Neighborhoods of Rīga: Torņakalns – A place of remembrance of the history of Latvia

Last Updated on 2022-02-13 by Birk Ecke

Torņakalns is a neighborhood of the Latvian Capital Rīga at the left bank of the Daugava River. The former name, when Rīga was still under the administration of the Baltic Germans, was Thorenzberg. We don’t have a better story, but perhaps the district’s name derives from a tower that stood opposite the Rīga Fortress and was meant to protect them from an enemy takeover. The district of Torņakalns is located directly opposite the old town. There is no better story. Thorenzberg was probably named after a watchtower from medieval. In fact, there was a high watchtower here, which warned the city and fortress of Riga of advancing enemies. And also in fact, the border to the Polish ruled Courland was only a few kilometers west. Torņakalns today has about 7.400 inhabitants and the population density is about 2.400 inhabitants per square kilometer. Torņakalns borders the neighborhoods of Āgenskalns, Ziepniekkalns, Atgāzene and Bieriņi.


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At the river Mārupīte there was already in the 13th Century mills and a sentry who should warn the city of Rīga against raids from the west. The Red Tower was built here in 1483 as a watchtower. A narrow area on the western side of the Daugava belonged to the city of Rīga, but this part immediately bordered on Courland. The Red Tower was already demolished in the 17th century. Until the 19th century, Torņakalns could not be regarded as a continuous built-up area. Rather, there was a loose development of mansions, a mill complex and residential buildings.

The darkest chapter of Latvia’s history is closely connected with Torņakalns railway station. On the 14th of June 1941 more than 15,000 Latvians were deported from this station by the Soviet government to the Gulags in Siberia. There were also children among the deportees. This action was carried out practically overnight. None of the deportees had been legally sentenced. A wagon and a memorial stone right next to the tracks commemorate this deeply sad event. On December 14th, 1941, another 154,234 people were affected by the deportation. That was about every tenth Latvian. There is also a memorial in front of the station building in honor of the people deported to Siberia.

Image: View from the Academy of Sciences in Rīga across the Daugava to the Torņakalns district on the left bank of the river. The newly built National Library can be seen on the right. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright October 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: View from the Academy of Sciences in Rīga across the Daugava to the Torņakalns district on the left bank of the river.
The newly built National Library can be seen on the right.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright October 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: View from the tower of St. Peter's Church in Rīga across the Daugava to the Torņakalns district on the left bank of the river. The newly built National Library can be seen on the right. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright October 2017 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: View from the tower of St. Peter’s Church in Rīga across the Daugava to the Torņakalns district on the left bank of the river.
The newly built National Library can be seen on the right.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright October 2017 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: View from the right hand side bank of the Daugava to the Torņakalns district on the left bank of the river. The newly built National Library can be seen on the right. Night shot. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: View from the right hand side bank of the Daugava to the Torņakalns district on the left bank of the river.
The newly built National Library can be seen on the right.
Night shot.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: The National Library in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga. It's nickname is "The Castle Of Light". Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright June 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: The National Library in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga.
It’s nickname is “The Castle Of Light”.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright June 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: The National Library in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga. It is also called "The Castle Of Light". Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: The National Library in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga.
It is also called “The Castle Of Light”.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: The National Library in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga. It is also called "The Castle Of Light". Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: The National Library in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga.
It is also called “The Castle Of Light”.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: The small Russian Orthodox Church Нерукотворенного образа Спасителя (Kristus Pestītāja svētbildes pareizticīgo baznīca) in the Torņakalns district of Rīga. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright June 2017 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: The small Russian Orthodox Church Нерукотворенного образа Спасителя (Kristus Pestītāja svētbildes pareizticīgo baznīca) in the Torņakalns district of Rīga.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright June 2017 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: In some places in Riga you can still find monuments to the soldiers of the Red Army. At the small Russian Orthodox Church Нерукотворенного образа Спасителя (Kristus Pestītāja svētbildes pareizticīgo baznīca) in the Torņakalns district of Rīga. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright June 2017 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: In some places in Riga you can still find monuments to the soldiers of the Red Army.
At the small Russian Orthodox Church Нерукотворенного образа Спасителя (Kristus Pestītāja svētbildes pareizticīgo baznīca) in the Torņakalns district of Rīga.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright June 2017 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: The small Russian Orthodox Church Нерукотворенного образа Спасителя (Kristus Pestītāja svētbildes pareizticīgo baznīca) in the Torņakalns district of Rīga. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright June 2017 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: The small Russian Orthodox Church Нерукотворенного образа Спасителя (Kristus Pestītāja svētbildes pareizticīgo baznīca) in the Torņakalns district of Rīga.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright June 2017 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: The former country house Hartmann in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright May 2019 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: The former country house Hartmann in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright May 2019 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: OImage: One of the typical wooden houses in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright May 2019 by Birk Karsten Ecke.ne of the typical wooden houses in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright May 2019 by Birk Karsten Ecke. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Image: One of the typical wooden houses in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright May 2019 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: The Lutheranian Church in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright May 2019 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: The Lutheranian Church in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright May 2019 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: The Lutheranian Church in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright May 2019 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: The Lutheranian Church in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright May 2019 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: The Lutheranian Church in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright May 2019 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: The Lutheranian Church in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright May 2019 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: The Arkādijas parks in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga. This is one of my favorite places in the capital of Latvia because it is a place of tranquility. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright October 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: The Arkādijas parks in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga.
This is one of my favorite places in the capital of Latvia because it is a place of tranquility.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright October 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: Inside the Arkādijas parks in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright October 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: Inside the Arkādijas parks in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright October 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: Inside the Arkādijas parks in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright October 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: Inside the Arkādijas parks in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright October 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: Inside the Arkādijas parks in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright October 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: Inside the Arkādijas parks in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright October 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: Inside the Arkādijas parks in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright October 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: Inside the Arkādijas parks in the district of Torņakalns in Rīga.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright October 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: Suburban Train at Torņakalns Train Station on the left hand bank of the Daugava River in Rīga. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright October 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: Suburban Train at Torņakalns Train Station on the left hand bank of the Daugava River in Rīga.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright October 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: Suburban Train at Torņakalns Train Station on the left hand bank of the Daugava River in Rīga. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: Suburban Train at Torņakalns Train Station on the left hand bank of the Daugava River in Rīga.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: Torņakalns Train Station on the left hand bank of the Daugava River in Rīga. A monument honoring the Latvians deported to the Soviet gulags during World War II. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: Torņakalns Train Station on the left hand bank of the Daugava River in Rīga.
A monument honoring the Latvians deported to the Soviet gulags during World War II.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: Torņakalns Train Station on the left hand bank of the Daugava River in Rīga. A monument honoring the Latvians deported to the Soviet gulags during World War II. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: Torņakalns Train Station on the left hand bank of the Daugava River in Rīga.
A monument honoring the Latvians deported to the Soviet gulags during World War II.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: Near Torņakalns Train Station on the left hand bank of the Daugava River in Rīga. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: Near Torņakalns Train Station on the left hand bank of the Daugava River in Rīga.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: Near Torņakalns Train Station on the left hand bank of the Daugava River in Rīga. One of the typical wooden houses of this district. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: Near Torņakalns Train Station on the left hand bank of the Daugava River in Rīga.
One of the typical wooden houses of this district.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

Image: Near Torņakalns Train Station on the left hand bank of the Daugava River in Rīga. One of the typical wooden houses of this district. Click on the image to enlarge it. Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

Image: Near Torņakalns Train Station on the left hand bank of the Daugava River in Rīga.
One of the typical wooden houses of this district.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Recording: © Copyright December 2014 by Birk Karsten Ecke.

 

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