Arhitecture of Riga by Maksims Ter-Oganesovs
For a long time Riga was a Hanseatic city, with buildings of various styles, from medieval architecture of the old city to modern and modern architecture, side by side. It was one of the largest ports and one of the most important industrial, commercial and cultural centers in the Russian Empire. The historic center of the city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2014, Riga was chosen as one of the cultural capitals of Europe.
From 1150, Gotland merchants regularly visited the lower reaches of the Western Dvina (Düna in it) to the Riga River (in Riege), from which the name of the city originates. In the chronicles of Heinrich of Latvia, lake lacus Riga is mentioned, which is a natural harbor. In later times, this river was filled up, and now the place where it flowed, you can imagine only in the direction of some streets of the old part of the city. Missionary expeditions were repeatedly made to the future location of Riga, which, however, remained unsuccessful until the moment of the foundation of the fortress. In the last quarter of the XII. a significant number of German merchants rushed to Livonia, who mainly settled in the Zemgalese harbor in the lower reaches of the Lielupe River, about 50 km west of Riga, where the most important trading center was located.
By 1200, the pope issued a decree according to which the only authorized trading center established the mouth of the small river of Riga. After that, in 1201, the bishop Albert Buksgevden, who had arrived from Bremen, was allowed by the elder to build a stone church in the main city of Livs, which for the Germans was the beginning of Riga. Subsequently, the city became the main in Livonia. In the first decades of its existence, Riga developed with considerable speed. By 1211, through the efforts of the bishop, the Dome Cathedral was founded. In an effort to attract even more colonists from Germany (especially merchants), Albert made a special papal bull, giving indulgences to all immigrants. In 1225, an electoral office of the city vogt appeared in the city, which the bishop himself had previously corrected, and the Riga Council, which was probably established as early as 1222-1223, was mentioned for the first time. Here in 1257, the residence of the archbishops of Riga was moved from the Ikskyul castle, but trade became increasingly important for the city, and in 1282 Riga joined the Hanseatic League.