RIGA/European Capital of CultureD/E/I/


P1050985Ich muss zugeben, dass ich unsere Baltikumreise vor allem wegen Riga, Lettlands Hauptstadt und Europäische Kulturhauptstadt 2014 und ihren wunderschönen Häusern machen wollte. Ich bin dann auch tatsächlich nicht enttäuscht worden von dieser Stadt, obwohl der erste Eindruck, als wir durch die Vorstadt fuhren, nicht sehr positiv war.

I have to admit that I wanted to visit the Baltic countries, above all, because of Riga, capital city of Latvia and its gorgeous houses. I haven’t in the least been disappointed, despite the fact that the first impact was not very positive when driving across the suburb.

For those who just want to listen to my summary in ENGLISH:

Devo ammettere che ho voluto visitare il Baltico soprattutto per via di Riga, la capitale della Lettonia e città culturale europea 2014, con le sue superbe case. Infatti, non sono stata delusa di questa città anche se la prima impressione, viaggiando attraversando la periferia, non è stata positiva.

Riga war schon immer eine Hansestadt und erfolgreich, weil sie an den wichtigen Handelsrouten zwischen Ost und West lag. Im Mittelalter fanden hier auf dem Rathausplatz alle wichtigen Anlässe, wie Prozessionen, Wettkämpfe oder Tanzanlässe statt.

Riga has been a successful Hanseatic city right from the beginning, because it was at the crossroads of an important trade route between East and West. In the middle ages all the important events, such as processions, tournaments or dancing took place on this square.

Riga è stata una città anseatica fin dall’inizio, perché era situata agli incroci commerciali importanti fra est e ovest. Nel medioevo tutti gli importanti eventi, come processioni, competizioni oppure feste di ballo avavano luogo sulla Piazza del Municipio.

P1050986Wenn man so auf dem Rathausplatz steht und das Schwarzhäupterhaus betrachtet, das zum ersten Mal im 14. Jahrhundert erwähnt wurde, dann ist das einfach ein atemberaubend schöner Moment. Hier traf sich im 19. Jahrhundert die Zunft unverheirateter deutscher Kaufleute, die zur grossen Gilde gehörte. Es gab aber auch die Kleine Gilde, in der die Rigaer Kaufleute zu Hause waren. Die beiden stellten die Gegenpole wirtschaftlicher Macht dar. Diese prachtvolle Renaissancefassade wurde zwar im 2. Weltkrieg zerstört, aber ab 1993 zum 800-jährigen Stadtjubiläum 2001 wieder rekonstruiert.

If you are standing on the Town Hall Square and more precisely in front of the House of The Brotherhood of Black Heads, mentioned for the first time in the 14th century, then it’s just a breathtakingly beautiful moment. It was the Great Guild of German merchants which built the house, met there until the 19th century and put Riga under its control. There was also a small Guild, where the merchants from Riga were at home. These two Guilds were in opposition to each other as far as the economic power was concerned. This gorgeous facade was destroyed during the second world war, but was rebuilt from 1993 onward for the 800 years city jubilee.

Se state in Piazza del Municipio e più precisamente di fronte alla Casa delle Teste Nere, menzionata per la prima volta nel 14esimo secolo, allora è un momento straordinario. Era la „Grande Gilda“ di commercianti tedeschi che ha costruito l’edificio ed è lì che si incontravano fino al 19esimo secolo e mettevano Riga sotto il loro controllo. C’era anche la „Gilda Piccola“, dove avevano la sede i commercianti della città di Riga. Queste due gilde sono state in opposizione per quanto attiene al potere economico. Questa costruzione di stile gotico con facciata rinascimentale, assolutamente splendida, con orologio astronomico, stemmi di diverse città anseatiche e rappresentazioni allegoriche è stata distrutta durante la seconda guerra mondiale, ma veniva ricostruita a partire dal 1993 per il giubileo degli 800 anni della città.

Rechts ist der Schuthpatron, der Hl. Mauritius zu sehen

Rechts ist der Schutzpatron der “Compagnie der Schwarzen Hàupter”,  der Hl. Mauritius zu sehen

Natürlich sind wir auch auf den Turm der Petrikirche gestiegen, die gleich dort ist und von wo wir einen herrlichen Blick auf die Stadt hatten. Anscheinend wurde sie 1209 erstmals erwähnt und ist im Laufe der Geschichte, aber vor allem während des 2. Weltkrieges, immer wieder zerstört worden. Sie wurde nun einer Totalrekonstruktion unterzogen wurde und der metallische Turm ist ca. 120 Meter hoch. Mir scheint sie heute, vor allem, eine Touristenattraktion geworden zu sein.

We naturally went up to the tower of St. Peter’s church, which is really right there and from where you have a great view onto the city. It seems that it was first mentioned in 1209 and has been destroyed various times in the course of history, but especially during the second world war. The church has now undergone reconstruction in its entirety and the new metallic steeple is about 123 metres high. I had, however, the impression that the church has especially turned into a tourist attraction.

Naturalmente siamo anche saliti sulla torre di San Pietro che si trova proprio lì e da dove si ha una vista eccezionale sulla città. Sembra che la stessa sia stata menzionata per la prima volta nel 1209 ed è stata distrutta diverse volte nel corso della storia. L’hanno ricostruita recentemente e la torre metallica è alta circa 120 metri. Mi sembra che oggi sia soprattutto un’attrazione turistica.

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Ganz in der Nähe befindet sich die eindrückliche Russisch-Orthodoxe Kirche. Sie heisst Geburt-Christi Kathedrale und wurde zwischen 1876 und 1883 im neo-byzantinischen Stil erbaut. Während des Ersten Weltkrieges unter deutscher Besetzung war die Kirche kurze Zeit lutherisch und dann wieder orthodox. Während der russischen Besetzungszeit wurde sie in einen Vortragssaal mit Planetarium umfunktioniert. Heute hat die wunderschön renovierte Kirche wieder ihre ursprüngliche Funktion.

In the very near surrounding there is the impressive Russian-Orthodox Nativity of Christ cathedral, which was built between 1876-1883 in the neo-byzantine stile and during the period when the country was part of the Russian Empire. During the First World War, when it was occupied by the Germans, it was for a short period turned into a Lutheran church and became afterwards again orthodox. During the period of occupation by the Soviets it became an auditorium with planetarium. Nowadays the beautifully reconstructed church has again its original function.

In vicinanza si trova anche la bellissima chiesa russo-ortodossa. Si chiama “La Natività di Gesù Cristo” ed è stata costruita fra 1876 e 1883 nello stile neo-bizantino. Durante la Prima Guerra Mondiale e l’occupazione tedesca, la chiesa venne per un breve periodo trasformata in una chiesa luterana, ma più tardi è diventata di nuovo ortodossa. Durante l’occupazione sovietica essa è stata trasformata in un auditorio con planetario. Oggigiorno la cattedrale ha di nuovo la funzione originale.

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Der Zufall wollte es, dass wir ausgerechnet am 23. August 2014 dort waren und so die eindrückliche 25 Jahr Feier seit der 650 Km langen Menschenkette durch das Baltikum miterleben konnten. Sie war damals ein Zeichen der Revolte gegen die sowjetische Unterdrückung, sowie natürlich als Erinnerung an den berühmten Nichtangriffspakt, der am 23. August 1939 vom sowjetischen Aussenminister Molotow und dem Reichsaussenminister Ribbentrop unterzeichnet wurde und die Aufteilung Osteuropas besiegelte. Es war recht ergreifend dort beim Freiheitsdenkmal zu stehen und die Ansprachen der Politiker und die Musik zusammen mit den vielen Einheimischen zu hören, die die schreckliche Zeit miterlebt hatten oder noch davon gezeichnet sind.

It was by mere chance that we were in Riga on the 23rd August 2014 and could therefore take part in the impressive 25 years celebration since the 650 kilometer long human chain across the Baltic countries had taken place. It was then a sign of revolt against the Soviet oppression and a reminder of the infamous non-aggression pact, which was signed on the 23rd August 1939 by the Soviet Foreign Minister Molotow and the Realm outer Minister Ribbentrop and which set a seal on the division of East Europe. It was quite touching to be at the peace monument and to listen to the speeches by the politicians and to the music together with many indigenous citizens, which had gone through that terrible period and are still signed by it.

Per caso siamo stati a Riga proprio il 23 di agosto 2014 quando ha avuto luogo la celebrazione importante die 25 anni dalla catena umana di una lunghezza di 650 chilometri attraverso i paesi baltici. Essa è allora stata un segno di protesta contro l’occupazione e oppressione sovietica, come naturalmente anche come ricordo al famoso patto di non aggressione del 23 agosto 1939 firmato dal ministro degli esteri sovietico Molotow e del ministro del regno Ribbentrop. Questo contratto ha deciso la divisione dell’Europa dell’Est. E’ stato commovente potere essere lì, vicino al monumento della pace ascoltando i discorsi  dei politici e la musica assieme ai cittadini del luogo, che hanno in parte vissuto quel periodo terribile e sono tuttora segnati.

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Ja, und dann haben wir natürlich die berühmten und ein bisschen extravaganten Jugendstilhäuser, vor allem von Michael Eisenstein, dem Sohn von Sergei Eisenstein, dem Filmemacher, gesehen und bewundert. Wenn man durch die Albert- und Elisabethstrassen geht hat man den Eindruck in einem öffentlichen Museum zu sein. Diese prachtvoll verzierten Häuser mit den Skulpturen mit Motiven aus der Antike, mit Tier- oder Frauenköpfen, Blumen oder einfach geschwungene Linien zeigen eine grosse kreative Freiheit. Weitere wichtige Architekten dieses Stils waren E. Laube oder P. Mandelstam. Natürlich haben wir dann auch noch das „geschlossene“ Museum besucht, wo wir so richtig in jene Zeit (1890-1910) versetzt wurden.

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Yes, and beyond this, we’ve of course seen and admired the famous and a little bit extravagant Art Nouveau houses, above all, by Michael Eisenstein, son of  the famous filmmaker, Sergei Eisenstein. When ambling along Albert-and Elisabeth iela you get the impression of being in a public museum. These gorgeously ornamented houses and sculptures with subjects from ancient cultures, with heads of animals or women, flowers or just simply nicely curved lines, show an enormous creative freedom. Other important architects of that period were E. Laube or P. Mandelstam. Afterwards we have, of course, also visited the closed museum of that period (1890-1910) where we have really been taken back to that time.

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Si, e poi abbiamo naturalmente visto le famosissime costruzioni, un po’stravaganti, in stile Art Nouveau, soprattutto di Michael Eisenstein, figlio di Sergei Eisenstein, il conosciutissimo produttore di film. Camminando lungo sia la iela (strada) di Alberto e Elisabetta si ha l’impressione di essere in un museo aperto. Questi edifici ornamentati con sculture e soggetti di culture antiche, con teste di animali o donne, fiori oppure semplicemente di linee armoniose fanno vedere una libertà creativa straordinaria. Altri importanti architetti di quel periodo sono stati E. Laube oppure P. Mandelstam. E’ stato un dovere visitare anche il museo chiuso riguardante il periodo 1890-1910, nel quale ci siamo veramente sentiti portati indietro nel tempo.

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Bei dieser Gelegenheit darf ich natürlich die berühmten Markthallen entlang dem Fluss Daugava nicht vergessen, die in alten Zeppelinhangars aus dem 1. Weltkrieg untergebracht sind und wo wir ein buntes Treiben beobachten konnten. Mir sind da Äpfel zum Verkauf aufgefallen, die nicht ganz ohne Flecken waren und ich sagte unserer Begleiterin, dass man bei uns solche Früchte wahrscheinlich nicht verkaufen könnte. Sie meinte ein Wurm im Apfel zeige doch, dass der Apfel gesund sei und mir ist in den Sinn gekommen, dass wir das früher auch sagten!! Es ist lange, sehr lange her. Das Angebot an Früchten, Fleisch, Fisch, Kleider oder Blumen ist enorm und die Waren sind anscheinend spottbillig. Es sind mir in der Tat, vor allem, ältere Frauen aufgefallen, die jeden Cent umdrehen müssen, bevor sie ihn ausgeben. Die Eltern von Daine sind mit 78 Jahren noch immer berufstätig, weil sie nicht arm sein wollen. Anscheinend muss man aber auch auf Diebe aufpassen, aber das ist ja überall so, nicht wahr!

P1060022While we are at it, I can’t let out the famous market pavilions on the banks of the river Daugava, set up in the old German Zeppelin hangars from the 1st World War and reusing them in this way. We could observe that the place was a busy hustle and bustle. At a certain moment I observed some apples that were not as spotless as they are in our country and could probably not be sold here and I said so to our guide. She answered that a worm in the apple shows that it is healthy and this sentence reminded me of my youth when we said the same thing!! It’s long, long time ago.

The offer of fruit, meat, fish, clothes or flowers was amazing and the goods seem to be sold at rock bottom prices. I have in fact observed many old ladies who obviously have difficulties in making ends meet. Daine told me that her parents are about 78 and still working because they don’t want to be poor. It seems that one has to be attentive of thieves but that’s the same everywhere, isn’t it!

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In quest’ occasione non posso non menzionare il mercato coperto lungo il fiume Daugava. Lo stesso ha luogo nei vecchi capannoni degli zeppelin usati durante la Prima Guerra Mondiale e dove abbiamo osservato un bel andar e vieni. Ho poi notato delle mele in vendita che non sono state completamente senza macchie e ho detto alla nostra guida che da noi sarebbe difficile venderle. Mi rispose che le sembrava un verme nella mela faceva vedere che il prodotto era santo. In quel momento mi sono resa conto che si diceva così anche da noi, tanti, tanti anni fa!!

L’offerta di frutta, carne, pesce, vestiti oppure fiori è in ogni caso enorme e i prezzi devono essere bassissimi. Ho, infatti, visto parecchie signore di una certa età che devono girare e rigirare ogni centesimo prima di spenderlo. I genitori di Daine hanno circa 78 anni e lavorano ancora, perché non vogliono essere poveri. Siamo stati avvisati di fare attenzione ai ladri, ma quello è un “MUST” ovunque, non è vero?

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Link to my post about the Curonian Spit/Kuhrische Nehrung/D/E/https://rivella49.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/amberlegendsthomas-mann1dei/

COPYRIGHT©2015 MARTINA RAMSAUER’S BLOG:rivella49.wordpress.com

8 replies »

  1. An extraordinary and detailed account of Riga. I have always been fascinated by the Hanseatic League. A few years ago I traveled to Lübeck – It was a short visit, but what an amazing part of the world!! Your posts are full of information – it is as if I were there with you.

    I have been away from blogging for a few weeks to travel with my husband and son to the Scottish Highlands. It is good to be back and catch up with your posts.🙂

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    • The Baltic countries and the people, their rich and also said history, the nature, the space and the way they respect and take care of buildingsthe past or have rebuilt them was really amazing to see. The people are always at work and I remember when I used to send coffee to Lithuania, because there was non, now there are most lovely restaurants all around.
      I really thank you very much for your encouraging words and I’m glad that you are back from beautiful Scotland. I’ve never been in the Higlands but years ago we went on a hiking tour in the region of Stirling, Bunnockburn and Edingburgh! Unfortunately, it took me a while to realize that you have now a new blog. I hope you will write to us also about Scotland:)
      Very best regards from Ticino
      PS. I don’t no Lübeck either but Dresden and surrounding and just fell in love with the city. I can also recommend you Slovacchia, if you love these kind of towns.

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    • I am sorry to disturb you again but I think I made a mistake when I mentioned Dresden, thinking about the important buildings, while you were, of course, referring to Lübeck because it was the capital of the Hanseatic League. I therefore just add that I was fascinated by Hamburg which was also a very successful Hanseatic city.
      Have a good day.:)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Liebe Martina, mit Deinen schönen Fotos machst Du mich schon wieder ganz unruhig. So lange schon stehen die baltischen Staaten auf meiner Liste der Urlaubsländer und ich habe es noch nie geschafft. Lieben Gruß, Peggy

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