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SIGHTS


Take a walk through the labyrinth of cobble-stoned streets and you will probably feel that you have made a journey back in time. Gothic churches and ancient buildings re- mind you of the Middle Ages. This open-air museum contains over 150 architectural monuments.


the old town


CAT HOUSE 19 Meistaru iela. The house was named after the two black cats perched on the roof. At the turn of the century, the owner of the building was exiled from the Great Guild across the street and ordered the cats to be turned with their tails towards the Guild. The cats were eventually turned back af- ter a long court battle, and the man was admitted back to the Guild. RIGA CATHEDRAL (DOME) Doma laukums. The largest cathedral in the Baltics was founded by Latvia’s Teutonic conquerors in the beginning of the 13th


century under the bishop Albert. 28


This well-known historical church has become an icon of the Old Town of Riga. In the past centuries it has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, so presently it is a composite of different architectural styles. The cathedral’s last recon- struction took place in 1776 the tower was raised to the height of 90m. The famous organ of the Dome cathedral was made in 1884, it was the biggest organ in the world com- prising 6,718 pipes! DOMINICAN MONASTERY Jåña Séta. This monastery was founded at the site of the first palace of the bishop Albert, near the fortification wall. It was then passed into the pos- session of the Dominican Order in 1234. Instead of the monastery’s chapel, St. John’s church was built next to it at the end of the 13th century. After the Reformation, the monastery was turned into a shelter. GREAT AND SMALL GUILD 6 Amatu iela and 5 Amatu iela. Both Guild houses were built over a century and a half ago. The Great Guild and the Small Guild are the “family nests” of two Riga families of


tradesmen and craftsmen. The Great Guild, also known in the Middle Ages as St. Mary Guild, united merchants, jewellers and writers. The eclectic Gothic style building was construct- ed in the middle of the 19th


century.


In 1963, after a fire, it was rebuilt as a concert hall and now hosts the Philharmonics Society. The owners of the Small Guild were an esoteric fellowship of craftsmen formed in the 13th


century. In the middle of the


last century they represented more than 400 professions and trades. Now the Small Guild serves cultural and entertainment needs. HOUSE OF BLACKHEADS Råtslaukums. First mentioned in 1334, the build- ing was owned by the Great Guild. In the 15th


century the house was


rented out to the Blackheads Mer- chant Guild and became their prop- erty in 1713. Blackheads was an organisation of unmarried foreign merchants, existing in several Baltic medieval towns. The beautiful Gothic building was destroyed in 1941, but was rebuilt for Riga’s 800th


anniver-


sary in 2001. POWDER TOWER 20 Smilßu iela. First mentioned in 1330, used to be called the Sand tower because it de- fended the city from the side of the Big Sand Road. The tower received its present name in the 17th


century when


it was used to store gunpowder and cannonballs. The latter are still stored in the outside walls of the tower! ST. GEORGE’S CHURCH 10/20 Skårñu iela. St. George’s church was founded on the spot of the Riga Castle cha- pel built for the Order of the Sword Brothers in 1204. After the Refor- mation victory in the first half of the 16th


century, when most Catholic


monasteries and churches had been destroyed, the ‘Brown Dove’ and the ‘White Dove’—were placed in the church. Now the church houses the


www.rigathisweek.lv/sights


πAnja Coppieters


πAnja Coppieters


πRodion Shehovtsov


πRodion Shehovtsov


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