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Riga-800. 16th Century
Price: € 60.00Add to cart
Riga's coat of arms of the 16th century, supported by two lions, is featured in the centre of the coin by matting the metal to different degrees. The year 1996, numeral 10 and inscription LATU (lats) are placed beneath the motif.
The panorama of Riga is depicted in the centre of the coin by matting the metal to different degrees. The inscription XVI GS. (16th century), arranged in a semicircle, is to the left of the central motif. The inscription RIGA-800 is placed beneath the motif.
The inscriptions LATVIJAS REPUBLIKA (Republic of Latvia) and LATVIJAS BANKA (Bank of Latvia), separated by rhombic dots.
The 16th century was characterized by wars fought for religious and territorial reasons.
The Reformation movement, started by Martin Luther in Germany at the beginning of the 16th century, had reached Riga by 1521. Lutheranism gained broad support, as it gave rise to the hope that Riga could free itself of the Livonian Order. The result of the catholic clergy's fervent opposition was its banishment from Riga in 1523. With their departure, wanton destruction of unique sacral art was begun. The 30-year long confrontation between Catholicism and Lutheranism ended with the proclamation of religious freedom in Riga in 1535 and in Livonia in 1554.
The second half of the 16th century was dominated by the 25-year long Livonian War, which began in 1558. The Russian tsar Ivan IV the Terrible led his army to the Baltic with the aim of gaining an outlet to the Baltic Sea. After the Livonian Confederation had fallen, the territory of Livonia came under the rule of Sweden and the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania. Riga, however, remained independent for another 20 years (1562-1581). Riga surrendered to the King of Poland only on condition that it could keep its privileges. On March 12, 1582, King Stephen Bathory of Poland triumphantly entered the city gates. Riga became a Polish city.
Humanism, brought to Riga with the Reformation in the 16th century, influenced the city's cultural life. In 1524 the first Latvian Lutheran congregation was founded at St. Jacob's Church and Riga City Library was opened. In 1588 book printing was begun. At the same time, tribunals against alleged witches also were held in Riga, and the city's main square became the location for many executions.
The coin's reverse shows the oldest woodcut of Riga (1547) depicting its skyline.
The coin's obverse features Riga's 16th-century coat of arms supported by two lions.