The Academy of Sciences edifice was built after World War II, between 1951 and 1961, collecting the necessary financing from the newly established kolkhozes in Latvia and - as further expenses increased, collecting the finances as 'voluntary donations' deducted from the salaries of the Latvian rural population.
The building is decorated with several hammers and sickles as well as Latvian folk ornaments and motifs. The spire originally was decorated with a wreath and a five pointed star, which was removed after Latvia regained independence in 1991. Being 108 metres tall, it was the first skyscraper in the republic and was the tallest building until the construction of the Swedbank Headquarters in Latvia.
The building, designed by Osvalds Tīlmanis, Vaidelotis Apsītis, and Kārlis Plūksne, is a cousin to similar Stalin-era skyscrapers, which were representative of what became known as Stalinist architecture (sometimes referred to as Socialist Classicism). The architecture of the skyscraper resembles many others built in the Soviet Union at the time, most notably the main building of Moscow State University. Local nicknames for this building include Stalin's birthday cake and the Kremlin.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.