St Peter's Church
Built in 1695 as the home of a wealthy German glazier, this sparsely furnished house offers an insight into everyday life for Rīga's...
Museum of Decorative Arts & Design
The former St George’s Church houses a museum devoted to applied art from the art nouveau period to the present, including an impressive...
St John’s Church
A 13th- to 19th-century amalgam of Gothic and baroque styles, it was first mentioned when the citizens installed catapults on its roof...
Tables spill out onto the square at this upmarket but relaxed restaurant facing the rear of St Peter's Church. The bistro-style menu...
Skārņu iela 19 · interesting places nearby
St Peter's Church information
Forming the centrepiece of Rīga’s skyline, this Gothic church is thought to be around 800 years old, making it one of the oldest medieval buildings in the Baltic. Its soaring red-brick interior is relatively unadorned, except for heraldic shields mounted on the columns. A colourful contrast is provided by the art exhibitions staged in the side aisles. At the rear of the church, a lift whisks visitors to a viewing platform 72m up the steeple.
The church's austere Gothic outlook is softened by baroque sculptures, added in the 17th century, along with the spire that instantly became a signature element of Rīga's skyline. In 1721 the spire was destroyed in a blaze despite Russian emperor Peter I personally rushing to the scene to extinguish the fire. A legend says that when it was re-erected in 1746, builders threw glass from the top to see how long the spire would last; a greater number of shards meant a very long life. The glass ended up landing on a pile of straw and broke into just two pieces. The spire ended being destroyed again in WWII. When it was resurrected again, the ceremonial glass chucking was repeated, and this time it was a smash hit.