Since 13th century
Every city has their own historical area. And most important structures to visit are generally on these areas. Like peninsula of Istanbul or Kremlin and Red Square of Moscow. Riga is also same about this subject. There is a historical area called as “Old Town” in Riga. I will try to tell you “Must See” spots of Riga old town to you in this article.
Riga old town
Riga was built nearly at 13th century. First founding place is now called as Vecriga. That is where the Riga old town is. Actually history of city goes more to more earlier dates but modern and planned city was started to build with Bishop Albert.
St. Peter’s Church
St. Peter’s Church is one of the oldest structure in the city. Oldest record about is from 1209. It is a Lutheran church. It was built in 3 different time periods so you may see Gothic, Romanesque and Baroque details on it.
This door was opened at 17th century while Latvia was under control of Sweden. There are two legends about this door.
- The merchant who owns the house owns this door so he can get money from the people who cross it.
- City authorities open this door as a short cut.
It is unknown if it is named this way because it was built at Swedish period or if there is a barrack behind which Swedish soldiers used mostly.
This Evangelical Lutheran cathedral in Riga old town was constructed with order of Bishop Albert at 1211. It is close to the river Daugava. The cathedral which has one of the biggest organ also has a nice square around which you can sit and rest at cafes.
This house was built at 1909. The reason which makes it special is 2 cats on the top. The story says that the owner of the house was angry to the people of The Large Guild. So he ordered architect to plan cats as their asses turned to The Large Guild. But later faces were turned to it.
The Three Brothers
These three buildings which are on Maza Pils Street were built in three different time periods. They show the evolution that Riga lived. Buildings are from 15th, 17th and 18th centuries.
Do not imagine a big castle. I was very surprised when i saw it for the first time. But this is historical Riga Castle. Construction dates to 1330. Castle now serves as office of president of Latvia. There are also some museums inside.
House of Blackheads
That is one of my favorite spot in city. You may watch musicians or street artists on the square. It is a very spacious spot for me. House of Blackheads was built in Riga old town for single merchants at 14th century. It was bombed by Germans at 1941 and destroyed by Russians at 1948. The construction you will see was built between 1995-1999.
You may see St. Rolands monument in front of the building. Monument is more about freedom than religion.
The tower which was built at 1330 was being used for defence. Now it is a part of Latvian War Museum.