorial growth. And already in 1856 a plan was adopted for the reconstruction of the city, according to which all the fortifications were to be demolished. However, this time the Powder Tower was pardoned, but it was not found and it was empty for another 30 years.

Since 1892, a new round of history has begun for the tower. Now it belongs to students who made repairs for it in their funds and equipped a beer hall and several dance halls in the tower. The pub is notorious for the fact that it began to sound nationalist ideas. The very name of the tower can be associated with the formation of Nazism, because at different times it was inspired by such ideological inspirers of the movement of brown shirts as ME Shaibner-Richter and Arno Shikedanz. The tower carried out its new function until 1916. Only with the outbreak of World War I did the students have to leave their habitable place.

In the tower a museum of Latvian riflemen opens, and then the Military Museum comes to replace it. In 1938, the Powder Tower survived another restoration and finally acquired a modern look. However, with the formation of the USSR regime in the tower, changes are again taking place, and the Naval School named after Nakhimov opens in it. And in 1957 a museum was opened in the tower again, this time the Museum of the October Revolution. In 1991, the authorities are changing, and the Military Museum again operates in the tower. This museum operates today, its exposition is rich in various exhibits telling about the history of the country.

House of the Blackheads

House of the Blackheads

Historical building in Riga House of the Blackheads

Дом Черноголовых

The House of the Blackheads is a famous architectural monument of the 14th century, located in the heart of Riga. Repeatedly rebuilt the building was mostly destroyed during the Great Patriotic War. It was possible to restore the building in our days.

In historical documents for the first time the building is mentioned in 1334 as the new house of the Great Guild, and built during the Order of the Order from 1330 to 1353. At the end of the fifteenth century, the building was leased by Chernogolov and was called at that time not unlike the “Court of King Arthur”, the present name of the house was supposedly in the late 60’s of the 16th century.

Blackheads are a fraternity of young and unmarried foreign merchants. The Brotherhood exists since the end of the thirteenth century and is under the auspices of St. George, but later the patron saint of the brotherhood becomes St. Mauritius, whose symbol in the form of a black head in the arms and became a distinctive sign of the brotherhood.

The founders of the richest and most influential company were representatives of not only Riga, but also foreign companies engaged in direct delivery of goods to Riga. They also created the company Blackheads as a counterweight to the Great Guild of sedentary merchants of the city, engaged in the purchase of goods. But, despite the separation, the company was still under the supervision of the Great Guild until the end of the seventeenth century.

According to historical data since 1477 Blackheads rent a house built for the public needs by the guild of artisans. Decorating and rebuilding the building, the Blackheads eventually become the sole owners of the New House. The first half of the day the building works as a stock exchange, and the second half of the day is devoted to rest – it hosts various evenings, balls, and concerts, especially since the hall has wonderful acoustics.
At different times in this house there were both explicitly and secretly Russian tsars and queens. Portraits of the monarchs of Sweden and Russia served as the decoration of the hall, among them there is a portrait personally presented by Catherine the second. So in the book of honorable guests, among the many records there is the signature of Bismarck himself.

Along with the Great Guild, the organization directed the public life of the city, took an active part in the defense, and by the end of 1895 it became a club of German merchants, ceasing to function as a corporation. And since 1939, after the repatriation of the Germans, the club is closed.

The original appearance of the house, unfortunately, is unknown. The building occupies an area of ​​425 sq. M, the main part of the house of the Blackheads is occupied by the central hall. Under the hall was a small floor divided into several rooms and a cellar under it. The attic of the house served as a storage room. Despite repeated changes and changes in the whole house, it was the hall that remained intact, as the core of the building, which is of historical value.

Today, the facade was designed in the early 17th century in the style of European Mannerism. According to the assumptions of Professor Vipper, the architects of the building should be sought among the masters of Bremen, Danzig and Denmark. Nowadays, scientists assume that this is Bodeker or Jansen. The facade is decorated with sculptures, the decoration is made with art forging, another decoration is the clock. At the House of the Blackheads there are unique astronomical clocks with the mechanism of the “eternal calendar”. The three dials of the clock in addition to time show the number, month and year, as well as the time of sunrise and sunset and moon phases. In the museums of the history of Riga and navigation, as well as in the Architectural Museum are kept various fragments of the decoration of the building and part of the interior of the house of the Blackheads.

In 1684, completed the porch, through which you can directly from the square to get to the second floor. Another extension in two floors was built in 1794, and in 1816 another one, but already from the Daugava River. In these same years, an open porch replaced the entrance. The most recent and, perhaps, significant change in the facade is the statues of Neptune, Mercury, Unity and Peace, made of zinc and installed in 1886.

In 1941, in June, the house came under fire from German troops, its ruins stood until 1948. On the site of the disassembled ruins of the House of Blackheads, instead of the Town Hall Square, there appeared the square of Latvian Red Riflemen with a constructed museum and a monument to the Latvian Red Riflemen. After Latvia gained its independence, the square again became known as Town Hall, and the museum was renamed the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia.

Initially, they did not intend to restore the House of Blackheads, but by the 800th anniversary of Riga, it was rebuilt after all. Before him stands a statue – a symbol of freedom, judicial power and trade protection, in the form of Roland. In the house itself there is a museum and a concert hall, where concerts of symphonic music are often held.

The Bremen town musicians in Riga

Bremen Town Musicians

Monument Bremen Town Musicians in Riga

Monument Bremen Town Musicians in Riga. Бременские музыканты

Bremen musicians are a monument to the heroes of the fairy tale of the Brothers Grimm – stands in the very center of old Riga. As you know, heroes of the fairy tale – a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster – go to Bremen to become musicians, but on the way they encounter robbers who are frightened by their singing, standing on each other. The robbers run away in fear, and the musicians stay in their house.

The first monument to the Bremen musicians was created by the German sculptor Gerhard Marx in 1951 for the city of Bremen. Bronze sculpture represents the main characters of a fairy tale, standing on top of each other and singing a song. The monument became a symbol of the city.

Based on the sculpture, sculptor Christ Baumgartel created a similar, but original monument in 1990. Bremen, a twin city of Riga, presented this monument to the Latvian capital. The twin brothers Bremen and Riga by right are Bishop Albert Buxheveden, the founder of Riga was a relative of the Bremen Archbishop. It is also believed that the German merchants, who first landed at the mouth of the Daugava in the 11th century, were from Bremen (although no documentary evidence has been found for the legend).

The monument became one of the excursion objects of Riga. And not only children want to be photographed for memory with the Bremen musicians. Today, the donkey’s nose – and the donkey is at the very bottom of the composition, has become noticeably lighter, because it is considered a good sign to touch it. There is an opportunity to realize three more desires, rub the noses of other animals. The most secret wish is performed by the cock, which is the hardest to reach.

Architectural complex three brothers

Architectural complex Three brothers

Архитектурный комплекс в Риге Три брата.Architectural complex Three brothers in Riga.

Architectural complex Three brothers – the oldest complex of residential buildings located in Old Riga on the street Maza Pils (Malaya Zamkovaya). These three houses have been preserved since the 15th century. Today they house the Museum of Architecture and the National Center for the Protection of Cultural Monuments.

According to legend, three houses, closely nestled to each other, were really built by men belonging to the same genus. In the Middle Ages, the street on which the houses are located, was on the outskirts of the city. There lived artisans. In the house number 17, the oldest of the “brothers”, was a craft workshop. It is assumed that the building of the “oldest brother” was built in 1490. The house has an ascetic architecture, the only decoration of the building are 2 stone pillars located in front of the entrance. In this house there was only 1 room, which was used both as a workshop and as a bench, as well as a place where people live. Until now, preserved stone benches, located on both sides of the door of the building, which are characteristic features of the early Middle Ages.

House number 19, which is an average “brother”, is the most luxurious building, in terms of architecture, among the three brothers. The entrance of the average “brother” is decorated with the inscription “Soli deo gloria!”. Unlike the eldest “brother”, this house had a separate spacious hall with large windows, while the living quarters were located on the side of the courtyard.

The youngest “brother” was built in the second half of the 17th century. In this house, on each floor there were small apartments. The facade of the building is decorated with a mask. Which, according to the author’s intention, was to protect the house from evil spirits.

In the period from 1955 to 1957, the restoration of the “three brothers” was carried out. The work was carried out according to the project of Peteris Saulitis, with the help of G. Janson. The stone portal, delivered from the lost House of the Blackheads, as well as the forged coat of arms, with the date of 1554, was embedded in the walls.


The Swedish Gates in Riga

Swedish gate

Swedish gate in Riga

Шведские ворота

The Swedish gates are a cultural monument, an architectural complex located in several houses on Tornia Street in Riga, Latvia.

In 1621, Riga was under the rule of Sweden. The Swedish occupation lasted until 1711. Naturally, the Swedish rule left a significant mark in Riga’s history. At this time, new buildings of architecture appeared in the city: the Yakovlevsky barracks or the barracks of Jekaba and the Swedish Gate, which are now among the most popular sights of Riga.

Peter I ordered the destruction of the barracks of Jekaba. Later, new ones were built in their place. The Swedish gate is the only one of all the city gates, which have survived to our days almost unchanged.

The legend tells that the Swedish gates were erected at the end of the XVII century. One enterprising and enterprising Riga merchant decided to cut through the gates in his house No. 11 on Tornia Street. In this way, he wanted to escape from the payment of duties on goods, which were officially imported through the Sand City gates. Since the gates were located in his house, the merchant decided to charge a fare through them.

Nevertheless, there is a more realistic version of the formation of the Swedish gate. Most likely, the city authorities decided to equip a closed passage to the buildings that were on the street Tornia. Therefore, a new gate was cut through.

The Swedish gates became so called for two reasons: first of all, their appearance coincided with the occupation of Riga by the Swedes, and the second reason is that most often Swedish soldiers used this gate. The soldiers quartered in Yakovlevsky barracks, which were located near the gate. Therefore, the Swedish gates represent a kind of symbol of the reign of the Swedes. At night the Swedish gates were locked to the most powerful bolts, and the watchmen were closely watched so that no living soul could penetrate them.

There is a tradition in which the terrible plague is in full swing. At this time the city was “in quarantine”. One young girl tried to penetrate the Swedish Gate to see her lover. But the guards managed to catch it. The girl was treated very cruelly. She was walled alive. Since then, at night, from the side of the wall, terrible weeping and groans of the unfortunate have been heard.

But not only this unhappy girl became a hostage to the Swedish gate. According to another legend, two lovers were walled in the wall next to the gate: a Latvian girl and a Swedish officer. Their love was originally doomed. After all, according to the laws of Sweden, officers could only marry Swedish girls. Lovers ignored the rules, for which they paid with their own lives.

Nowadays this ancient legend allows lovers to check the sincerity of their feelings. You have to go through the Swedish gates with your soul mate. And if their feelings are as strong as the feelings of unhappy lovers, then exactly at midnight the couple will hear the cherished “I love you!”, Coming from the wall.

And they say that for some time the city hangman lived in an apartment located above the Swedish gates. He had a habit of “warning” Riga about the impending execution. The night before, he always put a red rose on the window, and all the inhabitants knew about the impending bloody act.

In 1926, the Society of Architects of Latvia rented a house with the Swedish gates from the city authorities, which was rebuilt in accordance with its new appointment. The building acquired a baroque appearance, completely coinciding with the time of its appearance. The interior of the house (ovens from the 17th-18th century tiles, classic and baroque plafonds, etc.) was arranged by the Riga architect and artist AI Trofimov.

Currently, the House of Architects’ ensemble includes houses No. 11, No. 13 and No. 15 at the Swedish Gate. In addition to the Latvian Union of Architects, there is a library in which you can freely enter and enrich yourself with knowledge about the history and culture of the country.

Cat’s House

Cat’s House in Riga

Cat’s House in Riga

Кошкин дом

Cat’s House is a building located in the central part of the Old Town of Riga, built in 1909 by architect Friedrich Scheffel in the style of late rational modernity.

Both cats on the building called “Cat’s House” are extremely symmetrical, they decorate the turrets at the crossroads of Meistaru and Maza Smilshu (Malaya Peschanaya) and Meistaru-Zirgu (Horse). The central facade of the building is distinguished by a symmetrical composition, in the middle it is crowned with a sculptural symbolic image of an eagle with open wings ready to soar into the sky – this image is also executed in accordance with the principle of the central point of symmetry; it represents a symbolic indication of the eternal struggle until the victorious end. Eagle is able to look at the sun without blinking, which was one of the reasons for the recognition of this bird as a key solar symbol – this functional content contributed to the official inclusion of the eagle in the concept of the symbolism of Art Nouveau.

There is an old untested legend according to which the rich householder Blumer (Plume), dissatisfied with being prevented from becoming a member of the Riga Grand Guild, the representative body of the Riga merchant class, undertook an act of psychological retribution. He ordered sculptured images of black cats with arched backs and placed them on the pointed turrets of his apartment building, located on the opposite side of Meistaru Street (at the modern address, 10/12 Meistaru Street). However, these cats were topped with tails in the direction of the windows of the Great Guild Elder’s office, so it was not the diplomatic aspect that was in the most vulnerable place.

According to one of the traditional excursion shots, a lawsuit was launched against Blumer, but legal measures failed to get Blumer to have the cats deployed. Blumer was a good friend of the judge, or he paid generous bribes to often changed judges who in the verdict with full responsibility declared that these cats are walking by themselves, they are free animals and without them Riga will lose some of its architectural wealth. It is difficult to say when the world was concluded with the obstinate and uncompromising master named Blumer (Plume), but eventually the cats were deployed by the “right” perspective.

Livu Square

Livu Square

Площадь Ливу. Livu Square

The picturesque Livu Square appeared in Riga in 1950 on the site of the construction, destroyed during the Great Patriotic War. Designed her P. Seletsky.

Officially, the square was called the square of the Philharmonic. In 1974, it was reconstructed according to the idea of ​​K. Barons. A network of paths was broken and there were places for rest. In the center of the square was a swimming pool with a fountain, which currently does not work. In February 2000, the square at the Philharmonic Hall was renamed by the Riga authorities in Livu Square.

In winter, Livu Square turns into a city skating rink, and in summer – in a wonderful cafe where you can buy various souvenirs. All kinds of events are held here in the summer. The area turned 0.5 hectares.

If you pass from the Freedom monument through the City Canal to Livska Square, you can see the most beautiful buildings of the Great and the Lesser Guilds, located opposite each other on Amatu Street. In 1354, German merchants, who owned all the trade in Riga, organized the Great Guild. Her activities were abolished after the 1917 revolution. The modern building of the Great Guild was established in the middle of the 19th century. In 1965 it was reconstructed and adapted for the work of the Latvian State Philharmonic. In the foyer of the Philharmonic you can see stained-glass windows made according to the sketches of the Latvian artist A. Tsirulis. The building of the Great Guild has majestic eclectic forms of English Gothic.

The building of the Small Guild is built in the same style. The small guild was formed in the XIII century and was the union of all artisans. Only its members had the opportunity to become shop craftsmen. In 1936 it was liquidated.

Opposite the Great Guild is a grand building with two turrets, each with black cats. This is the famous house of the Black Cat or Koshkin House, which is an unofficial visiting card of Riga. The building in the style of the late rational modern was built in 1909 by the architect Friedrich Scheffel.

There is an ancient legend, according to which a wealthy landowner Blumer did not get into the Riga Great Guild and, of course, became very angry. They were ordered sculptural images of black cats with arched backs. They were located on the pointed turrets of Blumer’s lucrative home. But the most interesting is that these cats were turned by tails towards the windows of the working room of the Elder of the Great Guild, clearly showing the cynical attitude of the merchant to the members of the guild.

On one of the branches of this traditional excursion story, a trial was organized against Blumer. They say that he was never able to get the cats in the right direction. Most likely, Blumer was a close friend of the judge, or he paid generous bribes to often changing judges who in the verdict stated that cats are free animals, and they walk by themselves, and most importantly, that without them Riga will lose some of its architectural wealth. It’s hard to say when we managed to reach an agreement with Mr. Blumer, however, at one point the cats were deployed in the “right” perspective.

Livu Square, the Great and Small Guilds and the Koshkin House in Riga are a harmonious architectural ensemble, attracting its grandeur and beauty.

Botanical garden

Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden

Ботанический сад/ Botanical GardenThe Botanical Garden of the University of Latvia was founded in 1922. On its territory of 15 hectares are greenhouse and street collections, which include about 6,000 plants. The Botanical Garden is one of the most favorite holiday destinations in Riga. You can leisurely bypass the compact but information-rich territory, get acquainted with the representatives of the flora from all over the world, visit the greenhouses of plants, azaleas and tropical butterflies, and simply enjoy nature in the epicenter of city life. Gardeners-lovers, interested in botany, and those who want to spend time in a beautiful and well-groomed environment and at the same time learn something new – here everyone will find something interesting for themselves.

greenhouse of butterfliesGreenhouse of tropical butterflies

In the Botanical Garden Lao greenhouse butterflies. Botanical Garden of Sadjwi opened the only conservatory in the Baltics of tropical butterflies with insects from the tropics of South America, Asia and Africa. In nature, butterflies flock in flocks on sunny warm lawns. They feed on floral nectar and juice of ripe fruit. Now in the greenhouse of tropical butterflies you can feel the tropical exotics: to feel the touch of the fluttering wing, the smell of tropical plants, the stuffiness of the air. No less interesting than the butterflies are their pupae, which of different sizes and colors can be seen through the glass incubator.

Botanical Garden

The botanical garden collection is extensive and carefully selected. In the botanical garden you can get acquainted with protected plants, medicinal herbs and poisonous plants of Latvia. Most trees and shrubs in the arboretum are not characteristic of the Latvian flora, for example, hamamelis, cedars, lilacs, walnuts, gingko, mulberry, roses, cork trees and edible chestnuts. In the garden there is a collection of perennials, lilies, dahlias, herbaceous perennials and other ornamental plants. Within the special exposition, you can get acquainted with marsh plants, as well as mosses and lichens. In the greenhouses are various tropical and subtropical, as well as desert plants, including cacti.

Each visitor to the Botanical Garden will be able to choose a plant for the house, garden, pond and other purposes from a wide range of presented plants. The specialists working here will be able to get comprehensive information on gardening and floriculture, as well as plant protection and care. In addition, by prior arrangement, you can take part in seminars highlighting the issues of plant reproduction, the peculiarities of their cultivation, information on plant diseases and pests, and their application in everyday life.

In the middle of summer, during the flowering of lindens in the botanical garden, a holiday is held that gathers gardeners, breeders, and gardeners – lovers to enjoy the achievements of the Latvian gardeners, the variety of garden plants, to inspire ideas for their garden and to experience the summer, enjoying the magic of colors, sounds and smells. During the exhibition, you can buy and sell plants, goods and books on gardening.

Visiting the Botanical Garden – this is an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with the plants of the whole world, and also to look at interesting and unusual plants, learn about the peculiarities of their growing and care for them.



Address: Kandavas iela 2, Rīga, LV-1083
Phone: +371 67450852



Riga Zoo

Riga Zoo

Riga Zoo

The zoo in Riga is located on the territory of the picturesque Mezaparks microdistrict, west of Kisezers lake. The Riga Zoological Garden, founded around 1908, laid the foundation for the Riga Zoo. Already on October 14, 1912, the zoo opened to visitors and presented 267 animals of 88 species. Of the buildings of those times, a mountain café on the lake shore, entrance gates and the administration building have survived to this day. In 1914, the Zoological Garden acquired 538 animals.

During the First World War, many animals were taken to Germany and Königsberg, and the zoo was closed. It opened on September 24, 1933 thanks to a new society, the Latvian Zoological Garden. The collection of inhabitants of the zoo was then small – 124 animals of 48 species. The World War II, which soon began, did not contribute to the development of the zoo. Only thanks to the dedicated work of the staff, the collection of animals and premises could be saved almost without loss.

After the Second World War, the Riga Zoo developed steadily and soon became one of the best in the entire Soviet Union. In 1987, it numbered 2,150 animals of 405 species.

The zoo survived not the best of times during the collapse of the Soviet Union: the number of visitors decreased, the crisis began. However, today the zoo is expanding again, active construction is underway, the collection of animals is growing, the zoo is preparing to celebrate its centenary.

Riga Zoo is a favorite resting place of locals and one of the most visited tourist attractions in Riga. To date, the exposition of the zoo, located on 20 hectares, is represented by more than 430 species of various animals, birds, and other animals. Now the zoo visitors are offered excursions from 1 hour 30 minutes to three hours.

Riga Zoo is constantly evolving, new buildings and expositions appear, collections of animals are being updated. In addition, the Riga Zoo has a branch “Ciruli”, which is located on the highway Riga-Liepaja. In the zoo “Ciruli” live 38 species of wild animals and 12 species of domestic animals.


Ethnographic Museum

Ethnographic Museum in Riga

Ethnographic Museum in Riga

Рига этнографический музей/ Ethnographic Museum in Riga

The open-air ethnographic museum in Riga was founded in 1924, and since then, 118 ancient buildings have been transported from all over Latvia – Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Zemgale and Latgale. All of them are located on the territory of the museum in such a way as to create an idea of ​​the historical rural landscape of Latvia. The museum houses the buildings of peasants, artisans and fishermen, as well as farm buildings – taverns, smithies, mills, churches. The interior and furnishings of the buildings correspond to specific regions of Latvia and the way of life of people living in them.

An open-air ethnographic museum in Riga will give a thorough idea of ​​what Latvia looked like in those almost epic times when the peasant was still a general breadwinner. The museum on the shore of Lake Jugla is an amazing place for long unhurried walks. You can take your picnic basket with you, and you can pay tribute to the Latvian cuisine in a real roadside inn under the pines.

The Ethnographic Museum occupies 87 hectares of well-kept forest park. To show the public from all four cultural and historical regions of Latvia – Kurzeme, Zemgale, Vidzeme and Latgale – 118 original Latvian old buildings have been reassembled and re-assembled. Typical for their terrain are peasant farmsteads, windmills, forges, pottery furnaces and tar, house-workshops of artisans, in some of which you can observe the work of masters of original folk crafts.

Every year at the end of the first week of June an extensive fair is held at the Ethnographic Museum, where Latvian artisans and artists bring high-quality jewelry, textiles, wicker and forged products, ceramics, etc.


Work time:



Bonaventuras street 10, Riga, LV-1024
67,994,106; cashier: 67994515


The Riga Motor Museum

Riga Motor Museum

Riga Motor Museum

Opening of the Riga Motor Museum

Riga Motor Museum

The Riga Motors Museum is the largest museum of rare auto and mechanical transport in the Baltic countries, which was founded in 1989.

On April 22, 1989, a solemn opening ceremony of the Riga Motor Museum took place. The date of the opening was symbolic: a subbotnik on Lenin’s birthday, the day in which the legendary Auto Union was saved in Moscow from the ZIL plant in 1976. With the opening of the museum, in the row of significant cultural and educational institutions of Latvia, the largest in the Baltics museum of antique cars was added at that time (and today). In 1989, the new museum was visited by 75,000 people, a year later the number increased to 130,000.

The purpose of the museum is to collect, exhibit and explore vintage cars and mechanical vehicles, study the history of their appearance, use and development, including the development of the history of the automotive industry in Latvia.

Cars, mopeds and bicycles produced in Latvia.

The Riga Motors Museum is an opportunity to see such models of the Latvian automotive industry as a Russo-Balt fire truck, Ford cars Vairogs V8 and Junior-10, as well as products of the Riga bus factory (RAF) – well-known minibuses at the Riga car factory. and passenger bus RAF – 976.

The Kremlin automobile collection

In the Kremlin collection the motor of the museum can be looked at the limousines of the top class of the leaders of the USSR, luxury imported cars of the 1930s, as well as the injured in the accident Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow LI. Brezhnev.

Cars and motorcycles prewar production

The exposition of the museum includes both popular Ford-T (1919) and Chevrolet- Superior mod. “F” (1924), and less well-known models of cars, such as the Selve 12/50 Tourer released in Germany in 1924. In the exposition you can see German cars produced in the second half of the 30s of the last century. For example, a sports roadster BMW-328, a small mass car Mercedes-Benz 170V, as well as an exclusive Horch-853.

Racing cars

In the permanent exposition of the Riga Motor Museum there is an opportunity to look at a unique collection of racing and record cars. Auto – Union Type C / D (Germany, 1938) designed for mountain competitions, one of the most unique exhibits of this collection, and the entire museum.

Cars and motorcycles of the Soviet era

The Riga Motor Museum was given possession of many well-preserved Soviet cars that occupy an important place in the museum’s exposition, from the first Moskvich to the various models of the Zhiguli. The collection of the museum quite fully shows the cars that drove in due time on the roads of the USSR.


Riga Motor Museum for Children

Road safety

The main goal of the road safety classes is to introduce children to the basics of traffic safety rules, and also to prepare for the theoretical examination of the rights for bicyclists. The Riga Motor Museum provides the opportunity to take the CSDD exam for both groups and individually.

Science and Technology

In the science and technology classes, children and adolescents will be able to try various experiments connected not only with the history of the automobile industry, but also various everyday things that may never have been thought about.

Excursion on the history of motor industry

The Riga Motor Museum offers a special tour of the history and development of the automobile industry for children and young enthusiasts. The excursion time with a guide is about 40-60 minutes.

Activities for children in the museum

The Riga Motors Museum offers an interactive excursion for children according to their age, as well as the congratulations of the jubilee. Continue the celebration after a tour of the museum can be in a cafe or teacher class.

Also offers the holding of festive events in the sports complex “Bikernieki” on the road of motorism, at ul. Eisenstein 4.

For recording on the day of celebration, please call +371 67025888. Please reserve a cafe or a table reservation, please contact the administration of the cafe +371 25367109, e-pasts:

Inter activity – what do children do in the museum?

Visiting the Riga Motor Museum is a fascinating adventure for the whole day. In the museum for children are available interactive workstations, recreation areas with various games, a playground where young motorists can feel themselves driving a car.


On the basis of the sports complex “Bikernieki” there is a section on automodelling, in which children and teenagers are offered the opportunity to design cars themselves, which then can take part in competitions. In the section there is an opportunity to obtain initial knowledge of engineering, electronics and metalworking.

Bicycle exam.

Along with the car, the bicycle is also a full-fledged participant in road traffic, for the management of which it is necessary to have a driving license. The Riga Motor Museum offers the opportunity to take the CSDD exam for both groups and individually.

Information for visiting the Riga Motor Museum

The Riga Motor Museum is waiting for you every day from 10:00 to 18:00. Visiting the exhibition can take you about 2 hours, so we recommend arriving in advance, until 16:30.

Hours of work during public holidays:

The museum does not work 24., 25., 26., 31. December and 1 January