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Riga Cathedral

Location: N56° 56` 56.4", E24° 6` 17.13" | Website: doms.lv/index/

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Riga cathedral is located in the Dome square. It is the Latvian cathedral of archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran church. The exterior architectural solution is simple and blunt, but at the same time majestic and powerful. It the most important sacral building in Latvia since the medieval times.

Holy Mary or Riga cathedral together with the Dome capitol monastery was built for the Riga archbishop and the highest ministry of Livonia. The outline of the new church was made in 1211, constructed by Romanesque cathedrals system.  

First a rectangular gables with three half-circumference apses was built, which was gradually supplemented with three naves of the congregation premises, which were constructed after the principle of basilica construction. Around the 20ies of the 13th century, Romanesque constructive system was replaced with Gothic style. Proportions and the composition of the cathedral were changing. Changes of the Romanesque and Gothic style can be seen in the Northern portal of the cathedral, two area capitol meeting hall and the monastery yard. On the second half o the 13th century a hall type church was made, but in 14th century it was changed into basilica, at the same time elevating the tower which had an octagonal pyramidal spike, which made it the highest tower in city of Riga. The church was expanded up to the 15th century.

Riga cathedral gallery is one of the most remarkable early Gothic examples in Baltic countries. Some part of the elements were changed during the restoration in 19th century, but the Dome ensemble is the only one in Latvia where it is possible to get an idea about the medieval sculpturing.  

Papal legate Modena bishop Wilhelm is holding a council in the newly build Dome in 1226, and it is believed that it is the time when gable part and the cross nave is completed, which is separated from the unfinished congregation premises with a wall.

Bishop Jasper Linde gave a silver image of the Virgin Mary as a gift for the Riga cathedral in 16th century, which was put on the main altar of the church. The most part of the luxurious equipment and items were destroyed during the time of reformation. Stone tomb plates and monuments are best preserved things from the period before the reformation. A bronze epiphany for Jacubus Batus is still preserved in the cross gallery wall since the 1545.  

In 1524 church suffered badly during the iconic pogroms. Crowd of Lutherans invaded Riga castles and demolished them. A fire started in Riga inner city during 1547, which caused the burning of the Dome tower spire. In 1561 Riga archbishop margrave Wilhelm von Brandenburg sold the demolished Dome church with all its service premises to Riga city. In 1595 the building was repaired, rebuilt, and a new tower was built as well.