Riga of 1929 rises from the Swedish archives

A fascinating glimpse of inter-war Riga has appeared online.

The website EU Screen, which is supported by the European Union, has archive footage of the Latvian capital as it was in 1929 in a 12 minute film.

The extent of shipping operations in the River Daugava is remarkable, and many of the familiar landmarks of the city today are instantly recognizable.

Others are notable for their absence, particularly the Freedom Monument, construction of which was not due to start until 1931.

What look like several British submarines are moored in the port, while Riga Castle itself looks very familiar.

No less fascinating than the landscapes are the people captured in this fleeting moment of history: rowing a skiff across the river, mending their nets, standing guard or simply wandering the streets. At several points passers-by smile at the camera, sensing perhaps that this new-fangled cinematographic camera is giving them a few seconds of immortality.

We also get a masterclass in correct use of a scythe and slightly less effective instruction in how to examine an egg.

It is all rounded off by some jigging Boy Scouts.

Occasional Swedish subtitles and a clear interest in Swedish monuments and the 'Swedish gate' of the old town suggest the footage was shot by a visitor from the other side of the Baltic Sea.

The film belongs to the Swedish state archives and can be viewed HERE.

The EUscreen portal offers free online access to thousands of items of audiovisual heritage. It brings together clips that provide an insight into the social, cultural, political and economic events that have shaped the 20th and 21st centuries. 

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles
Most important

Please be aware that the LSM portal uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you agree that we may store and use cookies on your device. Find out more

Accept and continue