Riga is the site of Riga Technical Univ. (est. 1862), the Univ. of Latvia (est. 1919), the Latvian Academy of Sciences (1946), and numerous other educational and cultural institutions. The old section, or Hansa town, of Riga is circled by a park-lined moat and includes the ancient castle of the Livonian Knights (rebuilt at various periods), the 13th-century cathedral (rebuilt 16th cent., now Lutheran), and the Parliament building (19th cent.). The famous Hanseatic House of the Blackheads (14th cent.), the town hall, and the Church of St. Peter with a steeple 412 ft (126 m) high were largely destroyed during World War II, and their rebuilding was not completed until after the end of Soviet rule. The old town, with its narrow, cobbled streets lined with gabled dwellings and warehouses, has retained much of its medieval character. Across the Daugava from the old town is the New National Library (2014).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.