If Dan Brown would decide to write one if his cryptothrillers about Riga, then Riga Cathedral (Dom church) should be one of the main places to describe
LOCATION Latvia, Riga
ARCHITECTURE Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque
BUILT 1211
RATING (9,4/10)
If Dan Brown would decide to write one if his cryptothrillers about Riga, then Riga Cathedral (Dom church) should be one of the main places to describe. It’s an impressive building with rich history and one of the most important architecture landmarks of Riga and Latvia. 

Ever-changing and trendy

The cathedral was started to built just 10 years after the founding of Riga itself - in 1211. Bishop Albert intended to build this church as an impressive landmark of new territories where to spread Christianity, a church which wasn't seen before in this part of Europe. 

To this day, Riga cathedral is the largest medieval church in the Baltic states, although it has gone through many changes throughout the years. Each age and each reconstruction has brought in new architecture elements in the cathedral's composition, making it the real mixture of styles. It was started to built as a classical Romanesque style church, later it got several excellent Gothic and Baroque style additions and even Art Nouveau boom didn’t pass the cathedral untouched - it's 20th Century-beginning entrance part, as well as one of the chapels is built in Art Nouveau style!
Once (in 14th Century) Riga Cathedral tower was even 140 metres high (now it's height is 93 metres). In 15th Century, it also looked different than today - the tower had a pyramid-shape spire with eight corners.

Damaged in the crossfires of confession wars

The church experienced it’s darkest times in 16th Century when Reformation supporters (Lutherans) thought that the best way to fight for their progressive ideas would be by destroying and demolishing the Catholic pr0perties... Dom church (like several other most important Riga churches) suffered heavily in the so-called “Icon riots” when many icons, paintings and other art values were destroyed. The riots were effective though - Lutherans got freedom of religion the next year and Lutheranism quickly spread in Latvia as the most popular form of Christianity (and religion). But the Dom cathedral (after the expulsion of Catholics from Riga) for a while stayed abandoned and in 1547 the church tower spire burned down in a fire. Afterwards Riga city bought the damaged church for 3,6 tonnes of silver and let Lutherans in. In 1595, the church was reconstructed and got a new tower. However, it wasn’t until 1775 when Riga Cathedral got it’s current, Baroque-looking tower spire - this reconstruction was done according to Riga city command.

Nowadays Riga Cathedral works as a Lutheran church, organizes worships on Sundays and also workdays, and special worships of a national scale on state events. It hosts also concerts (mostly classical, organ music, etc.). After 2006, when Cathedral was in so bad technical condition that it even got included in 100 world’s most endangered objects list by World Heritage Fund, it finally got carefully restored (works were done from 2011 to 2015).      

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Travel Guide with beautiful photos and exciting descriptions of the most amazing and unique places in Baltic states and Europe. All content made by ⒸIkars Kublins. Contact me by e-mail: ikars.kublins@photoriga.com

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