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Old Rīga goes back in time for German historical series

Many people on social media have noticed hundreds of people looking like they've stepped out of 19th century. This is because a German mini-series on the Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sisi) is being shot in the center of Rīga, Latvian Television reported July 20.

The six-episode historical series “Sisi” is produced on the order of the German television CDF and film professionals from Germany, Lithuania and Latvia are co-operating in the filming process. The creators say that this is the most ambitious international cinema project in Latvia.

The streets of Old Rīga have changed names since the action of this film episode takes place in Vienna. The plot is based on true historical events but stylized according to the demands of a multi-series film. The project is luxurious and also financially significant, costing 6.3 million euros.

Story House Pictures and Cinevilla Films are among the makers with the Riga Film Foundation and the National Film Center also providing co-financing for the international project.

The young Empress Sisi is played by Swiss-American actress Dominique Devenport.

In Rīga, a sewing workshop was created in which more than a hundred old-fashioned outfits were made. Hundreds of costumes required for extras views were rented from Madrid, Vienna and Poland's costume warehouses.

Around 150 Latvian, Lithuanian, German cinema professionals work every day on the set. The film's ornate interiors of the East Hungarian Empire are filmed in specially constructed film pavilions in Rīga, as well as the Rundāle Palace, the Palace of Cesvaine, the Small Guild, and elsewhere. Up to 200 people per day participate as extras.

The premiere of “Sisi” season one is scheduled for the end of this year. The historical mini-series will be featured on German, French and Austrian television.

Nor is Elisabeth the first Empress from history to be reborn in Latvia. The recent miniseries Catherine the Great starring Helen Mirren also made use of Rundāle Palace.

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