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Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, Latvia

Experienced voyagerExperienced voyagerExperienced voyagerExperienced voyager Shirley Goodmann
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The Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation was founded on Nikolaus von Himsel's private collection in 1773. Now it is considered to be one of the oldest museums in Europe. The museum is located within the walls of the Dom ensemble, which is the architectural monument dating back to the 13th century.

The exhibitions of the museum reflect the history of Riga from ancient times to this very day. In the first halls of the museum you'll find original objects made by ancient inhabitants of Latvia. These articles include flint tools, arms, coins, adornments and much more. Due to the favorable geographical location, the settlement of Riga became an important economic center as early as in the 12th century. The result of the active economic interaction with the western and eastern countries was a unique culture that absorbed different features both from the West and East.

The exhibition presents original 13-16th century objects, uncovered in excavations or procured from the rich collections of the Riga Town Council and the Blackheads Association. One of the most remarkable exhibits is the 2.4 meter high wooden sculpture of St Christopher, which used to generate feelings of admiration and reverence in the hearts of the common townsfolk and travelers.

The favorable geographical position of Riga gave rise not only to the city's economy, but to the jealousy of the neighbors as well. In 1582 Riga was conquered by Polish King; from 1621 till 1710, for nearly one hundred years, Riga belonged to the Kingdom of Sweden. Since the 18th century it became a part of Russian state.

Navigation has always played an important role in the city's development. A special exhibition is devoted to the history of navigation in Latvia. One can trace the development of marine transport from the 10th century to the present day, from a single masted vessels, which used to carry cargo coastwise to modern motor ships, which cross seas and oceans. The exhibition comprises about four hundred original objects that include parts of ships and tackle, navigation instruments, seascapes and maps, tools for building sailing ships, textbooks and reports of naval students, teaching aids of naval schools, personal effects of seamen, souvenirs, and much more. Numerous ship models are of great value.

The exhibition "Riga and Rigaers 1918-1940" was opened in 1990, at the start of Latvia's national awakening. The exhibits including crockery, furniture, clothes, documents, photo originals, books, placard with the first President of the Republic of Latvia Karlis Ulmanis reflect the life of the city and its citizens from the Proclamation of the Republic of Latvia in 1918 till 1940 when the country was occupied by the USSR. More info on: www.riga-hotels.net

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» Latvian Museum of Photography
» Riga Motor Museum
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» Latvian Ethnographic Open Air Museum
» Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation
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