Central Market (Riga)



Prāgas iela


Description of the Central Market

The Central Market (Latvian: Centrāltirgus, formerly Russian Market) in Riga is one of the oldest and largest markets in Europe, distinguished by the original design of the pavilions. The area of the market is 5.7 hectares.



For a long time, on the territory of the Moscow outskirts of Riga, there was a Russian market, next to which the Riga-Ryn Orthodox Church and the first Russian school in Livonia, the Riga Catherine School (1789), were built.

Even before the First World War, the mayor of Riga, George Armitstead, planned a complete reconstruction of the main city market, which at that time was located on the Daugava embankment. The history of this market has more than five centuries. The project for the construction of a new market was adopted in 1910, but due to the outbreak of the First World War, its implementation had to be postponed. It also failed to implement plans to build a railway line between the city canal and the Red Barns area.

After the war, already in the early 1920s, the city authorities were forced to return to the project of a new market. The old market, which occupied an area of ​​22,000 m², did not meet elementary requirements for a long time. Food in street stalls could not be stored for a long time: according to statistics, the annual damage from food spoilage was approximately 2 million lats. The delivery and unloading of goods was also difficult, which caused considerable inconvenience to the owners of outlets in the old market.

Hangars for zeppelins
Therefore, on December 28, 1922, the Riga City Council decided to build a new city market. For these purposes, it was supposed to purchase hangars for storing zeppelins, which were located far from Riga, in the military town of Vainode. In wartime, these hangars were abandoned by the Kaiser's Iron Division, and in peacetime they stood empty and unclaimed.

To adapt the hangars to the needs of the market, a competition was announced, which received seven projects. The project of the architect Pauls Dreimanis was recognized as the best, which provides for not just the reorganization of the hangar structures. The author approached the task more broadly and developed a project to create a new model of the Riga market. This project was approved, and students of the University of Latvia began to develop it. The direct executors were the engineers G. Tolstoy, V. Isaev, and the organizer of the work was the architect P. Pavlov. These people worked under the direct supervision of the commission for the construction of the market complex.

The project stipulated that five hangars had to be turned into five pavilions for trade. One, the largest pavilion, was supposed to accommodate meat processing rooms and a space for wholesale trade. Retailers were given a separate pavilion for the "meat business". The other two pavilions sold fish, dairy and meat products, and the last one was equipped for selling everything else - fruits, vegetables, broken poultry, confectionery.

In June 1924, two red barns were demolished, but it soon became clear that the amounts requested for construction were significantly higher than the original cost estimate. This caused a protest from the municipality, and the construction was temporarily frozen. Since 1928, it has been renewed and entered the final stage. November 2, 1930 can be considered the birthday of the largest covered market in Northern Europe. He also automatically took the first line in the ranking of the largest buildings in Riga before the Second World War.

Initially, it was assumed that the market for such an original design would inevitably arouse interest among the guests of the capital - and it turned out. And at present, the five pavilions of the Central Market of Riga can be considered unique in their own way. In total, six hangars have been preserved in Europe, of which five were adapted for the needs of trade. In the constructions of the pavilions, one can see the features of functional modernity, neoclassical style, which was widespread in Riga before the war. Some details of the facades are decorated in the Art Deco style. Under the pavilions, underground storages and refrigeration units are equipped.

The market in the Soviet period
In Soviet times, the markets became collective farms, while the possibility of trading in the products of household plots remained. In the mid-1970s, only 62 trading places on the Central Market were occupied by collective farms, and 800 by individual farmers. At the same time, there were 144 outlets of state organizations selling industrial goods on the market, while 21 collective farms were waiting in line to provide a place for trade. The authorities were concerned about the fact that there were not enough hotel places on the territory of the market to accommodate traders.

The markets were subordinated to the profile department of the Ministry of Trade of the Latvian SSR. However, by the beginning of the 1980s, there were 5 markets in Riga: 4 historical markets (Central, Matveevsky, Agenskalns and Chiekurkalns) and one new one - in the Vecmilgravis microdistrict. Despite the fact that 40-50 markets opened annually in the republic, not a single one was opened in Riga for 50 years. The standard - 2 trading places on the market for every thousand inhabitants - was only 80% fulfilled in the capital. Therefore, the institute "Latgiprogorstroy" has developed a project for the development of collective farm markets in Riga. First of all, it provided for the improvement of working conditions in the markets, of which only 7 out of 51 stationary premises had heating, including 3 markets in Riga. It was planned to connect the Central Market to the CHPP.

The Decree of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR "On additional measures to expand the sale of fruits and vegetables by collective farms, state farms and other agricultural enterprises to consumer cooperation organizations and in collective farm markets" (1982) allowed these organizations to sell their products in the markets not at state, but at contractual prices in the amount of not more than 10% of the planned production and above-plan production without restrictions. Restrictions on the export and sale of vegetables, melons, fruits and berries and other products from other republics of the Soviet Union were also lifted, which increased the supply of these products to the markets.

In the markets of Riga and in other parts of the city there were shops of the association “Rigaplodoovoshch”, which delivered potatoes and vegetables to the house.

Total area: 5.9 ha.
Covered area: 1.6 ha.
The length of the tunnel connecting the pavilions: 339 meters.
Total sewerage length: 2350 meters.
Length of external plumbing structure: 1000 meters.
Used in construction:
bricks: 6 million
cement: 70,000 barrels.
iron: 2470 tons.
Treasury spent: a little over 5 million lats.