Riga City Hall
City Hall in Riga is one of the attractions of Riga. Looking at the Riga Town Hall, one gets the feeling that she always stood in this place, but this is not so. The first building of the Town Hall took its place where the laboratory buildings of the RTU now rise. They were erected in the 60s of the 20th century. When in the 1990s they started talking about rebuilding the Town Hall, it was necessary to erect in a new, not in its historical place.
According to historical chronicles, the first building of the City Hall was located at the crossroads of two streets: Tirgonyu (Torgovoy) and Shkunyu (Sarajnoy). The townspeople were able to forcefully gain the right to have a city government after 1225. In those years, those who were dissatisfied with the authority of Bishop Albert von Buxgevden revolted. A year later, in 1226, Riga managed to defend the rights of the city and the opportunity to pursue an independent policy. This circumstance entailed the creation of the city council, as well as the construction of a building for him. The constructed City Hall was located at the so-called large gates, which were the central entrance to Riga.
The first building of Riga City Hall
It is believed that the first building of the Town Hall was destroyed as a result of the battle unleashed by the Order, when Order troops lost Riga as a result of a popular uprising in 1297. Although in 1330 the Order was able to conquer Riga. The new building, which is mentioned in written sources in 1334, was built to replace the old one on the Riga market square.
The second building of Riga City Hall
It is assumed that the second building of the Riga City Hall was built in the Gothic style, the roof was high gable. There were 6 rooms in total. The rooms on the ground floor were rented out as retail space. Every year, on the eve of the national holiday – St. Michael’s Day, when mass festivities took place, the herald from the balcony of the Town Hall read new decrees and decrees, including changes in the field of tax fees, as well as monopolies for the production of any goods (for example, beer). Speeches of heralds later received the name of burgher speeches. After 175, a musician was invited to the Town Hall balcony, who “voiced” the onset of each new hour with a melody.
The second building of the Town Hall suffered severe damage during the siege of the city by the troops of Peter I in 1709-1710. The decision to demolish the building was made only in the middle of the 18th century. At the same time, the design and construction of a new building, the third in a row, began, its construction lasted 15 years due to the fact that the government allocated funds for the construction of the new Town Hall periodically.
The third building of Riga City Hall
The third building of the Town Hall was built in the style of early classicism, the tower had baroque forms, the building itself was framed by a columned portico of the Tuscan order. In 1791, the attic was built.
The reconstruction of the City Hall building began in 1848, the young architect I.D. Felsko supervised the work. Felsko worked on improving the existing building for 2 years, the third floor was built on.
In 1877, as a result of city government reforms, the Riga Council (City Council) was abolished. The main city library of Riga is located in the Town Hall building. In addition to her, there was a bank and an orphan city court. That was until the Second World War. In the summer of 1941, the Former Town Hall building came under crushing fire, at the same time there was a big fire in which many buildings, including the Town Hall, were burned down.
The ruins of the City Hall did not touch for several years. Only after 1954, according to the decision of the Riga City Executive Committee, were they dismantled. And in the middle of the 50s of the 20th century, new buildings of the University of Riga began to be built on the site of the Town Hall. Some fragments of the Town Hall were miraculously preserved to this day: sculptural fragments of the pediment, sculpture of Themis.
Designing a new building City Hall began in the late 1990s. It was possible to implement the project only by the year 2000. The new town hall building was opened in November 2003. The new building is a copy of the historic building, which, however, is evaluated differently by architects and designers. Today, the Riga City Council is located in this building.