We spent two and a half days in Riga which seemed to be enough to have a good sense of it. There were not so many sights–not nearly so many churches and only one- The Orthodox Cathedral of Christ’s Nativity–which was rather awe-inspiring but for some reason does not show up in the pictures as special as it did “in person.” The Soviets nearly destroyed the interior of this church using it for various other purposes and it is still in the process of being restored as you will see below.
I noticed this man painting the gold leaf onto the letters in the dome and his work is barely begun. One can imagine how this will look when all the gold is applied. I thought of Michelangelo doing the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel--it took him 13 years. Of course, this is more like a fresh coat rather than a fresco so it is much easier but still pretty tedious I'd think.
We liked this icon of Tsar Nicholas II and his family who have been canonized. Chuck has always been especially interested in Russian history and the fate of this very lovely family is so sad.
Wall of icons at the front of the church.
Riga has a wonderful Old Town with many interesting buildings along a maze of little streets–very charming. There are many expensive but interesting restaurants and many souvenir shops. The Latvians we met were friendly and more seemed to speak English than Lithuanians.
The House of Blackheads. So called because it was originally built in 1334 for the city's guilds after the Livonian Order seized the existing guild buildings and over time, a guild of unmarried foreign merchants became the sole occupants and their name, the Blackheads, derives from their patron saint, St. Maurice who was often depicted as a Moor......... Sorry I somehow did not see that light pole! This lovely building was nearly totally destroyed in World War II, completely flattened and made into a parking lot by the Soviets after the war - they didn't like ethnic cultural reminders - and reconstructed in 1999.
I really like all the metal decoration on tops of buildings here.
An interesting decoration inside the Dome Cathedral (which is in the process of being extensively restored) also reflects The Blackheads.
Interesting old buildings.
Dome Cathedral, interesting housetops
I really don't know what to say about this building except that I thought it was interesting. It looks rather Art Deco in style.
Riga is also considered the Art Nouveau capital of the world and, although I knew that, I did not learn which places to look for the buildings so missed most of them. However, google Riga and look at some of the wonderful examples. They were mostly in the newer section of the town and we were mostly in Old Town. Here is one example I saw.
We visited the Porcelain Museum which was small but had an interesting collection of vases and plates portraying Soviet leaders and popular Soviet themes.
Here is Latvia’s Freedom Monument, built in 1935. We arrived just as the changing of the guard was beginning.
Tevzemei un brivibai--For the Fatherland and Freedom-is inscribed on the front.
One more example of Art Nouveau– I do hope you’ll be inspired to look on line at all the examples in Riga.
Hope you enjoyed Riga!