Maskavas Forštate (German: Moskauer Vorstadt) also known as Maskavas priekšpilsēta and colloquially as Maskačka, is a suburb of Riga situated on the right bank of the Daugava. The neighborhood is located to the south of the old city of Riga along the road historically connecting Riga to Moscow, from which its name is derived.
The history of Maskavas Forštate, whose name in English literally means the Moscow suburb goes back to at least the 14th century, in some parts the medieval street network has been preserved.
Architecturally, the neighborhood reflects its history as an area of Russian, Belarusian and Jewish migration, especially characteristic wooden homes.
During the Nazi occupation of Riga, the neighborhood was turned into a ghetto for Jews. Today, there are memorials on the site of the Great Choral Synagogue and the old Jewish cemetery. Most of the prewar buildings remain standing.
In the 1980s and 1990s the area developed a reputation for drug abuse and criminal activity. New buildings, offices, shops and the migration of local families have changed the district’s economic profile in the 21st century.
By 2008, Maskavas Forštate had an average level of criminality along with the Centre and Old Riga. The Ministry of the Interior divided Riga into 9 districts with the following levels of criminality:
- 2 HIGH (more than 2900 criminal offences). Located in the periphery of Riga.
- 4 AVERAGE (between 2100 and 2700 criminal offences). Centre, Old Riga, Maskavas Forštate.
- 3 LOW (less than 1700 criminal offences). Purvciems, Mežaparks (One of the wealthier areas of Riga).
Based on the number of criminal offences against foreigners, Maskavas Forštate was the 3rd safest district in Riga according to the statistics.
The area has a notable legacy of diverse religious buildings, reflecting its history as a destination for numerous migrants.
- The Lutheran Jesus Church is the biggest wooden classical building in Latvia.
- Grebenstchikov Old Believer house of prayer is the largest in the world.
Protected Heritage status for older wooden houses has prevented their demolition, and a process of gentrification is underway.
Lomonosova Street (lv) is the location of a cluster of higher education institutions.
- Baltic International Academy
- Transport and Telecommunication Institute
- ISMA University
- College of Economics and Culture (lv)
The suburb is defined by the Riga–Daugavpils Railway which borders it on the north and east along with marshaling yards. If the Rail Baltica project is competed as planned in Riga, part of the railway embankment separating the suburb from the city centre will be replaced by an overpass bridge, greatly restoring access to the suburb.
In popular culture
The 1995 adaption of The Dogs of Riga featured scenes set at Riga Central Market. In the 2012 adaptation, featuring Kenneth Branagh, the main character visits Latgale market on Firsa Sadovņikova street.
St. Francis Catholic Church and school
Ruins of the Great Choral Synagogue
Academy of Sciences building
Central Market and railway tracks
- Ministry of the Interior Statistic year 2008
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Maskavas Forštate.|
- Riga historical encyclopaedia
- Latgale suburb area history in Latvian language
- The Virtual Jewish History Tour History of the Riga ghetto