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Riga St Peter’s Church
Riga’s tallest church with a tower offering a breathtaking view of the red roofs of Old Town, the modern part of the city, Riga Bay and the Daugava River with its large port.
At St Peter’s Church you can:
- Enjoy art exhibitions,
- Attend concerts,
- Examine the original interior design elements – the Blue Guard Chapel, the wooden altar, renovated stone and wooden epitaphs and a large bronze candle holder for seven candles,
- See the original statue of Knight Roland which previously stood in Town Hall Square,
- Get acquainted with the skills and the sense of art of ancient builders,
- Get an impression on development of modern architecture and art
- Look into the future and Riga and its development,
- Get acquainted with the history of the church on stands and screens
Tower of St Peter’s Church
The more than 130 meters tall Gothic tower was completed at the end of the 15th century, but already in 1666 it collapsed. In 1690, a new tower was built in the Baroque style, with several domes and galleries, being the highest wooden construction in the world at the time. In 1721, a lightning struck the tower and it burned down. At the decree of Russian Tsar Peter I the tower was renovated. The church was also demolished and the tower burned down during World War II.
In 1967, renovation of the tower began. This time a metal construction with an elevator was built so that the galleries can be used as sightseeing platforms. The tower is 123.25 meters high, and visitors are taken to the second gallery at the height of 72 meters.
The tower clock and bells
In July 1975, the renovated tower clock was launched that, according to an old tradition, had just one hand showing hours. In 1976, the chimes were put into operation for the first time, playing Latvian folk song “Riga dimd” five times a day, and ringing bells to mark the full hour.
Seven roosters of St Peter’s Church
Starting from the 15th century up to 1941, there had been a total of six wind vanes – roosters. The first rooster was bent by a storm, the second was blown down from the steeple, the third was removed because the storm had damaged it, the fourth rooster fell down in the church yard during a storm, the fifth one collapsed, while the sixth rooster had been repaired, but came down when the tower collapsed. In 1970, a new rooster was erected, it was renovated and gilded for the 800th anniversary of the church.
St Peter’s Church was built in 1209, but just some walls and some pillars have remained from that time. Initially it was a small hall, possibly with a separate bell tower. The current basilica was created during renovations in the 15th century.
The church hall leaves a grand impression, the middle part of it reaches a height of 30 meters. The altar part with five chapels demonstrates verticality of the Gothic style and fine profiles.
In 1997 Riga St Peter’s Church was included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.