Sunday, October 17.
Woke at 8.50! Need to be at the KGB Museum at 9.30. Full panic mode. Arrived at museum. It does not open till 10.00, and tour states at 2010.30!!😁😁😳😳 Better to be early. Walked across road for coffee and breakfast.
That done we walked back across the road to the museum. The building is the actual building the KGB operated out of during their reign of terror in Latvia.
This has to be one if the most confronting places we have visited in our travels. What looks like a normal apartment building from the outside, if the scaffolding and covers were not there, concealed some of the most atrocious activities, which continued up until 1991. The internal structure of the building has not changed since then. The cells, interrogation rooms and execution rooms remain as is. It is understandable that many residents of the Baltic countries are still very wary of Russia and what they as individuals say.
If you were given one of these, it meant that you had to report to the KGB Headquarters to answer some questions. Very few, if any left after questioning.
Where you entered through these doors,
and reported to this same window.
From there you would be taken through these doors to the reception room.
Looking towards the cells on the ground floor.
This is a holding cell for those waiting tone questioned. You could be there for days.
Exercise yards where they would spend 20 minutes every 10 days, maybe, no talking, walking in circles, head down arms behind your back.
A key from one of the cells which was cemented into the wall, after the Russians left, so that the cells could not be locked and if the Russians came back they would have to make new ones.
Stairs to the basement where the worst cells and attractions occurred.
Kitchen where meager food was prepared and the guards washed their clothes in the same cauldrons.
Container dug up in the Riga Cemetry, which contained some of the records of people who visited the KGB building. The book holds the names of those from 1981 who were brought in for questioning, but is known to not include all the names.
The next five photos are of the execution chamber and can be skipped if you want to. I too, find it disturbing while writing this, however we need to know what actually happened. Being on the other side of the world, we are insulated from these things, and it is only when you see it first hand that you realise how confronting it is.
If you were brought in by vehicle, you came through these gates.
Simple things such as waving to a German aero plane as it flew over, talking about a western book or magazine, or knowing someone who had a western book or magazine, could get you incarcerated or shot, without a trial.
There are still Russian monuments in the city that they are reticent to take down in case of reprisals from Russia. You can understand them when all their gas supplies come from Russia. Around 30% of the Latvian population is still Russian. To visit this place is truely a mind numbing experience.
Leaving the building, you feel really numb, and it took a coffee and some quiet time before we were able to carry on. Like Auschwitz, we were able to walk on and out of our own accord. Many before, could not.
Onwards, we walked back towards the old town and stopped to look in Old St Gertrude’s church which has the largest organ of its type in Europe.
Stopped at the Orthodox Xsthedral of which no photos are allowed inside.
We then decided to take a ride in one of the little boats around the old most, canal and Daugava river. No explanations, just enjoy the photos. Very relaxing.
Kids are kids the world over.
Stood in the footprints in Vilnius, now here in Riga, only Tallin to go. These were the start, middle and end of the human chain. The 2,000,000 people protesting about liberating the Baltic states.
A middle-ages stone face. The big one on the left.
Headed to the Domus Cathedral. The huge pipe organ in the Domus under restoration. Apparently they have to control the volume or it will damage the stained glass windows.
The Cloister at the Domus.
Original bell and one of the replacements.
The original cock from the top of the bell tower.
Looking down one side of the cloister.
Original clock winding mechanism.
Sun setting on ‘the three brothers houses’
Continued our walk through to the old square where we had dinner before heading back to Myrtle. We had had a magnificent day, one of sadness, peace, solitude and glorious sunshine in Riga.
3 thoughts on “RIGA – DAY 4.”
We enjoyed the river cruise part! And Autumn has arrived…
Wow what a day! Can’t believe we were having such a normal suburban day when you messaged. Lovely to catch up with your news. Very late here so we are going to bed now. Aren’t we all lucky not to have gone through these things. Lots of love from both of us xxx
I read this on the blog