Marcus wanted to go up the steeple of St Peter’s Church in Riga to get pictures of the views across the city. Luckily, there is an elevator. So it’s not much of a step climbing job, the way it was with Notre Dame.

From the tower we could identify buildings in Riga’s old town, even our rented apartment building.

I can see the Powder Tower!

I can see the Powder Tower!

I was not very impressed with the church though – probably because it looks very much like the medieval churches in Sweden, like Mariakyrkan in Sigtuna or the cathedrals in Uppsala and Västerås. You know, brick gothic architecture, which is common in several northern European countries like Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Germany, Poland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Sweden, according to wiki.

And there's the Central Market - those zeppelin-hangars.

And there’s the Central Market – those zeppelin-hangars.

St Peter’s church was first mentioned in 1209.

What makes St Peter special – besides the view from the steeple – is its gigantic rooster weather vane (on display inside the church) and that it was largely built by the Livs.

We crossed the bridge to get to the national library.

We crossed the bridge to get to the national library.

Heck, I didn’t even know “Livs” existed until our visit there. Latvians and Livs are indigenous people in Latvia. They were seafarers who lived in fishing villages.

The German crusaders devastated Livonian culture in the 13th century, according to the book Eyewitness Travel.  And many assimilated into the other Baltic tribes.

image

We lived in that area.

Today only 170 people identify themselves as Livs and the language is spoken by far less. Liv is the rarest language in the EU, according to a homepage about Latvian livs.

Below is the market where we had been buying souvenirs like glass jewelry, ambers and shawls.

Below is the market where we had been buying souvenirs like glass jewelry, ambers and shawls.

What happened to the livonian culture makes me think of the Swedish culture. Some people say that considering that there are many foreigners already living in Sweden, and producing more children than Swedes do, then one day, there will be but few blond and blue-eyed Swedes left. But considering what happened to Livonians in Latvia, then that’s simply what happens gradually to a nation. Nothing remains pure anymore. Filipinos are not purely Filipinos anymore, we are a mix of chinese, western blood, japanese, and others. Nothing is bad about that. But it is important that a nation makes sure that its culture lives on…To love one’s roots, although it is in the verge of evolving and changing.

With the town musicians of Bremen.

With the town musicians of Bremen. It is believed to bring good luck to touch a part of the animals – like the nose.

The weather vane.

The weather vane.