Salaspils Concentration Camp Memorial

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“The earth moans beyond this gate’

These are the words inscribed on the face of the massive concrete structure  which serves as the gateway to the former Salaspils (Kurtenhof) concentration camp. Continue reading “Salaspils Concentration Camp Memorial”

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Nativity of Christ Orthodox Cathedral

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The brickwork and gilded cupolas make this neo-Byzantine Russian Orthodox Cathedral one of Riga’s most beautiful buildings and, unlike other churches in the City, while it has had a number of uses, it has not been rebuilt numerous times. That said, compared to the City’s medieval Christian churches this is a mere youngster of a building. Continue reading “Nativity of Christ Orthodox Cathedral”

Prince Michael Barclay de Tolly

141I came across this rather grand bronze statue when making my way back to the Old City from the must visit Corner House (former KGB Building).

Prince Michael Barclay de Tolly (1761-1818) was a Russian Field Marshal (in command of the 1st Army of the West, the largest of the Russian armies facing Napoleon) and Minister of War during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and during later campaigns of the Russian army in Europe. Continue reading “Prince Michael Barclay de Tolly”

The Corner House – Former KGB Building

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While the infamous Corner House (on the corner of Brivibas iela and Stabu iela – Lenin and Friedrich Engels Streets in Soviet times) ceased to be a place of terror and repression when Latvia gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 it was with some trepidation that I entered through the door on the corner of the building and picked up my ‘access pass’ from a counter just inside the entry. Continue reading “The Corner House – Former KGB Building”

Art Nouveau in Riga

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In various others of my Riga reviews I have referred to, or drawn the reader’s attention to, examples of Art Nouveau in the Old City and, to a letter degree, in the Moscow District. Nice as those are, no visit to Riga would be complete without a visit to the heart of Art Nouveau in in the city, the area to the northeast of Kronvalda Park and in particular Elizabetes iela and Alberta iela – though do not limit your exploring to just those two streets. Continue reading “Art Nouveau in Riga”

Memorial in the Wall – Separating and Uniting

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As you make your way to or from Elizabetes iela and streets around it to admire Riga’s beautiful Art Nouveau buildings, as you must, make sure you at least visit the northern part of Kronvalda Park for a look at this rather unusual memorial, located, rather poignantly and deliberately, in front of the former Communist Party Central Committee building. Continue reading “Memorial in the Wall – Separating and Uniting”

Latvian National Opera

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The distinctly neo-classical building that is now the Latvian National Opera and home to the Latvian National Opera and Ballet was designed by St Petersburg architect Ludwig Bohnstedt and built in 1863 as the Riga German Theatre, a German language theatre. A Russian language theatre, the Latvian National Theatre opened in 1902. At this time Latvia was part of the Russian Empire and German traders predominated in the business and financial life of the city, hence the need for Russian and German theatres. Continue reading “Latvian National Opera”