Saint James Cathedral, Riga

Saint James Cathedral, Riga

Located in the old part of Riga, on Klostera Street, Saint James' Cathedral (or Saint Jacob's Cathedral) is one of the oldest catholic temples in Latvia. The first mention of the church dates back to 1225, although the building itself is believed to have been in place since 1210, when Bishop Albert requested three churches to be built to serve rural parishes. In 1522, it became a Lutheran church, the first one to hold a Lutheran sermon in Latvian, although in 1584 it was given back to the Jesuits.

In the following centuries the church had changed hands several times, serving consecutively the Swedish, Russian and even Estonian Lutheran communities. In 1812, it was even used as a storage depot by the French troops. In 1901, Saint James' altar (oldest in Riga), built in 1680, was replaced with a new one. Since 1923, the cathedral has been in Catholic possession.

The church represents a mixture of Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles and is made of red brick and limestone. Art Nouveau motifs are also present in the decoration. The three floor Gothic tower is the only church tower left in Riga that has a spire. The cathedral forms part of the old Riga UNESCO world heritage site.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Riga. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Saint James Cathedral on Map

Sight Name: Saint James Cathedral
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

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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...