St.John’s Church (Skarnu street)

Riga , Latvia
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St John’s Church on Skārnu Street

Riga live camera shows Skārnu Street, which is the oldest street in Riga’s Old Town. The name means Butcher’s street as the middle of the street held several butchers’ shops since 1295. Live web cameras show that nowadays, the street houses several churches, including St Peter’s Church which has a 72 m tour and viewing platform, St George’s church, and the Seta convent. It also houses several souvenir stalls where visitors can pick up a souvenir to remember the beautiful Old Town. Skārnu Street makes for a magical place to wander around and appreciate the history of Latvia’s capital as can be seen on HD webcam footage of Riga.

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The history of St John’s Church

St John’s church is a prominent feature on Skārnu Street. It was built in the 13th century on the site of the Bishop’s Palace in 1201 and can very well be claimed to be the heart of Riga. The Dominican Friar’s took responsibility for original, small chapel in 1234. The buildings were extended in 1330 to also include a Parish church. During the Reformation, the church was closed and was briefly used as an armory until after the Reformation when the church became a Lutheran church and was renovated several times, especially after the great fire of 1677. The church possesses a range of architectural styles due to centuries of remodeling. With its lovely red roof and copper spire, it is a grand church to behold, especially considering its long history. Today the local parish still holds services in this holy church.

The Legend of St John’s Church

St John’s church is also the home of a gruesome legend. In the 15th century, two monks tried their way to sainthood by immuring themselves into the walls of the church. They were fed through a special hole while they were still alive. It is rumored that their bodies still lie behind a cross-shaped hole in the church wall.

The church’s interior

The interior of the church is characterized by a lovely gothic ceiling and a beautiful stained glass window. Compared to other churches in Europe, St John’s Church is not particularly ornate, which fits its humble history. Next to the church is an archway leading to St John’s courtyard where the remains of the 13th century monastery can be seen. In the summer months, St John’s church becomes a concert hall where classical music renditions and choir performances are held. The church has superior acoustics, making it a perfect and sacred concert hall. It is open for visits from 11:00 to 20:00, except during ceremonies and concerts. It is one of the few churches in Riga that is free to visit.

Although it’s always better to view Latvia in person, Baltic Live Cam shows footage of many other historical places in Riga online, allowing you to experience this city from the comfort of your own home. At Līvu Square, old guild houses and the famous cat building can be viewed. Through cameras online, important squares like the Cathedral Square and Unity Square can be explored from your laptop.