As with so many churches in the Baltic countries, the Orthodox Nativity of Christ Cathedral has had a varied life. Situated in a park called Esplanade, the Cathedral was built between 1876 and 1883 when Latvia was part of Russia and has the distinction of being the largest Orthodox cathedral in the Baltics.
During World War I, the occupying German forces turned the Cathedral into a Lutheran church. When Latvia attained independence in 1921, the Cathedral was returned to the Orthodox faith for the first time. However, along with many other churches, the atheist Soviet regime turned the Cathedral into a secular attraction in the 1960s, converting it into a planetarium. Finally, the Cathedral was restored to the Orthodox faith again, when Latvia regained independence in 1991.
The Cathedral has five outstanding golden cupolas and is about five minutes walk past the Freedom Monument on Brivibas Buvaris. Nearby is a statue of the Commander-in-chief of Russian forces against Napoleon, Barclay de Tolley.
Julian has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at http://www.photographersdirect.com/sellers/details.asp?portfolio=13734