The House of the Blackheads located in old town Riga, Latvia was first built in the 14th century for The Brotherhood of the Blackheads, a guild for unmarried merchants, ship-owners, and foreigners in town. The building was bombed by the Germans in 1941 and demolished by the Communists in 1948. Only the cellar survived all the destruction. Reconstruction of the building took place between 1996 and 1999 and today it is an iconic orange Gothic building with an astronomical clock and sculptures of mythological characters; it serves as a museum and concert hall.
Saint Peter's Church in Riga was built in 1209 and enlarged in the 15th century. Its current tower was completed in 1746 and restored in 1973 when an elevator was installed. People can now view Riga from a height of about 72 m (236 ft).
A closer view of the Saint Peter's Church steeple in Riga.
A side view of Saint Peter's Church in Riga.
The bells in the foreground were originally cast in the 13th century but were remounted on the roof of the Riga City Council (Town Hall) building in the late 20th century. The modern carillon forms a striking contrast to the Town Hall's 18th century clock tower. The bells chime every hour on the hour.
Town Hall Square is the official center of Riga. Seen here is the Blackheads House as well as the spire of Saint Peter's Church.
This outdoor cafe is in Dome Square, the heart of old Riga. The square is named after the Riga Dome Cathedral situated next to it.
The Riga Freedom Statue is in a plaza in the center of Riga near the old town. It honors the soldiers killed in the Latvian War for Independence (1918-20). The monument, built in the early 1930's and unveiled in 1935, is 42 m (138 ft) high and is constructed of granite, travertine, and copper. At the top of the column is a copper figure of Liberty; the sculptures and bas-reliefs at the base depict Latvian culture and history. A Guard of Honor is present at all times.
Saint John's Church is a small chapel in Riga that dates back to the 13th century; it lies behind Saint Peter's Church.
Morning sunlight illuminates a clean swept alley way in Riga.
The Monument to the Red Riflemen, erected in Riga in 1970, honors the riflemen who aided the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent Russian Civil War (1918-1920). It is one of the few Soviet-era symbols still remaining in Riga. Some residents feel it should be taken down, but others support its remaining since it honors Latvians who fought in World War I.
Red dots mark the locations of fires burning in countries south and east of the Baltic Sea in this early April image. The scattered fires were probably set to clear land for agricultural purposes. The Scandinavian countries, Norway and Sweden, and Finland to the north of the Sea, are still blanketed in snow. From the left, the countries lining the Baltic on the south are Denmark, Germany, Poland, Russia (Kaliningrad), Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Russia. Belarus forms the lower right corner of the image. Photo courtesy of NASA.