Old St. Gertrude's Church

The splendid Eclectic and Neo-gothic-style Old St. Gertrude's Church is one of those rare churches in Riga which is located outside Old Town. A long time ago, it was on the very border of the city, beyond this in bygone days were only small huts, meadows, forests and roads. Today, Old St. Gertrude's Church belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and concerts are also held here.

During the Middle Ages, St. Gertrude's (626-659) name, who is regarded as the patron saint of travellers, was given to those churches which were located outside city walls. At that time, Old St. Gertrude's Church was also on the other side of Riga wall. The name of the church was first mentioned in early 15th century, when the Archbishop tried to influence the Riga City Council and put a curse on them. His statement was publicly nailed on the door of St. Gertrude's Church. The curse was taken off by Pope in 1477. In order to mark this event, a vessel of chrism was first put on the altar of the church and later taken through the city in a ceremonial parade. During many centuries, where wars and ruling forces followed one after another, the building was destroyed and rebuilt seven times. The last reconstruction took place in 1894, when the cross was set on the top of the church. From 1767 to 1769, Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744-1803), famous poet and scientist from Weimar (Germany), served as a clergyman in Riga's St. Gertrude's Church; and now one of the squares in Old Town Riga bears his name. On 17 May 1769, Herder spoke to the parish for the last tame, and his address is now included in his complete works. New St. Gertrude's Church was built a short distance from the old one at the beginning of the 20th century. The new construction is regarded as one of the last Eclecticism-style buildings erected in Riga. Since then, the name of St. Gertrude's Church was supplemented by 'Old'. Old St. Gertrude's Church is a great example of Eclecticism style in Riga, with some Neo-gothic elements - portals, eaves, belfry ornamentation.

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