St Catherine's Church Vidzeme
At one time Biker Church was one of the centers of parochial care in the Bailiwick in Riga. The first wooden chapel was built already in 1690. The foundation stone for a new stone church was laid in 1765. In October 1766, the church was consecrated in honor of Tsarina Catherine II of Russia.
The main style of the building is Baroque. It's a single-aisle church with a high ridged roof, half-hipped at the east end, and with a projecting square bell tower attached to the west front, topped by a helmeted dome. In the 2nd half of the 19th century, major alteration and renovation work was undertaken, involving construction of a new sacristy in the eastern part of the church.
When entering Vidzeme Market (Matīsa Market) from Brivibas iela, the first thing you see are the many mannequin legs with tights as if dancing the can-can. However, the first impression is misleading. The place has a slow and quiet rhythm. In the market pavilion, you can even hear the music of ringing cash registers mingling with the rhythmical sound of meat-slicing machines. Local farmers sell onion and garlic strings and freshly smoked meat.
Vidzeme or Matīsa Market dates back to the 1870s when it first developed around the bore-well or the Great Pump where New Gertrude's Church is now. In October 1902, the market moved to its present premises - two pavilions and an administration office on the corner of Brīvības and Matīsa streets.
The Eclecticism-style buildings feature steel covering and frolicsome pediment. The meat pavilion was closed some time ago. In 2009 a fashion show by students of the Latvian Academy of Art was held in the premises. Now you will find meat in one room with pickled cucumbers and sauerkraut (with or without carrots or caraway-seeds). Here you can also buy pickled pieces of pumpkin floating in a container like in an aquarium.
Ascension of Christ Church Riga
The Ascension of Christ Church in Vidzeme is near the Pokrov Cemetery and the Great Cemetery. In the spring of 1845, the Orthodox Synod gave permission for the 1st Latvian Orthodox congregation to be established in Riga, and Filaret I, Bishop of Jelgava, permitted to hold the Devine Liturgy in the old wooden church of the Pokrov Cemetery.
In 1875, the old wooden church burned down, and work began on a new stone edifice on this site.
St Gertrude Church
One of Riga's earliest Classical churches was St Gertrude's Church, patron saint of travelers, in the St Petersburg suburb by the Great Sand Road (now Brivibas iela). The church was built between 1779 and 1781, but in 1812 is was burned down along with the suburbs of Riga. In 1817, a new wooden church was consecrated.
A long time passed before stone buildings were permitted in the suburbs. A new church was designed in 1863 by architect Johann Daniel Felsko. The foundation stone was laid in 1865. The church ranks as one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the Baltic region.
The windows of the end walls of the aisles date from 1907. Thee 2-part stained glass window "Let the Children Come to Me" is one of Ernst Tode's most expressive works, showing Art Nouveau characteristics.