Sunday, April 18, 2010

Old-Riga Walking Tour (part viens)

With the weather getting nicer, we finally got a chance to start checking-out Old-Town using the "Self-guided Walking Tour" from the magazine "Riga in Your Pocket."  As instructed, the Richardsons started at the Freedom Monument and walked up the hill of Bastejkalns park for a good look at the city center and Old-Town.
Designed by Latvian architect Karlis Zale, the Freedom Monument was built in 1935.  The woman at the top is named Milda.  The two cute girls with matching jackets are named Sarah and Leah.

Next we walked across the street to see one of the important defensive structures of Riga, the Powder Tower.  The Museum of War is right next door.  If you look carefully, you can see Niki, Sarah, and Leah at the bottom right...this is a tall building!

Walking down Torna, the Jacobs Barracks are directly next to the Powder Tower.  They were built in the mid to late-1700s after the Great Northern War between Sweden and Russia (Russia won that one, by the way).  Painted yellow, it now features souvenir shops and cafes.
We then walked through the Swedish Gate, cut through an existing structure in 1698.
We then turned onto Troksnu iela, which is a really narrow street, probably much like streets existed in many European cities in the 16th-18th centuries.  From our perspective today, it presents a very closed-in feeling!
We then ran into St. James Church and the Parliament building (Saeima).

We then meandered through a few streets (actually, we were a bit lost, but soon found our way with the help of a friendly person willing to show us to the next site) and found the "Three Brothers."  Each of the three houses represents a different style of Middle Ages home construction.
From there, we walked to Riga Castle, now the home of the History Museum of Latvia and the official residence of the President of Latvia.
We continued onward to Doma  laukums (Cathedral Square) and checked out the Dome Cathedral in warm/sunny conditions for a change!  It was originally built in the early 13th century under the leadership of Albert of Riga and is the largest medieval church in the Baltics.  Apparently Albert was a military leader whose primary mission in life was to lead military troops and convert people to Christianity, similar to a crusader.  Anyway, he founded Riga in 1201 and established a military order, the Livonian Brothers of the Sword.
At this point, we took a break from the prescribed tour (suggested in the brochure) and checked-out the Daguva.
The Anglican Church is directly across the street from this river.  Bill has a trumpet recital there with organist Kristine Adamaite on April 28th (beginning at 13:00, if you live in Latvia and are interested in attending!).
Everyone was quite tired by this point in our walking tour, so we began walking home.  On the way, we ran into the "Cat's House," named for two black cat sculptures sitting high atop an old building.
Stay tuned for more walking tour adventures in a week or so!

1 comment:

Andrea said...

AWESOME!! That's my kind of tour! Looking forward to the next blog...