Livu Laukums – Full of Colour


Through the Middle Ages and into the modern era German traders and merchants, via the Hanseatic League, were generous to Riga and indeed were instrumental in the building and prosperity of the city for centuries. During World War II the German Luftwaffe was equally generous when it came to dropping bombs on the city and destroying many of its historic buildings. Some of these bombs demolished buildings in the area that was subsequently cleared to create what became Livu Laukums (Square). Continue reading “Livu Laukums – Full of Colour”

Ask not for whom the bell tolls -St Jacob’s


The earliest reference to The Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of Saint James the Greater, more commonly referred to as St James’ or St Jacob’s, is 1225 though it was probably built a bit earlier than this, being one of the four churches established by Bishop Albert who is credited with founding Riga in 1201. Continue reading “Ask not for whom the bell tolls -St Jacob’s”

Riga Cathedral And Cloisters


The generally acknowledged founder of Riga, Bishop Albert, laid the foundation stone for Riga Cathedral (originally St Mary’s) on 25 July 1211.

Today’s cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church and the largest medieval church in the Baltics dominates the Doma Laukums (square), in the centre of the Old City. Continue reading “Riga Cathedral And Cloisters”

From Soviet Union to European Union


In 1991 Latvia shook off the shackles of the Soviet Union, ending 51 years of forced occupation and rule of the country by Nazi Germany (1941-44) and the Soviet Union (1940-41 and 1944 -1991).

In 2003 the people of Latvia (or 73% of them) turned out at polling stations to take part in a referendum on joining the European Union. Opponents of membership argued that Latvia should not give up the sovereignty it had so recently gained from the Soviet Union while supporters, among other arguments, put forward to view that membership would actually protect Latvia from any future Russian pressure. Continue reading “From Soviet Union to European Union”

Peter I Was Here – And Still Is, Secretly!


1940 was not the first time that Latvia played enforced host to the Russian/ Soviet bear. In 1710 Russia, under Tsar Peter I (Peter the Great), defeated Sweden in the Great Northern War and took control of both Latvia and Estonia from Sweden. Peter is reputed to have personally launched the first shells in the siege of Riga, in November 1709. Russia held Latvia for over two hundred years, until WWI. Continue reading “Peter I Was Here – And Still Is, Secretly!”

Indian Raja: “Unexpected Quality”


Despite my love for Indian food, in recent times my constitution has become such that I tend to steer clear of this cuisine. As I suspect my reader is not that terribly interested in my internal functionings I won’t provide further detail here.

In Riga, of all places, I got a craving for some Indian food and no, I didn’t live to rue the day so this review does not conclude with me sitting on the toilet! Continue reading “Indian Raja: “Unexpected Quality””