Don’t forget to cross the street when you visit the more famous Nativity of Christ Orthodox Cathedral and have a look at this lovely church – another older Orthodox church.
You will certainly have to cross the street and get up very close to St. Alexander Nevsky’s to realise that this is another of Riga’s wooden churches. In various of my reviews on this blog I have indicated that up until the middle of the 19th century it was forbidden to build any masonry building outside the City walls. This rule was in place such that if would be invaders attacked the city, as they did in 1812 for example, buildings outside the City walls could be easily razed to the ground denying the invaders access to shelter.
Construction of St. Alexander Nevsky’s started in 1820 and was completed in 1825. The square shaped belfry to the rear of the main church building was added in 1862. While the designer is not known for certain, the church was built in celebration of Napoleon’s 1815 defeat.
St. Alexander Nevsky’s is named after the 13th century Russian prince who was canonised by the Russsian Orthodox Church in 1547 for his efforts in defeating the Teutonic Knights at Lake Peipus (in Estonia) in 1242, thus preserving Orthodoxy in Russia.
Like the somewhat larger Church of Christ in the northern part of the Moscow District, this church is circular in shape (ok, the Church of Christ is octagonal on the outside and circular on the inside) with a roof supported by stunning classical style wooden columns. Being Orthodox, as opposed to Lutheran like the Church of Christ, St. Alexander Nevsky’s has a much more elaborately decorated interior – well endowed with an ornate iconostasis, frescos and other artwork typical of Orthodox churches generally. Unusually though for an orthodox church, the central alter is in the centre of the building.
Externally the bright yellow walls and green dome and roof make the church a real standout in the area.
Address: Brīvības iela 56