Friday, August 7, 2009

Day 61, from Latvia to Lithuania

Hey Guys......we are now flying over Riga the capital and largest city of Latvia!
Wow, Riga's historical centre is particularly notable for its extensive Jugendstil (German Art Nouveau) architecture,considered to be unparalleled anywhere in the world.

Oh, there is Saint Peter's Church, Riga, with its 123 m (404 ft) high tower. It was first built in 1209 as a church for the people.The current tower was completed in 1746, and was struck by lightning 6 times! Before World War II it was the highest wooden building in Europe.
We took the elevator to top which allowed us to look out over Riga city....
And there is the House of the Blackheads
The original building was erected during the first third of the 14th century for the Brotherhood of the Blackheads Guild, a guild for unmarried German merchants in Riga.
This majestic structure was bombed to a ruin by the Germans June 28, 1941 and the remains demolished by the Soviets in 1948.
The current reconstruction was erected from 1995 to 1999.
It is generally recognized that Riga has the finest collection of art nouveau buildings in Europe....simply beautiful and definitely worth another visit....especially in winte.

Next stop Vilnius in Lithuania
Political centre of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the 13th to the end of the 18th century, Vilnius has had a profound influence on the cultural and architectural development of much of eastern Europe. Despite invasions and partial destruction, it has preserved an impressive complex of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and classical buildings as well as its medieval layout and natural setting.
Today it is a bustling city with one of the oldest and most charming Old Towns in Europe. The splendid architectural blend of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles makes this a wonderful city to explore.

We are going to quickly stopover at the Russian Church of the Holy Spirit in the Old town which is famous for its amazing underground maze of catacombs.

It was a burial place for plague and war victims......and there are stories about the ghost, who lives in the catacombs....a ghost of knight, who was buried alive in the catacombs.......but alas the catacombs are closed to the public so we cannot explore.......however we did admire the exquisite interior of this beautiful church before moving on .....

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