Riga – St Peter’s church

History

   The first mention of the church of St. Peter comes from 1209. In the Middle Ages, it was one of the main temples of Riga townspeople, and there was also beside it one of the oldest schools in the city. In the 13th century, the main central part of the building was completed. The second construction period was in the years 1408-1409, when the building master Johannes Rumeschottel from Rostock supervised the construction of the chancel, modeled after the St Mary church in Rostock. The work was coming to an end in 1409, but because of the Teutonic Order war with the Polish-Lithuanian state, the chancel was finally completed and put into use only in 1419. The next works were interrupted by the plague in 1420 and resumed in the 30s of the 15th century.
  
The 13th-century church nave was rebuilt in the years 1456-1466 to adapt it to the newly created presbytery. Both constructions were merged in 1470, creating a large basilica. In 1491, a 136-meter octagonal spire was added to the tower, which together with the front façade of the church, dominated the city. The tower collapsed in 1666, destroying the neighboring building and burying eight people in ruins. The new crowning of the tower was erected a year later.
  
The period of baroque reconstruction took place in the years 1671-1690, during which among other the west facade and the tower was transformed. However, the newly renovated building was burnt during the fire of 1721 and again during the Second World War in 1941. Securing the building and renovation began in 1954 and then continued in 1967-1983.

Architecture

   Church of St. Peter in its mature, late medieval form was a basilica with a polygonal chancel and ambulatory. The west façade was crowned with a tower with a tall, 136-meter octagonal spire. The nave of the building and the chancel were fastened from the outside by numerous, two-stepped buttresses, and pierced by large, pointed-arch windows. The interior of the church is decorated with stellar vaults.

Current state

   Currently, the gothic look of the chancel with the ambulatory and the nave of the temple has been preserved. Noteworthy is also the raw interior of the church with stellar vaults. The west façade and the tower have a restored appearance from the times of the baroque reconstruction of the 17th century.

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