Powder Tower, Riga

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  • Powder Tower and St Jacob's Barracks
    Powder Tower and St Jacob's Barracks
    by toonsarah
  • Powder Tower
    Powder Tower
    by balhannah
  • Gunpowder Tower, Riga
    Gunpowder Tower, Riga
    by antistar
  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    The Powder Tower

    by toonsarah Written Jun 11, 2014

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    Like so many of Riga's apparently historic buildings, this is a reconstruction, but one carried out not after (and as a result of) World War Two, but before that, in 1937. It was originally a part of the defensive system of the town and as the name suggests, was used to store gunpowder. It dates originally from the beginning of the 14th century, but only its foundations remained after it was destroyed by invading troops from Sweden in 1621. It was rebuilt in 1650 with 2.5m thick walls, necessary to protect the gunpowder stored inside. It was attacked, partially destroyed, and rebuilt several times over the years, with that most recent reconstruction being needed as a result of the First World War.

    Today it is part of the Latvian War Museum, which I didn’t visit. But I did love this tower, not for its military past but because it reminded me of my favourite fairy tale as a child. Can’t you just see Rapunzel letting down her hair from the upper window and her prince climbing up it to reach her, maybe aided a little by the creepers? Yes, I know Rapunzel’s tower had only one window, but apart from that detail, this could be it!

    The gable end wall of a nearby building, Jacob's Barracks, has an interesting mural with the shields of all the municipalities in Latvia. We weren't able to discover why part of the wall has been painted over, nor what was there beforehand.

    Next tip: the Swedish Gate

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    Powder Tower (Pulvertornis)

    by fachd Written Sep 19, 2012

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    The Powder Tower (Pulvertornis) it was part of the defensive system of the town and was originally called the Sand Tower. In the 17th century the tower began to store gunpowder. Today the building is part of the Museum of War.

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    POWDER TOWER

    by balhannah Updated Feb 17, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Powder Tower

    This lovely old tower with Ivy growing over the red bricks, was once used for storing Gun Powder. Built in the 14th century, the building is now part of the Museum of War, with displays including Medieval and Modern history, 1st & 2nd World Wars, Weapons and more.

    OPEN DAILY .....10 - 6PM

    ADMISSION IS FREE

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  • Raimix's Profile Photo

    Defensive Powder tower

    by Raimix Updated Feb 25, 2011

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    It is only one defensive tower that survived in Riga - it houses the Museum of war. Tower looks big enough, could be hard to attack :) In 14th century this tower was the one of many towers around the city. In XVII century it was used as gunpowder warehouse.

    After attacks of Swedes and Russian it took some years to reconstruct it, now you can visit the museum and interesting statue near its building.

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    Pulvertornis, the powder tower

    by georeiser Written Dec 29, 2009

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    Pulvertornis, the Powder Tower in Riga
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    The Powder Tower has its name because it was supposed to be a safe place to store the gun powder. The walls in the round red-brick tower are 2.5 metres thick. The building was first constructed in 1330, but destroyed by Swedish troops in 1621. It has been rebuilt several times. The tower has also been used as a prison. The tower is situated in the north-eastern part of the Old Town, just across the road from Bastion Hill, and it is now part of the Latvian War Museum.

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  • MalenaN's Profile Photo

    Fortification Wall

    by MalenaN Written Jan 4, 2009

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    Fortification Wall
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    Between the Swedish Gate and Powder Tower you can see part of the old city wall. It was restored during the Soviet era. The wall runs parallel to the streets Torna iela and Troksnu iela.
    From Troksnu iela you can see there are arches in the wall. When there wasn’t war the arches were used as stables or for storage, but when there was a risk of war thy were filled with sandbags and stones to make the wall stronger.

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    The Powder Tower

    by MalenaN Written Dec 27, 2008

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    The Powder Tower

    The Powder Tower is a round red-brick fortification tower with walls that are 2.5 metres thick. It is the only tower, of 18, in Riga’s old city wall that has survived. It was first constructed in 1330, but it has been rebuilt several times. The original name was Sand Tower, but it got its present name when gun powder was stored in the tower. The tower has also been used as a prison, a torture chamber and for student parties. Now the War Museum is housed in the Powder Tower.

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    Powder Tower

    by Acirfa Updated May 1, 2008

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    Powder Tower

    the Powder Tower is one part of the former fortification system, surrounding Riga.

    It was first mentioned in 1330 and it was originally called Smilsu Tornis (The Sand Tower), but from the 17th century when gun powder had been kept in it, the Tower gained the name of Powder.
    The diameter of this round tower is 14.3m, height -25.6m, the width of the walls reaches 3m.

    Now the Latvian War Museum is situated there.

    One journalist went to great lengths to save the Tower from being destroyed but retained as a point of historical interest.

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    Latvian War Museum

    by kit_mc Written Mar 25, 2008

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    Latvian War Museum, Riga
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    This museum was a bit of a disappointment and maybe only for those who are really interested in, er.. well, war.

    Populated by very obtrusive, elderly women watching your every move as if you were a criminal come to steal the war treasures, this museum, over several floors, covers Latvian involvement in various wars through the ages. Most of it is really quite dry, a fact not helped by the Latvian text.

    Only one part of the museum, the section on World War II, has English text, which for such a national museum is rather disappointing. The museum is housed in the famous Powder Tower in the Old Town.

    The museum is free, so worth popping in on a rainy afternoon.

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  • tini58de's Profile Photo

    The Powder Tower - Pulvertornis

    by tini58de Written Oct 9, 2007

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    The Powder Tower is a part of the former fortification system that surrounds Riga. It was built in the 14th century and was originally called Sand Tower (Smilsu Tornis), because the only (sand) street through the marshes ended here. From the 17th century on it was called Powder Tower, since this was the place where the powder had been kept.

    The diameter of this round tower is a little over 14 m, the height is 25.6 m, and the width of the walls is some incredible 3m!

    Since 1919 the Latvian War Museum is located inside the tower.

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    Powder Tower - Pulvertoris

    by Airpunk Written Aug 4, 2007

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    Powder Tower

    There isn’t much left of medieval Riga – The city is better known for its art noveau architecture. Of the 18 towers from the former city wall, there’s only one left: The 14th century - Powder Tower. And that one is a little hidden too. Between all the buildings, it stands somewhere in the northeast of the old town. In 1621, the tower was heavily damaged, but in 1650 it was fully rebuilt again. As its name might suggest, it did not serve only as a defence structure, but also for the storage of gunpowder. Throughout the centuries, the purpose it was used for changed. Prison cells, torture chambers and even a party room were situated in there. Today, the museum of war (which I didn’t visit) is located in there. A couple of cannonballs can still be seen in the wall of this tower.

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    Powder Tower

    by bijo69 Written Feb 13, 2007

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    The powder tower is the only remaining of the 29 towers which were part of the city fortifications. It was first mentioned in 1330 and was used to store the gunpowder in the 17th century, hence its name.
    Today it houses the War Museum, which I didn't visit.

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  • into-thin-air's Profile Photo

    "The Powder Tower"

    by into-thin-air Written Nov 10, 2006

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    Just along the road from The Swedish Gate is "The Powder Tower", a building has stood in the same place since the 14th century, Originally called "The sand Tower" but renamed "The Powder Tower" when used to store gunpowder in the 1500's.
    Another photo opportunity

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  • call_me_rhia's Profile Photo

    Powder Tower

    by call_me_rhia Updated Sep 13, 2006
    ivy on the tower

    The Powder Tower (Pulvertornis in Latvian) is a red brick tower unique in the city, and very suggestive. It's one of the oldest building left in town, although it has been rebuilt.

    it dates back to the 14th century but most of it was destroyed by the Swedish tropps when they invaded the city in 1621. It was rebuilt soon after in 1650, and walls 2.5 metrres wide were added for further protection.

    In the tower there are nine Russian cannonballs embedded in its walls and it is now the home of the city's War Museum.

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  • cheekymarieh's Profile Photo

    Powder Tower

    by cheekymarieh Updated Aug 19, 2006

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    The tower is part of the old fortifications of old Riga and it dates back to the 14th century. With Riga's war torn past it has been destroyed and plundered on several occasions. After it was destroyed by the Swedes in 1621 there were only the foundations of rock remaining. Rebuilding began in 1650 and this time efforts were made to make it last - with walls of 2.5 metres thick they certainly did their best and the exterior still remains - though around it there are now nine Russian cannonballs added as decoration! Today the interior forms part of the War Museum.

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