Saint Peter's Church, Riga

Saint Peter's Church, Riga (must see)

You can trace the history of this beautiful church back to 1209. Having such a long story to tell, it's not surprising that the tales are traced to the building styles of various periods. The church has Gothic, Romanesque, and Baroque elements.

Little remains of the original Gothic construction. Only the central section of the church, including the outer nave walls and a few pillars, remain from those early years.

The second construction period was overseen by master builder Johannes Rumeschottel from Germany. This was in 1409, but work was interrupted by wars and the plague. Nevertheless, by the late 15th century, the church had a mighty basilica with three aisles and vaulted ceilings. It also sported a new bell tower, 136 meters (446 feet) tall, with a steeple.

The final construction period occurred in the late 1600s when the western facade and new bell tower were built after a devastating fire in the city. Many of the furnishings and the vaulted ceiling were refurbished as well. When finished, the new tower and steeple was the tallest wooden structure in Europe.

The church was reconstructed after artillery fire destroyed it during World War II. The bronze candelabrum--a standing lantern--was taken from the church to Wloclawek, Poland. It was displayed there until 2012 when it was returned to Riga.

The steeple was completed in 1970, and the clock tower in the early 1970s. The rooster atop the steeple weighs 158 kilograms and includes 140 grams of gold plating. The bell plays the Latvian folk melody "Riga Resounds" five times a day, and the bell chimes hourly. There is an elevator that takes guests up the tower, where you can take in the view of Riga from a height of 72 meters (236 feet).

Today, the church is owned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia. Services resumed here in 1991. In addition to the view from the tower's top, strolling through the art collection and seeing the beautiful nave are must-dos in Riga.

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 Peter's Church on Map

Sight Name: Saint Peter's Church
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.
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
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
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

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...