You are here
Riga Cathedral is one of the oldest sacred buildings of the medieval period in Latvia and also the Baltics.
Riga Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Riga Cathedral congregation’s church, a venue of ecumenical services and one of Riga’s organ music centers containing historical, architectural, cultural and artistic heritage of various centuries.
History of Riga Cathedral
The foundation stone of Riga Cathedral was laid in 1211, and a monastery of the Cathedral Chapter of the Riga Diocese and the Riga Cathedral School were built next to the Cathedral soon afterwards. In the 14th-15th centuries, the church was transformed into a basilica, raising the central nave, constructing the western cross-nave and side chapels, as well as raising the tower to 140 meters, which made it the tallest tower in Riga of that time.
The building of Riga Cathedral combines features of Romanesque, Early Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau styles.
The roosters sitting on the spires of Riga Old City churches are one of the symbols of Riga. Yet the rooster of Riga Cathedral is not just a symbol, it also serves as a weathercock, always facing the wind. The sculpture, weighing 86 kilograms, is about 0.5 meters tall and about 1.3 meters wide. Engraved in its crest is the rooster’s story. The old Cathedral rooster is displayed at the Cathedral’s cloister.
Riga Cathedral Ensemble
Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation
The Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, which is a part of Riga Cathedral’s architectural ensemble, has more than 500,000 items in its archive, and its exhibits displayed in 16 halls tell about Riga’s history of more than 800 years.
Cloister of Riga Cathedral
The cloister, constructed in the 13th century, is a magnificent masterpiece of Early Gothic architecture. Originally, the cloister connected Riga Cathedral with the monastery, the seat of the highest college of clerics, or the Cathedral Chapter.
Displayed at the cloister are several collections of the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation:
- Cannons and their equipment,
- Tomb plates,
- Pieces of decorative stone elements and hammered work from buildings that once stood in Riga,
- Plaster replica of a statue of Russian Czar Peter I,
- Materials unearthed during archaeological excavations, including a hypothetical Liv idol, the so called Salaspils Stone Head, found in the Cathedral garden,
- Coats of arms of families, societies and fraternities displayed in niches over the arcades.
Concerts in Riga Cathedral
For centuries, Riga Cathedral has been one of the main venues of musical events in Riga and the whole of Latvia, and so it is also today when music of various ages is played both at church services and regular concerts in the Cathedral.