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Town Hall (Ratslaukums) description and photo - Latvia: Riga. Detailed information about the attraction. Description, photographs and a map showing the nearest significant objects. The name in English is Ratslaukums.
Photo and description
Looking at the Riga City Hall, one gets the feeling that it has always stood in this place, but it is not so. The first building of the Town Hall took its place where the laboratory buildings of the RTU now rise. They were built in the 60s of the 20th century. When in the 1990s they started talking about the restoration of the Town Hall, they had to build it on a new, and not on its historical place.
According to historical chronicles, the first Town Hall building was located at the intersection of two streets: Tirgonu (Torgovaya) and Shkyunu ( Sarainaya). The townspeople were able to win the right to have a city government by force after 1225. In those years, those who were dissatisfied with the authority of Bishop Albert von Buxgewden rebelled. A year later, in 1226, Riga managed to defend the rights of the city and the opportunity to conduct an independent policy. This circumstance led to the creation of the city council (rata), as well as the construction of a building for it. The constructed residence of the Town Hall was located at the so-called large gates, which were the central entrance to Riga.
It is believed that the first building of the Town Hall was destroyed as a result of the battle unleashed by the Order, when the Order's troops lost Riga as a result of the popular uprising in 1297 year. Although in 1330 the Order managed to conquer Riga. The new building, mentioned in written sources from 1334, was built to replace the old one in the Riga market square.
It is assumed that the second building of the Town Hall was built in the Gothic style, with a high gable roof. There were 6 rooms in total. Rooms on the ground floor were rented out for retail space. Every year, on the eve of the national holiday - St. Michael's Day, when mass festivities took place, the heralds from the balcony of the Town Hall read out new decrees and decrees, including changes in the field of tax collections, as well as monopolies on the production of any product (for example, beer). The speeches of the heralds were later called burgher speeches. After 175, a musician was invited to the balcony of the Town Hall, who “sounded” the melody of each new hour.
The second building of the Town Hall was badly damaged during the siege of the city by the troops of Peter I in 1709-1710. The decision to demolish the building was made only in the middle of the 18th century. At the same time, the design and construction of a new building began, already the third in a row, its construction lasted 15 years due to the fact that the government allocated funds for the construction of the new Town Hall periodically.
The third building of the Town Hall was built in the style of early classicism, the tower had baroque forms, the building itself was framed by a columnar portico of the Tuscan order. In 1791, the attic was built.
Reconstruction of the building began in 1848, the work was supervised by the young architect I.D. Felsko. Felsko worked on the improvement of the existing building for 2 years, the third floor was added.
In 1877, as a result of the reforms of the city government, the Riga City Council was abolished. The main library of Riga is located in the building of the Town Hall. In addition to her, the bank and the city orphan's court were located here. This was the case until the Second World War. In the summer of 1941, the building of the former City Hall came under crushing fire, at the same time there was a big fire, in which many buildings, including the Town Hall, burned down.
The ruins were not touched for several years. Only after 1954, according to the decision of the Riga City Executive Committee, they were dismantled. And on the site of the Town Hall in the middle of the 50s of the 20th century, new buildings of the University of Riga began to be built. Some fragments of the City Hall were miraculously preserved to this day: sculptural fragments of the pediment, sculpture of Themis.
The design of the new building of the City Hall began in the late 1990s. The project was completed only by 2000. The new town hall building was opened in November 2003. The new building is a replica of a historic building, which, however, is judged differently by architects and designers. Today this building houses the Riga City Council.
Topic: Town Hall (Ratslaukums) description and photos - Latvia: Riga.