Showing posts from October, 2020

Our Danish Neighbors

  Danish flag The picture on the left was taken out of the fourth floor window of our apartment. It's looking at the Danish flag in the tiny courtyard of the Danish Embassy, which is across the street from us. The yellow building you also see is the pre-school that was remodeled over the summer.  Notice the sharp corner The courtyard in the foreground belongs to the Danish Embassy. The plants and flowers surrounding the tiny space shield the staff from onlookers when they are outside eating their lunches during the summer.  The embassy is a small oddly-shaped building. Since it was built in 1901, it has a bit of the Art Nouveau style with flourishes in the architecture. It fits on this small bit of land near the Anglican Church which accounts for the very narrow structure.  Front door with embassy symbol Danish symbol There is a symbol of Denmark next to the door that faces our street-Anglikanu. That was the clue that tipped us off to being an embassy when we first moved into our f

More Buildings, Another Tale

  Balconies in art nouveau style Last week I wrote about buildings in Old Town Riga with different histories. This week I'll take you on a tour of a newer section of the city and explain Riga's Art Nouveau architecture. Art Nouveau, or Jugendstil in the German language, was a style of architecture that was very prominent for only 20 years from about 1895 to 1914. Since Riga was expanding at that time, it has gained a reputation for Art Nouveau style. Over one third of Riga's buildings were built during this short period of time.  Art Nouveau is most easily spotted by the extra flourishes added to the outside of the buildings. Often they include figures, animals, plants or faces from Greek mythology. Ornamentation on building   Nature was very important to the era of Art Nouveau. All buildings have some aspect of nature in their edifices. An owl can be seen perched on top of the door in the picture below.  Owl decoration From Albert Street This form of architecture can be se

Buildings Tell a Tale

Oldest type of building Buildings in Old Town Riga tell the story of this great city. Just the shape of the building can tell a person how old it is. The building on the right is very old, probably late 15th Century, with several hints to that fact.  First, the protruding wood at the top tells us that originally there was a pulley system installed there to lift heavy objects to the different floors of the building. The items raised by pulleys would be pulled into the building through doors on each floor. Those doors are now just wooden boards.  Another hint of it's age is the size of the windows. Tiny windows kept in the heat during winter. Imagine how dark the rooms would be, however.  The ancient door is hard to see in the shadow, but it is crude wood planks fastened by an iron bar. The door was large to allow the horses and wagons to be brought into the basement.   The late 16th Century saw this next type of house. Notice the windows are larger. The old door can still be seen on