St. Peter’s Church is one of the oldest and most valuable monuments of medieval architecture in the Baltic States. It is located in the historical centre of Riga and on 4 December 1997 was included among the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The building was first mentioned in written documents in 1209. Initially it consisted of a rather small hall with three isles of the same height and width and, possibly, with a separate bell tower. The present-day basilica with three isles came about after the reconstruction work in the 15th century. The altar section was built in early 15th century in Gothic design analogous to St Mary Church in Rostock under the guidance of Rostock architect Johann Rummeschotel.
The over 130m high Gothic steeple was completed by the end of the 15th century, which later collapsed in 1666. In 1690 the Riga city master builder Rupert Bindenschuh built a new steeple, only this time in the Baroque design with several vaults and passageways. At the time the wooden steeple was the highest construction in the world. Meanwhile, the western facade of the building with three illustrious stone portals was erected.
In 1721 the church steeple was struck by thunder and burnt down. Ordered by the Russian tsar Peter I, who was in Riga at the time and helped extinguish the fire, the steeple was restored in its earlier shape in 1746. During Wolrd War II the church was demolished – the steeple and the roof were burnt down and the entire church interior was destroyed.