European best destinations 2024 - Riga

Riga's Nativity of Christ Cathedral

The cathedral is the largest Orthodox church in Riga. After surviving the Soviet era as a planetarium, it has been restored and has once again become a sacred building where Orthodox services are held regularly.

The cathedral was inaugurated in 1884. The Neo-Byzantine style building was the most expensive edifice of that time in Riga, its interior was very luxurious and of high artistic quality. The cathedral was renowned for its outstanding collection of ancient icons, Byzantine-style frescoes with ancient Christian ornaments, as well as three iconostases painted by the brightest pedagogues of the St Petersburg Academy of Arts and the famous Russian painter Vasily Vereshchagin. 

The cathedral survived the Soviet era, when it housed a planetarium and a café. Its restoration began in the 1990s and it was reopened in 2000, once again becoming an iconic sacred building. The cathedral's central iconostasis consists of 33 icons painted in the tradition of the schools of Andrei Rublev and Theophanes the Greek. The church has also received back 12 of its former icons from the collections of the Latvian National Museum of Art and Rundāle Palace.


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