Riga Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia and one of the symbols of the spiritual life of Latvia.
Riga Cathedral is one of the biggest and oldest religious buildings in Latvia and the Baltic region dating from Medieval times. It combines features from the Romanesque, early Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau periods of architecture
Construction of the Cathedral
On St. Jacob’s Day, July 25, 1211, outside the fortification walls of the town, Bishop Albert consecrated the site for the new cathedral, cloister and the Bishop’s castle. The construction of the Cathedral was begun in the 13th century in the Romanesque style, in the form of the so-called Latin cross. At the beginning the builders used cut limestone blocks, later — large-format bricks. The most ancient part of the church — the choir and the eastern transept – still keeps massive walls, cruciform vaults, semicircular window apertures.
The Gothic style stepped in with lighter constructions, pointed arches, big windows and stellar vaults. In the 14th and 15th centuries the Cathedral was enlarged. The Hall-type Cathedral was rebuilt as Basilica and the octagonal spire was added to the tower. The chapels were added on northern and southern sides.
The Gothic spire and the organ burned down in the great fire of 1547.
A new tower with a pyramidal spire and two galleries was built from 1594 till 1596.
In the 1721 the east pediment and the roof of the choir were rebuilt in the Baroque style.
Due to instability, the part of the spire above the open gallery was demolished in 1775.
The present-day Baroque tower was built in 1776.
In the second half of the 19th century, a pseudo-Gothic west entrance was made by architect J.D. Felsko.
Riga Society of Researchers of History and Ancient times and its Riga Cathedral building section carried out reconstruction and renovation works from 1885 until 1910. During the conservation works Cathedral and Cloisters takes their present-day appearance.
Rekonstruktionen/ Authors of the: Ilmārs Dirveiks, Kristaps Raits, Elita Grosmane.
From Book: “Rīgas Doms. Arhitektūras un mākslas vērtības”, Elita Grosmane, Jumava, 2017