St Peter’s Church in Riga, was built before 1209 (the year it was first mentioned in the records). More building work was done in the 13th, 15th, and 17th centuries, but it was heavily damaged in a fire in 1721, and then again in artillery fire in 1941. Reconstruction was carried out after WW2 which finished in the 1990’s.
It costs money to have a looksie inside, where there was an interesting art exhibition as well as fancy church interiors. It also costs to head up to (near) the top for a great view over the old town and the river. For three of us it was a cool 27euro which seems a bit steep. It was also super cold and rainy when we were up there.
We headed across the bridge and over the Daugava River to the National Library of Latvia, which is housed in an odd looking building which seemed a lot more attractive on the architects sketch. It is known as Gaismas Pils or Castle of Light, the Library was founded in 1919 but construction didn’t start on this building until 2008. I was pleasantly surprised that you could just wander around like bumbling tourists.
They have a campaign called, A Special Book For A Special Bookshelf. People donated books that were personally meaningful to the Peoples Bookshelf (that’s it above). New donations will supplement the ones from 2014 when Riga became European Capital of Culture, when people formed a ‘chain of book lovers’ around the library.
Whilst in Riga, we popped into the Fashion Museum. It’s quite small, and cost about 7euro each. The exhibition on when we were there was ‘The Secrets of the East. Western Fashion and China’, that’s closing on Oct 16th. There was some Chinese fashion, and Chinese themed objects such as horoscopes and hexograms (to get your fortune). But the point of the exhibition was to explore the influence of Chinese fashion on Western culture, particularly in the early 20th century.
Apparently, in the 1930’s and 40’s a lot of people left Russia and emigrated to China (don’t you always forget that Russia is near Asia?). One of them was Aleksandra Gramolina who was a fashion designer in Shanghai before moving to Riga in the 1950’s to become director of the Riga Fashion House.
There were also a few examples of fashion gone crazy; an actress with a 17.7inch waist, x-raying childrens feet to get their shoe size, and (of course) Chinese foot binding.