The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Latvian, Doma Baznica; Estonian, Toomkirik; also known as the Maras Cathedral), located in Riga, the most significant monument of medieval Latvian architecture.

Between 1211 and 1215 foundations were laid for a threenaved Romanesque basilica and a monastery for meetings of the Livonian high clergy. Around 1270 an unknown master from Cologne completed it as a hall church; a tower was also added to the western facade. Around 1300 the church was transformed into a basilica with Gothic vaults; the height of the nave was 26 m. Domkirche was partially reconstructed in the late 19th century. Its side chapels were built in the 13th (?) and 15th centuries; the cloisters, the meeting hall of the clergy, and the capitals decorated with fretwork all date from the first half of the 13th century. In 1776 the cathedral was completed with a baroque outline.

The Domkirche has a carved pulpit (1641) and benches and epitaphs (16th-17th centuries) in the mannerist and baroque styles; sculptured gravestones (14th-17th centuries); paintings (basically 18th century, primarily in the choir); and stained glass windows (19th century).

The stone and brick Domkirche and its cloister combine the majestic simplicity of Romanesque architectural space with sparse Gothic decor. The construction of the cathedral facilitated the spread of transitional Romanesque-Gothic architectural forms throughout the Baltic region. The Domkirche, which has good acoustics and one of the best organs in the USSR, became a concert hall and museum after its restoration in 1959 and 1960. Together with the former monastery and several other 13th- to 19th-century buildings, the Domkirche forms an architectural complex. It is one of the dominant Old Riga structures that make up the distinctive silhouette of the city.


Vasil’ev, Lu. M. Riga: Pamiatniki zodchestva. Riga, 1971. Pages 86-103.
Neumann, W. Der Dom zu St. Marten in Riga: Baugeschichte and Baubeschreibung. Riga, 1912.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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