Old Dome Cathedral with its tombstones, ancient carvings, and stained glass is skillfully executed and is the largest and most beautiful concert hall in Riga.
Construction of the Dome Cathedral and the monastery began in 1211 and continued for many centuries. The newly-rebuilt cathedral was named in honor of St. Mary, which bishop Albert von Buxhoeveden dedicated to the conquest of the Baltic lands.
Near the Cathedral is a monastery for the Dome Capitol where the highest spiritual dignitaries of Riga’s episcopacy meet. A power brick shell of the building covers the quadrangle courtyard. Along the entire first floor gallery runs cross vaults with open doorways facing the courtyard.
The Cathedral was rebuilt and enlarged several times; instead of limestone as a building material are brick was used more and more. Romanesque-style elements, in which the cathedral was originally built was gradually supplemented by other architectural styles.
During the Reformation, the Dome Cathedral as well as other churches’ interior decoration were greatly affected; and in 1547, the Cathedral suffered another tragedy due to a great fire. It was later reconstructed and expanded. Its present form was acquired from the late 18th century after several reconstructions. It’s present architectural style reflect almost all of the cultural and historical eras of the past since its foundation.
The interior of the Cathedral has been enriched by artistic values. In the late 16th century, the famous organ was installed in the Cathedral. Its creator, organ master I. Raab made a wood carving in the form of fantastic animals, angels, and flower garlands. All these decorations have survived and after 1883-1884, the old organ was replaced by a new one, possessing a large number of tubes for a more powerful and rich sound.
In the 19th century stained glass windows were created, which, in particular, captures the moment and bookmark the Cathedral’s solemn reception of Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus – the conqueror of Riga.
The Dome Square acquired its view in 1935. Low-value buildings were demolished around the Cathedral and a large area was formed which often hosts fairs, concerts, and other city events.