Riga Cathedral (Doma ērģeles) is by far the largest cathedral in Riga Old Town and in fact in the Baltic countries. The cathedral was founded in the beginning of the 13th century by the Teutonic Order. The well-known organ (6,718 pipes) was made in 1884, and it was once the biggest in the world. The organ was build by the German firm E.F. Walcker & Sons form Ludwigsburg in 1882-83. The organ has two consoles, which give a rare opportunity for two organ players to compete.The tower of the cathedral is 90 meters tall. The House of the Blackheads (Melngalvjunam) was first mentioned in written sources in the year 1334. It was then called the New House. The building was owned by the Great Guild of Riga. In the 15th century the Blackhead Guild of Merchants obtained a lease for the building, resulting in actually buying the building in 1713. The Blackheads were a guild of unmarried foreign merchants. During the Second World War the building was destroyed (1941). It was rebuild in in it's beautiful Gothic style in 2001, when Riga celebrated it's 800th anniversary.
Riga Old Town Castle
The Order of the Brothers of the Sword build the first castle in Riga Old Town in 1209, It was called Wittenstein Castle (Castle made of white stone). After a civil war the inhabitants of Riga destroyed the building and built a new castle for the Livonian Order. This building was destroyed as well by the inhabitants of Riga, but this time it was rebuild and the castle the use of the building changed in one for public purposes during the Polish and Swedish occupations. The castle is now the of official residence of Latvia's the president.
Riga Old Town Swedish Gate and Church of St. John's
As a remembrance of the Swedish occupation of Riga, the Swedish Gate (Zviedru vārti) was added to the city's fortifications in 1698. It is the last surviving gate of the old Riga city walls.The city's executioner lived in the apartment above the gate. The story goes that a smart merchant used the gate to avoid city taxes, using it as a "private entrance". The Dominican monastery built the St. John's church in 1234 as a chapel, During the Reformation the Dominicans were ex pulsed and the church was privately owned since then. It became a furniture shop and later a weapon arsenal. It became part of the Latvian parish in 1582. Two monks were immured here by their own free will and are buried at the spot.
Church of St. Peter in Riga
The church of St. Peter was first mentioned in written sources in the year 1209. The church is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the Baltic states. The church tower was burnt down and rebuilt many times through the centuries. The last time the tower was destroyed was during World War 2 on St. Peter's Day in 1941. The tower was restored again in 1973. From an observation platform of the tower visitors can enjoy a splendid eagle-eyed view of Riga.
Museum of War Riga
The formation of the Latvian Riflemen's regiments and the ensuing battles of World War II spurred the founding of this museum in 1916. The museum moved into the Powder Tower in 1919, known as the Sand Tower in the 17th century. The 15th century edifice in its own right holds great historical value and connection to warfare, its 2,5 meters thick walls are still scarred and studded with old cannonballs.
The museum’s aim is to show to the public the complex military and political history of Latvia, with particular emphasis on the 20th century, during which the Latvian nation had to fight for its independence twice.
The largest and most significant part of the museum’s collection consists of objects about the military and political history of Latvia in the 20th century. The core of the museum’s collection holds more than 25,400 units, systematized into 22 collections. The War museum is proud of its collections of weapons, photos, documents, medals and military uniforms.
Permanent exhibitions about the art of warfare and Latvian soldiers, First and Second world wars, Latvian Army, Soviet occupation and the gaining of independence in 1918 and 1991 can be seen in the museum.
Recommended Hotel in Riga
The 4-star Astor Riga Hotel is located in the heart of the Old Town, with most of the Old Town sights located in an area up to 500 m from the hotel. The hotel building is eclectic and stylish, and there is free Wi-Fi.
All rooms are modernly designed with neutral colors used. All the rooms feature a safe, a seating area, a minibar, a flat-screen TV and an electric kettle. Bathroom features a shower or a bath, free toiletries and a hairdryer.