Powder Tower

Powder Tower

Powder Tower

Powder TowerThe Powder Tower is the only fragment of the defense system of Riga that has survived to this day. The first written records of this tower are found in the annals of 1330. Especially for the master of the Livonian Order, a hole was made in the fortress wall of Riga with a cannonball through which he entered the conquered city. After the conquest of Riga by members of the order, it was decided to reconstruct and strengthen the city’s fortification system. So, according to one version, the famous tower appeared. However, there is another theory that states that the tower was built at the end of the 13th century, that is, before the conquest of Riga by the Order.

According to available archival data, the tower initially had the shape of a horseshoe, and only by the middle of the 14th century found its current, cylindrical shape. The system of fortifications of the city consisted of 28 towers, which at different periods of history were rebuilt and received different names.

In one of the periods, the Sand Tower was also rebuilt, it was turned into a six-story building and between the upper floors a so-called pantry was designed to catch enemy cores. The master of the Livonian Order was the inspiration for the reconstruction. However, already in 1621 the tower was destroyed as a result of hostilities during the Swedish-Polish war. However, the fortification system was reconstructed, and the tower returned to life again. There is a version that after these military operations she got her current name and began to be called Porokhova. However, again, this is only a theory.

According to the second version, the tower got its name in times of peace, when it was adapted for a warehouse in which gunpowder was stored. However, this version is not convincing. There are also several opinions regarding the nuclei embedded in the wall of the tower. One of them says that all these nuclei are an echo of the numerous sieges of the city by Russian troops. And the second theory says that these nuclei appeared only after the reconstruction of the 30s of the 20th century. According to this version, the cores were specially embedded in the walls of the tower by restorers.

During the years of the Russian Empire, the tower turned out to be unclaimed, and by the middle of the 19th century the question arose about the liquidation of all fortifications, since they limited the city and did not give it the possibility of territorial growth. And already in 1856, a plan for the reconstruction of the city was adopted, according to which all the fortifications were to be demolished. However, this time the Powder Tower was pardoned, however, they did not find the destination and it was empty for another 30 years.

Since 1892, a new round of history begins for the tower. Now it belongs to students who made repairs at their own expense and equipped a beer hall and several dance halls in the tower. Beer is notorious for having nationalistic ideas voiced in it. The very name of the tower can be connected with the formation of Nazism, because at different times such ideological inspirers of the movement of brown shirts as M.E. Scheibner-Richter and Arno Shikedants appeared in it. The tower performed its new function until 1916. Only with the outbreak of World War I, students were forced to leave their homes.

The tower of the Museum of Latvian Riflemen opens, and then the Military Museum replaces it. In 1938, the Powder Tower survived another restoration and finally acquired a modern look. However, with the establishment of the USSR regime, changes again took place in the tower, and a naval school named after Nakhimov was opened in it. And in 1957 a museum was reopened in the tower, this time the Museum of the October Revolution. In 1991, the authorities changed, and the Military Museum again operates in the tower. This museum operates today, its exposition is rich in a variety of exhibits telling about the history of the country.

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