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.