Dome clock starts ticking again

  • 2001-08-16
  • Ilze Arklina
RIGA - Anticipating the city's 800th anniversary this weekend, the capital's central clock, the Riga Dome Cathedral's clock, was brought back to life again on Aug. 10.

The four-faced clock, which has been silent for five years, was renovated thanks to a 11,500 lat ($18,250) donation by Procter&Gamble Marketing Latvia.

"Riga, this beautiful lady, which is celebrating its 800th jubilee, needs to know the right time,"said Egons Plavnieks, the company's executive director. "The Riga Dome with its gilded rooster and clock, is the symbol and main decoration of Riga. We thought it unacceptable for this symbol to be incomplete, so we decided to help fix it."

The German company Turmuhren Nidermayer rebuilt the clock's mechanics - its gears, steering system and wiring up. Taking care to maintain the clock's historical look, its hands were changed as well.

The clock is now receiving a radio signal from the atomic clock in Braunschveig, Germany. A special antenna to receive the signal has been erected, but precisely how well it works only time will tell, Astrida Pantele, chairwoman of the Riga Dome Support Foundation, told The Baltic Times. The clock's renovators have said that weather changes will not affect it.

The first clock for the Riga Dome Cathedral was built in 1596, when its tower was renovated after a fire. In 1779, the mechanical clock was replaced by a sundial made in Bremen. At the end of the 19th century, a mechanical clock was put in again. This was reconstructed in 1938.

Not much information exists on its fate during World Wars Iand II, but in the 1970s the clock got a Russian-made electronic steering system.