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  22. Ensemble of the Dome Cathedral and monastery  

          Behind the fortifications built in 1211, which were located along the lowlands in the area of the present Jauniela up to the Daugava, in the 13th century the suburb of Riga or the so-called new city (civitas nova) began forming. In 1211 Bishop Albert allocated a plot to Riga Dome chapter of priests for building of a new Dome Cathedral and a monastery here. Building continued throughout the 13th century because the wishes and needs of the clients and conception of the church’s stylistic structure kept changing. In later centuries the grand building was rebuilt and enlarged several times (for the last time - in the beginning of the 20th century).
           Riga Dome is particularly remarkable for the fact that it is the only cathedral-type church and monastery complex in the Baltics. The older Romanic part of the church is its chancel and partly also a cross-nave, which originally were built with chiselled dolomite stone but later bricks of large size were used. The parish room of the church was formed according to different structure principles. It is possible that in the second half of the 13th century the church was finished in a pseudo-basilican solution (i.e. with middle-nave rising but without upper lighting), while the present basilican formation of the middle-nave appeared in the second half of the 15th century. Specialists see the North gantry of the church of the 13th century as the most outstanding gantry of Gothic style in the Baltics.
          Riga Dome is outstanding not only for its ancient atmosphere and grand size, but also for many unique art pieces in its interior. Grave plaques placed in the church (14th – 17th centuries), epitaphs (17th – 18th centuries), pulpits (1641) and artistic decoration of organ flat (1601, 1681, 1773), paintings (17th – 18th centuries) and stained glasses (1883) give versatile insight into the history of Latvia’s painting, sculpture and applied art during several centuries. The organ built by “E.F. Walker & Co was made in 1883 - 1884 and restored in Holland by the organ-manufacturing company “Flentrop - Orgelbou B.v. – Zaandam” (in 1981 – 1984). This organ was once the largest in the world.
          The eastern block of the monastery complex has been preserved best of all with its hall of sacristy and chapter of priests, and cloister testifying to the close relations of the creators with Western Europe. Other blocks were rebuilt considerably in the 18th 19th centuries and the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, the oldest museum in Latvia, is located in them. It began in 1773 on the basis of a collection collected and donated to the city by Nikolajs Himzelis, a doctor from Riga.
          From 1211 till the end of the 19th century (with interruptions) there was the Riga Dome School, where Johan Gotfrid Herder (1744 – 1803), a great German writer and philosopher, worked from 1764 – 1769. There is a small square in the front of the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation where in 1864 Herder’s bust was erected, the first monument to a cultural worker in Riga. The bronze sculpture is a moulding of the upper part of Herder’s monument in Weimar modelled by L. Saller.


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