Riga Cathedral

Riga, Latvia

Riga Cathedral is the Protestant cathedral in Riga, Latvia. Built near the River Daugava in 1211 by Livonian Bishop Albert of Riga, it is considered the largest medieval church in the Baltic states. It has undergone many modifications in the course of its history. Certainly one of the most recognisable landmarks in Latvia, the Cathedral is featured in or the subject of paintings, photographs and television travelogues.

At the end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th century, Riga Cathedral was enlarged by building the western cross-nave and side chapels and elevating the side walls of the central nave thus making the church into a basilica. At that time the tower walls were also raised and an octagonal pyramidal spire was added. This tower can be seen in the oldest picture of Riga Cathedral - a Sebastian Munster's cosmography dating back to 1559. According to V.Neimanis, supervisor of Riga Cathedral renovation works in the 19th century, Riga Cathedral Tower was the highest spire in the whole city of Riga at that time.

Riga Cathedral kept its appearance up to 1547, when on a Sunday before Pentecost a great fire broke out in the inner city and the Gothic spire of the cathedral burned down. A new tower with a pyramidal spire and two galleries were built by 1595. Riga Cathedral rooster dating back to that time can still be seen in the Cloister of the Cathedral. During the city siege in 1710, the cathedral roof was seriously damaged. Later during the reconstruction works, the rooves of the side naves were rebuilt, too, by changing their slope and covering up the round rose windows. The choir obtained a Baroque roof and the central nave - its eastern pediment with the year 1727 on it.

In 1772, Russian tsarina Catherine II prohibited further burials in churches in the whole territory of Russian Empire. Following sanitary considerations, the City Council set aside a piece of land for a city cemetery outside the city. Burials from Riga Cathedral were transferred there, as a result of which the floor level of the Cathedral was raised. In 1775, Riga City Council, on the grounds of the conclusions drawn by the engineers of those days, ordered the demolition of part of the tower spire and building the new present-day Baroque tower.

From 1881 to 1914, Riga Cathedral Building section of Riga Society of Researchers of History and Ancient Times carried out major reconstruction and renovation works in the church and the Cloister. As a result of these works, the Cathedral and the Cloister acquired their present-day appearance.

In the 20th century, during the Soviet times, two major reconstruction works took place. From 1959 to 1962, Riga Cathedral was adapted and turned into a concert hall - the altar was dismantled and the seats were installed to face the organ. From 1981 to 1984, a Dutch organ building company carried out a major organ reconstruction. At the same time, the Cathedral interior was renovated and all utilities were reinstalled.

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Address

Doma laukums, Riga, Latvia
See all sites in Riga

Details

Founded: 1211
Category: Religious sites in Latvia
Historical period: State of the Teutonic Order (Latvia)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Павел Поляков (44 days ago)
The organ in Riga's Dom is incredible. You should listen marvellous music there in truly Gothic cathedral. Must see and listen.
Yury Ramanousky (2 months ago)
I recommend to visit concert in the evening, especially with singers. It costed me 15 euros, but is absolutely amazing. The recommendation is to come here in advance, hour before the concert. That will help you to seat in the best seat :) Overall, the cathedral is big, beautiful and amazing. It is fantastic place, but it has much less decorations inside, compared to other Catholic churches. The main beauty is organ and building itself.
Mohamed Akeel (2 months ago)
The cathedral is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Latvia, and is featured in or the subject of paintings, photographs and television travelogues. Like all of the ancient churches of the city, it is known for its weathercock. The church was built near the River Daugava in 1211 by Livonian Bishop Albert of Riga, who came from Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany. It is considered the largest medieval church in the Baltic states. It has undergone many modifications in the course of its history. The church is commonly called the Dome Cathedral, a tautology as the word 'Dome' comes from the German Dom meaning 'cathedral'.
Dennis Krüger (2 months ago)
Nice medieval church but the entrance costs for non students 6 euros which is definetely too much
Paul Brasier (2 months ago)
Now 5 Euros entrance to one of the plainest cathedrals I have visited. Some nice stained glass and some interesting artifacts outside in the cloisters but hardly worth a visit.
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Reconstruction of the cathedral took several decades, as greater priority was given to the rebuilding of the Marienkirche. Work was completed only in 1982.

The cathedral is unique in that at 105 m, it is shorter than the tallest church in the city. This is the consequence of a power struggle between the church and the guilds.

The 17 m crucifix is the work of the Lübeck artist Bernt Notke. It was commissioned by the bishop of Lübeck, Albert II. Krummendiek, and erected in 1477. The carvings which decorate the rood screen are also by Notke.

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In the funeral chapels of the southern aisle are Baroque-era memorials by the Flemish sculptor Thomas Quellinus.