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SWEDISH GATE (RIGA)

SWEDISH GATE

SWEDISH GATE

The Swedish Gate is the only gate of eight Riga gates that has been preserved till our days. The gate was built in 1698 to connect inner city with barracks and houses outside the city walls. Similar to all the other Riga gates, the Swedish Gate would open at dawn and close at sunset. Jurgen’s Tower – one of preserved medieval towers – is built into the complex of facilities adjoining the Swedish Gate. The first mention of the tower was recorded in 1350.

As one legend has it, the gate was named to commemorate Swedish heroism during the Northern war. During the Northern war, Russian troops captured many strategic towers and by 1710 possessed the whole city. Plaque and famine forced the Swedes to surrender. Peter the Great, being a military man himself, appreciated the bravery of the Swedes and let them go. The Swedes were leaving the city through the Swedish Gate – that is how the gate received its name.

There is another legend, which tells us about an unfortunate love of two young people. In those days there was a law, according to which young ladies were not allowed to go out with military servicemen, especially with Swedish soldiers. But one girl fell in love with a blond Swedish warrior and violating the prohibition they met at the gate in secret. But one day the soldier did not show up for the date and dwellers of the city found out the secret of the two lovers. For breaking the law a terrible punishment awaited the girl – she was walled into the gate alive. People say that in the evenings, especially in spring, when everybody’s feelings awaken, one can hear a girl’s voice calling her beloved; but not everyone can hear the girl – only those who truly love or have loved.

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