The volume ‘The Heritage of Religious Architecture and Art in Riga’ continues the Neputns series on Latvia’s cultural heritage that began with the book ‘The Heritage of Religious Architecture and Art in Daugavpils District’ (R. Kaminska and A. Bistere, 2006). This series of books provides an overview of the building history and trends of development of the places of worship of all the religious denominations in Latvia. Each volume is devoted to a particular region or city and is intended for a wide readership.
This book, on the religious heritage of Riga, brings together descriptions of 60 places of worship, monasteries and complexes of such buildings in Riga. The text is supplemented with graphic material (plans, designs and survey drawings relating to churches, historical images, photographs of works of religious art, etc.).
The sites are arranged in accordance with the administrative division of the city (the districts of Riga) and the chronological order of construction.
The churches of Riga constitute that element of national culture which manifestly connects our country with the long traditions of building – mainly Christian – of Western Europe and the East. Preserved through the ages, they constitute an expression of the lofty achievement of the religious culture characteristic of the region. Particularly extensive is the material presented on the Catholic and Lutheran churches, even though many of these, located in what were once the outskirts of the city – Jaunciems, Bolderāja, Sarkandaugava, Vecmīlgrāvis and Iļģuciems – will be less familiar to the majority of readers. The material presented in this book on the Orthodox and Old Believer churches of Riga shows that they have a significant place within the overall history of the city’s architecture. Also considered is the architecture and art of the ‘New Christian’ places of worship – those of the Baptists, Methodists and Seventh Day Adventists. The dramatic history of Riga’s synagogues in the 20th century testifies to the destruction suffered by the capital’s cultural landscape. There are also descriptions of once-splendid churches in Riga that have been destroyed.