Petrikirche (Riga)

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Petrikirche and Mariendom
inner space

The St. Peter's Church (lett. Sveta Pētera baznīca ) is located in the center of Old Riga, Latvia , at the Pēterbaznīcas iela . St. Peter's Church was in the Middle Ages , the parish church of Riga . From an architectural point of view, it is a large, three-aisled basilica, built in the brick Gothic style .


middle Ages

Tower with clock, collapsed in 1941, rebuilt in 1973

The church was first mentioned in 1209 and served the community, consisting of Hanseatic merchants and the craft guilds, as a place of worship and meeting place. During the uprising of the townspeople against the Livonian Order in 1297, the building was used for a short time as an arms store and a watchtower. The oldest preserved components are in the high choir. This area was enlarged to 30 meters (central nave) between 1406 and 1409 according to the taste of the time. The modifications in the Gothic style were made by the Rostock master builder Johann Rumeschottel . He also added a wreath of five chapels around the choir to give the building stability. The Riga citizenship was in constant dispute with the Riga archbishops over the exercise of power in the city. This also had an impact on this church renovation; for political reasons, construction had to be stopped until 1456. The chancel could not be completed until 1473. In competition with the cathedral (seat of the archbishop), a much more magnificent church was to be built here. The further expansion of the Petrikirche was completed with the tower in 1491.

The Petrikirche since the Reformation

With the introduction of the Reformation in Riga, this strange competition for the most magnificent church in the city ended. Another renovation took place towards the end of the 17th century when the west facade and the portals were renewed in the baroque style. At the same time, the top of the church tower was renewed and increased to a total height of 64.5 meters. In the course of time, the tower was badly damaged three times: it collapsed in 1666, was rebuilt, but in 1677 a city fire destroyed this new building. Therefore, the west facade above the eaves level, including the octagonal tower storeys placed on it, no longer belongs to Gothic, but is stylistically somewhere between Renaissance , Mannerism and Baroque .

During the Second World War , the church was set on fire on June 29, 1941 by artillery fire, which burned it out and the tower collapsed again.

Reconstruction after the Second World War

The basilical ambulatory choir without buttresses has a “brother” at the Martinikerk in Groningen

Reconstruction began in 1973. An electric elevator was installed to take visitors to the second gallery of the tower at a height of 72 meters. Today the roof of the tower is made of iron to prevent further fires. The baroque spire resembles those of the Tilsit German Church , the Zwickau Church of St. Mary and the Hamburg Main Church of St. Katharinen .

In the new building, a tower clock was installed again at a height of 51 meters. It is similar to the previous work from 1746 and plays a Latvian folk tune every three hours .

The reconstruction of the baroque Kloosen organ from 1734 has been planned as a German-Latvian joint project since 2011 .


The tower rising up on the west side of the nave borders directly on Herrenstrasse ( Lat . Kungu iela ) and the adjoining Town Hall Square with the House of the Blackheads and the Riga Roland . The eastern side borders the Konventhof, one of the oldest buildings in Old Riga.


  • Tower height: 120.7 m (previously 130 m)
  • Total length: 78.8 m
  • Largest width: 34.9 m
  • Interior height of the central nave: about 30 m
  • Interior height of the aisles: 15 m


Each time it was rebuilt, a glass was thrown from the top of the tower. The number of shards into which the glass breaks is supposed to symbolize the centuries that the tower will stand. The second time it was rebuilt, the glass fell into a heap of straw and broke into only two pieces. During the last reconstruction in 1973, the glass disintegrated into innumerable pieces. It is therefore said that the Petri Church will stand for all eternity.


  • Pēteris Ārends: St. Peter's Church in Riga , Riga 1944.
  • Arthur Poelchau : Guide through the St. Petri Church in Riga , Riga 1901 ( digitized in the LNB ).
  • Jochen Könnecke, Vladislav Rubzov: Latvia . In: DuMont art travel guide . DuMont Reiseverlag, Ostfildern 2005, ISBN 3-7701-6386-9 , Riga, p. 77 .
  • Marianne Mehling (Ed.): Knaur's cultural guide in color . Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. Droemer Knaur, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-426-26608-3 , Riga, Kirchen, p. 129 .
  • Eva Gerberding, Ilze Gulēnz, Eva Kuhn: Baltic States. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia . In: DuMont art travel guide . DuMont Reiseverlag, Ostfildern 2005, ISBN 3-7701-3368-4 , Riga, p. 167 .
  • Baltic states. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia . In: Karl Baedeker (Ed.): Allianz Travel Guide Baedeker . Baltic states. Karl Baedeker-Verlag, Ostfildern 2005, ISBN 3-8297-1052-6 , Riga, p. 296 .

Web links

Commons : Petrikirche Riga  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ An organ for Riga , accessed July 1, 2017.

Coordinates: 56 ° 56 ′ 51 ″  N , 24 ° 6 ′ 33.6 ″  E