Saint Peter Church in Riga

The spire of St. Peter`s Church towers above Riga and made the view of the city recognizable. It is just this church that commands the most beautiful view of the Old Town of Riga. St. Peter`s Church isn’t only one of the most beautiful but also the oldest remaining building of Riga.

Riga was founded in 1201 and the building of St. Peter`s Church was started in 1209, two years before the construction of the Dome (Riga) Cathedral. It should be noted that St. Peter`s Church was built for people`s money, unlike the Dome Cathedral, which was a personification of state power.

After St. Peter`s Church had been finished, its spire reached the height of 124 meters. It was and still is the tallest church in Riga. In the Middle Ages the height of the spires of St. Peter`s Church was inferior only to that of St. Olaf`s Church (Oleviste) Church in Tallinn. Its spire of 159 m was the tallest in the world. But because of often fires caused by lightning they were forced to shorten the spire of the Oleviste Church, and today its height is 124 meters, the same as St. Peter`s Church.

There are 2 viewing platforms on the tower of St. Peter`s Church – of 57 and 71 m. The wooden tower of the church was often rebuilt because of fires. The last fire occurred after a bombing in 1941. After the last war the spire of the church was completely restored and made of iron. Fortunately, the architects spared the tourists and they needn’t ascend the spire on foot. The lift takes them onto the lower platform of the church.

The viewing platforms of St. Peter`s Church command a magnificent view of the Old Town. From them you can see the Dome Cathedral, the district of storage-houses and granaries, Livu Square, the House of the Blackheads and many other wonderful places of Riga.

By all means should you see the inside of the church, with its interiors, exhibitions of handicraft and what remained of the church after the bombing, including the cock, which was put atop the spire of St. Peter`s Church after the reconstruction was finished.