Thursday Doors: The Medieval Riga, Latvia

In 1201, Riga was a small port town. From the 13th century to the 15th century Riga grew, as one of the key centers of the Hanseatic League, (towns with German ties that functioned with independent political power)  Because of their valuable trading and cultural routes Riga flourished and led the way in current trends in architecture and urban planning. It’s medieval core reflected prosperity, although simple in needs and design. By the 17th century, Riga was the largest provincial town of Sweden. In the 19th century suburbs were laid out beyond the medieval village with wooden buildings in neoclassical design and eventually stone buildings were built. In the Historic Center of Riga there are three distinct urban landscapes: the well-preserved medieval core, the 19th century semi-circle of boulevards with green belt parks on both sides of the City Canal and the dense built up area of rectangular streets and wooden architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries. Despite destruction in WWI, WWII, and Russian Occupation for many years, Riga has once again built up the city to its glorious past. For this reason Riga is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a must see in the Baltic! Today, for THURSDAY DOORS I am mainly in the medieval core ……………..

I liked the wooden fold out doors and the tiny, tiny wooden doors on the windows. Another weathervane was up there too! If you didn’t read my post on Riga’s steeples, towers and weathervanes look HERE.

Riga, Latvia Old Town

From this photo you can see just how thick the walls were and how the inner core was like a rabbit’s warren of connected buildings……and small courtyards……….

Riga, Latvia Old Town Wall and Rampart

This housing was right along the defensive wall of the original walled village. They allowed houses to be attached to the defensive walls in order to strengthen it and make it even harder to penetrate. I wondered who would want this spot? Maybe the tradesman……….. or a woman, who wanted to know the comings and goings of everyone. You know, this would be the spot for the village gossip!

I thought the light fixture was a good idea too, no pole. Just wire it from electrical lines coming from all the close knit buildings. With all these old, old buildings and narrow paths between the buildings it would have been very, very dark and scary, in days gone by! I could just imagine the torches lighting the way!

Riga, Latvia Old Town Wall and Rampart

Some of the walls here had what looked like hand painted decorations on them…………

Riga, Latvia, Building Art and Sign

You definitely could see make-do and add, on this wall………..

Riga, Latvia, Building Art and Sign

Here are these wooden shutter doors again. These have quite the artistic design and represent the Art Gallery……..Notice all the cats painted on it? More about Cats in Riga in a future post.

Riga, Latvia, Building Art and Sign
Riga, Latvia, Building Art and Sign

Rather than a Godfather they had a Good Father……….

Riga, Latvia Old Town

If you like music you would love Riga…….there is music everywhere, from the street musicians to the bands, to the folkart singers………there is music around every corner! You hear it before you get there!

Riga, Latvia, Street Musician

Keep the cannon and pass the cannoli……Ha Ha! Never give up your cannons, add them to the city walls!

Riga, Latvia Old Town

Finally a proper door……

Riga, Latvia Old Town

and this one……….

Doors in Riga, Latvia

And, now we are coming to a building section consisting of three houses. The Houses of the Three Brothers form the oldest complex of dwellings in Riga. Each house represents a different development of construction.

The white house at 17 Maza Pils Street is the oldest, dating from the 15th century. It is made up of crow-stepped gables. Inside, the original floor plan consisted of one large room and an attic that was used for storage. It was restored from 1955-1957.

The yellow house next door at 19 Maza Pils Street reveals an exterior dating from 1646 with the stone portal added in 1746. This style is Dutch Mannerism.

The last house at 19 Maza Pils Street is a very narrow Baroque style building from the late 17th century. Today, these houses are used for the offices of the State Inspection for Heritage Protection. I might add that Tallinn, Estonia called their oldest connected buildings the  Houses of the Three Sisters. These two cities are still trying to outdo each other!

Riga, Latvia, Houses of the Three Brothers
Riga, Latvia Door of One of the Three Brothers
Riga, Latvia, Houses of the Three Brothers

I’m going to stop today with the fence/door of yet another church!

Doors in Riga, Latvia

I hope you have enjoyed our stroll through the medieval historic quarter of Riga today! There’s more to this beautiful city……….see you in the parks tomorrow!

Look here to see what others are doing for Norm’s Doors!

It’s easy to do Norm’s Doors. Photograph some doors and post them to Thursday Doors on Thursday!

PS All photos were taken on our IPhones …….we are traveling lighter!

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Sheree says:

    Glorious architectural details in your wonderful photos to accompany the history. Many thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Catherine says:

    Fascinating! So much of our architectural heritage has been lost over the years, bulldozed to make way for the modern. It’s not until you see gems such as this that you realise just how precious our heritage is.

    I absolutely love the huge shutter doors on the art gallery!

    Thanks for this little insight into Medieval Riga.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Catherine, Riga has been through so much! I am surprised and in awe that they decided to put everything back together again! Kinda like Humpty Dumpty it all fell down! Many of the buildings were completely destroyed in WWII or was neglected during the Russian Occupation. I have seen in too many countries how Russia came in, depleted the country of its resources, failed to repair anything, just took, took ,took. Then they bring in Russian peasants and build concrete facilities/housing for way too many people. Your new Russia……….then they leave once the resources are gone and you are left with the cleanup and Russian people who really don’t want to live there. Well that is my rant of the day! Ha Ha! The Baltic countries are wary, but have moved on. They have the most beautiful cities!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great pictures. I went to Riga several times in the 2010s so thanks for the memory nudge.

    Like

  4. Makes me want to visit! I’m wondering what the city feels like, with its turbulent past. Are the different eras present in the present?

    Like

    1. I think most of the Latvian’s are trying to move on and they are definitely going in the right direction to bring in tourists!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Norm 2.0 says:

    Such a rich history and so much beautiful architecture; it seems like a fascinating place to visit.

    Like

  6. DrJunieper says:

    Music would fit so well in this neighborhood:) These shutter doors are amazing! An love that arched gate where people can go underneath! This is my kind of town – not a dull moment:) Amazing post!

    Like

  7. So much beauty. I like the shot with the sign, wall art, and vines, those gallery doors, and the church door. I mean I like them all, but those are favorites.

    janet

    Like

  8. slfinnell says:

    Village gossip? You mUst be speaking of my mother-in-law hehe

    Like

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