Ye Olde City Wall

Ancient wall near St. John's church
Original part of wall
Sections of the original walls of Old Riga can be seen in different areas yet today. In the picture at the left you can see that the 1.5 meter thick walls were quite tall with a covered walkway on the top for the people who defended the city. Of course, this section of the wall was reconstructed after many years of use, but some of the stones are original.

Map of Old Riga from 1600s showing the wall
Riga was started around 1200 with the beginning fortifications built within a hundred years. Through the years, the walls were expanded or reinforced to keep the city safe from invaders. By the beginning of the 19th century, the walls were no longer necessary because of modern armaments, but sections still remain in the city today.

On a walk through Old Riga, you will be able to discover the different pieces of the remaining wall found in the city.

Powder Tower
Besides the section shown above, the largest section of the wall includes the Powder Tower, originally built in 1330 and destroyed in 1621. It is the last remaining tower of the wall in Riga. The walls of this tower are 2.5 meters thick because it held the gunpowder stores. It was destroyed by the Swedish forces as they fought to take over the city. It was built close to the original entrance of the city from the land side.

Cannon near the wall

See the thickness of the wall
Very near the Powder Tower is the cannon on display near a long section of the wall.

Section still in existence today

The longest section still standing today was reconstructed during the Communist era. It includes a small observation tower along the length. The cannon is set near this section.

Swedish Gate

 The Swedish Gate, built in 1698, was so named to celebrate the occupation of Riga by Sweden. The apartment above the tower was occupied by the city executioner. He would put a red rose on the ledge of the window on the morning when an execution was scheduled.

Above the Swedish Gate

I didn't see a red rose on the day I walked past it.

Information taken from Riga - Old City Wall


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