Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ, Riga

Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ, Riga

The Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ, also known as simply the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, is a Neo-Byzantine church designed by architect R.Phlug. The cathedral is considered to be the largest orthodox temple in the Baltic region and was erected with the blessing of Alexander II, the Tsar of Russia, between 1876 and 1883. The church features five domes with florid decorations on the exterior, while its interior is embellished with traditional icons, painted by Vasily Vereshchagin, and numerous gold plated items.

Two world wars had their toll on the building. During WWI, when Latvia was under the German occupation, the cathedral was converted into a Lutheran church. In 1918, it was given back to the Russians and, even though the local government wanted to impose Latvian as the main language for religious rituals, the cathedral’s masses were still held in Russian. During World War II, the cathedral was damaged both on the outside and inside, and in the 1960s it was closed down completely, transformed into a planetarium, with its interior refurbished and split into two levels. The upper floor held a scale model of the universe, while the lower was taken up by a conference hall and café.

In 1991, the cathedral was returned to its rightful owners, the Orthodox Russian Church. Since then there has been a profound restoration performed. Today, the building fully resembles the original 1883 look and is used for religious services again.

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Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ on Map

Sight Name: Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ
Sight Location: Riga, Latvia (See walking tours in Riga)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Riga, Latvia

Create Your Own Walk in Riga

Create Your Own Walk in Riga

Creating your own self-guided walk in Riga is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Art Nouveau Architecture Walk

Art Nouveau Architecture Walk

An architecture lover in general and that of Art Nouveau in particular will find plenty to look at in the quiet center of Riga. Jūgendstil (Latvian: Art Nouveau) architecture makes up roughly one third of all buildings in the heart of Latvia's capital. In fact, the city boasts the highest concentration of Art Nouveau structures anywhere in the world.

Constructed during a period of rapid...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
Historical Churches and Cathedrals

Historical Churches and Cathedrals

One great thing about Riga is that the majority of its religious sites are concentrated in the historic center. A variety of faiths found in the Latvian capital is fairly broad for such a small country and includes Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Lutheran, to mention but a few.

The 13th-century Riga Cathedral is perhaps the most significant house of prayer in the city. The imposing mix of...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Riga Old Town Walking Tour

Riga Old Town Walking Tour

The area that is home to present-day Riga has hosted inhabitants since the days of the Vikings. With a sheltered natural harbor nearby, the River Daugava made Riga a stop on the Vikings' Dvina-Dnieper trade route to Byzantium.

Trade allowed the area to flourish, and the Livs, a Finnic tribe, settled it. In the early Middle Ages, the town's economy revolved around fishing, trading, and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Traveler's Choice of 12 Uniquely Latvian Souvenirs from Riga

Traveler's Choice of 12 Uniquely Latvian Souvenirs from Riga

Reemerged after regaining independence in the early 1990s, Latvia is anxious to reveal its beauty to the outside world. The country's capital Riga is a good showroom for the country's cultural riches and traditions. Here's the list of the unique Latvian products to look for while in...