Riga History: Riga within the Russian Empire (1710-mid-19th cent.)

The Great Northern War concluded the struggle for influence in the Baltic Sea with the victory of Russia. On Riga’s capitulation in 1710 the whole of Vidzeme was incorporated into the Russian Empire and the city became the administrative centre of the province. The history of the city during this period is characterized by the ruling classes fighting for maintaining of the medieval privileges in the administration, the craft guilds, trade and social life, and losing them gradually as a result of the Russian policy of centralization.

The exhibition is set in 18th century Column Hall, originally built to house a library. On display are approximately 1000 museum objects of this historic period – both typical of the time, and of an outstanding historic, artistic and memorial significance. A pride of place is given to the City Library by exhibiting an original library bookcase that was uncovered during the restoration of the Hall, and the origins of the present-day Riga History and Navigation Museum in 1773.