A Museum Explains it All

View of the museum

 During our beautiful fall weather last Saturday, my husband and I had a chance to check out the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation. From the outside, the museum isn't too impressive, as you can see in the photo on the left. It's in a building adjacent to the St. Mary's Cathedral in Old Town Riga.
Big Christopher statue


But, inside the treasures we found brought life to many of the items that I've written about on this blog. For one thing, we saw the original Big Christopher statue that I wrote about in my May 6th blog. This original statue was built in 1683. No wonder they keep it in the museum now. 

Ancient logs

We also saw items dating back to the 1200s. Among them were logs from a wooden bridge. These items were discovered in 1939 while doing excavation work in Old Town Riga. The items were buried about 10 feet below the ground surface - as I described in the August 19th blog. 

Ancient shoes found in site

Remains of the excavated ship

Also displayed from the early 13th century was the outer planking of a Riga ship. The ancient single-masted ship was also found in the same excavation in 1939. The 14.3 meter-long ship was designed for coastal navigation, with the height of the sides at 2.4 meters.

Only the a few boards of the ship remain, but the museum was able to reconstruct what it looked like from other records. This was a treasured find indeed. 
Reconstructed ship

Big Guild Coat of Arms

I thought that the best find of all was a more thorough description of the guild system in Riga that ruled the economy here for many years. In my blog about the Cat House (written on Sept. 2), I referred to the Great Guild. I found out in the museum that it was really called the Big Guild which consisted of professional educators, theologians, and the like. The Big Guild was entirely made up of Germans - who basically ruled the city. The man who built the Cat House was a craftsman or merchant, who would have normally been a member of the Small Guild. It would have been impossible for this gentleman to join the Big Guild since he was a Latvian merchant, but this was the early 20th Century. Things were changing. This dispute helped to bring the end of the guild system in Riga and brought in the democratic system that they have today.

Knight in Shining Armor

Of course, there were so much more to study in the museum, such as the coat of arms on the right, but these were the most interesting things that I saw. I hope that you found them as interesting as I did. 


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