The Grotto of Our Lady of Ascension


The Grotto was built in 1944 by members of the US 895th Engineering Regiment with the first service therein on Easter Sunday of that year. Built to serve military personnel, the original chapel was constructed from lava rock and recycled army hut materials. While there was a stone wall surrounding the altar area sandbags were used for the outer walls and kneeling pads. The statue of Our Lady was imported from the United States. The Grotto remained in use until the US base closed in 1947. Continue reading “The Grotto of Our Lady of Ascension”

Nativity of Christ Orthodox Cathedral


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”

Church of Jesus


The octagonal Lutheran Church of Jesus, designed by architect H. F. Breitkreic and to the rear of the unmissable Latvian Academy of Sciences, was constructed in 1818 (renovated 1939) and, with its 37 metres high two tier tower, it is the largest wooden church in Riga and one of the largest wooden churches in Europe. Given its colour it is hard to tell that this is a wooden building until you are right up beside it. Continue reading “Church of Jesus”