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It is necessary to guess only how the idea to construct in 1888 year could come to mind, in Riga, a circus building using railway rails? It was something improbable, after all auditors watching civil work in the certificates have specified that for increase of safety of a building it is necessary to use at building only new rails. The talented architect and the innovator in the business of Jan Fridrih Baumanis together with resourceful businessman Albert Salamonsky have created a magnificent tandem which has served that one of the oldest circus buildings in Europe was constructed during time. All also HAS begun with that moment!

Rīgas 1864. gada plānā redzama vieta koka cirka ēkai iepretim Vērmanes dārzam. Zinot, kur mūsdienās atrodas valdības un tiesas nams, vēsturnieki mēdz jokot, ka šeit redzams izskaidrojums, kāpēc attiecībā uz valstsvīru darbu tik bieži tiek piesaukts cirka vārds.

At some instant the arena is overflowed with sounds of an orchestra and thousand interested eyes wait for something unexpected. Gymnasts, trainers, acrobats and clowns... Sounds of an applause do not abate in the Riga circus since December, 29th of 1888 year that is when Albert Salamonsky, at last, managed to open a new stationary building for the circus. To peripetias round building of a new building of circus like there was no also an end, however in some hours all of them were forgot, after all the first season of the Riga Circus has begun! Not absolutely so that inhabitants of Riga never saw before circus. After all the first going on tour circus troupes with the tents have appeared in Riga already in 70х years of the 18th century. At first it were numbers of the gymnasts dancing on a wire, numbers with the trained horses, and then, little by little, numbers and with other animals, numbers of acrobats, fighters, athletes and clowns have started to appear. Approximately in 1864 year, opposite to the Vermansky garden in Riga, approximately in that place where now there is a government and court building, the first time wooden circus building in which during summer seasons circus troupes from Europe with the representations went on tour has been erected.

Spectators in delight

The new stationary building of circus it is remarkable! It corresponds to the building requirements of a modern building and even more. At first sight looks primitively enough, however this construction is capable to sustain the highest loadings which are possible at carrying out of various performances. It provides in an original way designed dome. Designs of the arches of a building of circus, and also an auditorium skid foot are made from railway a rail. The first spectators of "the house of entertainments» were from it lost in admiration. Certainly, after all the internal space of a premise is thoroughly shined with magnificent gas lamps from carved glass. Seats are conveniently placed one after another, a number behind a number, on an auditorium circle. For musicians own well visible platform here is created. The increased interest of public to new entertainment, Salamonsky very much was pleasant. Having felt benefit, Salamonsky with a scent of the present businessman, declares continuation of representations, promising all new and new miracles on an arena. Last two days of leaving 1888 year after the triumphal premiere, public became even more. People resulted with themselves of kiddies on special children's representations. And on 31st of December at gala performance Salamonsky has deduced in an arena of tens masterly equestrians on horses. Were so both acrobats, and dancers, and ridiculous clowns, and so unique number Adele Rozi - dizzy jumps through 20 rings. Salamonsky has planned two representations and 1st of January, inviting all to laugh over jokes of new clowns. “That it for circus if public laughs a little,” is told by the director. In the first season to Riga he invites the most popular to tours at that time actors from Europe. Soon in an arena there are the most popular fakirs, the most popular clowns, and unique numbers with lions and elephants. So it was specified and in posters.

Alberts Salamonskis ar saviem mīluļiem 1900. gadā

Descendant of a known dynasty

At that time when the history of the Riga circus has begun, to Albert Salamonsky 50 years have knocked. At it the circus in Berlin and Moscow so, there is also a soil underfoot. Not casually Albert who has born in 1839 already since the earliest childhood comprehended elements of circus craft. His father of a German origin Wilhelm the Salamonsky magnificent equestrian and the trainer of horses, and mother Julia - the descendant widely known in Europe and an influential circus dynasty to the Penalty. Albert from the father adopts ability to do a somersault on a game, learns secrets and receptions of training of animals well and shortly creates also own troupe. At 30 summer age Albert Salamonsky is fixed in Germany, and thanks to the organising abilities and talent of the businessman, in the early seventies, already thinks of a gain of the Russian empire. Before Salamonsky already has had time to marry. In 1868 on June, 18th he swears eternal fidelity the Tench Schwarz - the young, promising circus dancer. Skill of solo number the Tench consisted that it, standing on a back lynx of a running horse could hold balance, standing on fingers of feet. In Riga, the name Salamonsky, has sounded for the first time far not in connection with circus. In the early seventies newspapers shouted and invited interested persons to a new attraction “Hippodrom Salamonsky”. Public here is very sympathetic, and consequently in the summer of 1873 the magnificent horseman and the trainer appears again in Riga, but already with the circus troupe. Representations passed on an arena in a wooden time building opposite to the Vermansky garden. But it has appeared to the owner of it a little. Salamonsky has desire to build in Riga a stationary, stone building of circus. By the way, even before building of circus Albert Salamonsky represented to inhabitants of Riga other entertaining noteworthy programs. In one of them there was a following: after 12 most different circus numbers public was entertained by cheerful music and 18 clowns, and the carnival on ice in 14 certificates further has been declared.

Building was tightened for long ten years

Arhitekta J. F. Baumaņa 1888. gadā zīmētais cirka galvenā korpusa šķērsgriezumsOne of important points has occurred on July, 1st, 1878. That day ambitious Salamonsky has met the fellow countryman Juliusa a background of Lashchevski. The citizen of Prussia has back bought month the vacant parcel between the Big and Small street (nowadays between street G. Merķeļa and street A. Kalniņa), also wanted it to resell... Being expressed by modern words - this ground piece was with obremeneniem - that is with a building interdiction for it of factories or warehouses. But for what, factory or warehouses to the director of circus? And here, Salamonsky already signs the contract of purchase and sale and is already ready to begin designing. Two years later the Riga building justice confirms Charles Johana Felsko's project, and May, 20th, 1880 the director obtains the permit to building carrying out. However, neither in it, nor next year stone masons, carpenters or other workers on the property Salamonsky it has not been noticed. It appears, at this time he is engaged in building of a building of circus in Moscow and prepares for its solemn opening on October, 20th, 1880. On the circus premiere the director has shaken public 14th by the trained stallions and has presented to public of adopted son Fredi. Probably, the businessman felt that it is necessary to put a maximum of efforts for circus development in Moscow, after all then it can be financially independent.

Moscow circus built without money

Circus historians notice that fact that Salamonsky built a circus building in Moscow when in its purse the wind whistled. And the circus actually at own expense, within a year, was built by a certain merchant on a surname Danilov. Later, merchants were the most frequent visitors in circus Salamonsky and were the basic circle of its dialogue. The owner understands, what has too sat up in an office of the director behind snack and binge. At that very moment he also remembers about Riga. From Great Britain it has brought the best running horses in on solar summer Sundays arranged jumps on the improvised hippodrome on the Esplanade. While in Moscow to triumph there are circus miracles, 1883 has approached to architect Felsko it is necessary to invite the Riga building justice again to confirm the project developed by it as it is demanded by building rules. And it receives. Refusal. Being based on accidents of last years, employees of management believe that the theatre, circus or another for a society is necessary for building a significant building so that to avoid building in a densely populated part of a city. The parcel Salamonsky is in such place, and a cause of a failure in that that building of a new building is undesirable because of threat of safety of the next buildings. Expectation of repeated acknowledgement of the project takes three years. And when it, at last, occurs, the director does not hasten to begin building...

Salamonsky develops a red muleta
BaumanisFrom the moment of a land acquisition has passed 10 years and consequently Salamonsky it is necessary to finish building of the Riga circus at any cost. Can there was it because in Moscow business went not so well, it had a set of strong contenders... The Whole 12 months in 1888 the mad roundabout of civil work was turned, during this term and the new stationary circus in Riga was born. Salamonsky already could begin building under the project of Felsko, but it did not do it. One of the possible reasons - the project which already obsolete many having lain many years on a table at the architect and in the Riga building justice. Therefore approximately since 1886 work on the project was started by architect Jan Fridrih Baumanis popular at that time.The building committee, for the first time, so - has not confirmed the new project of Baumanis, and building construction permits has not been received up to October. However opening of new circus has occurred on 29th of December. There was it for one simple reason - Salamonsky built without the permission. And even more - he orders to builders to create a temporary wooden arena on the lot, and in the end of May posters convokes public on circus representations in a new place. Undoubtedly, this fact became as a muleta for a bull. Newspapers almost every other day inform, details that occurs on a building site of new circus. Checks followed one another. One check resolves something, another forbids something, and so was almost every day. Contrary to all work here does not stop neither in the afternoon, nor at night, and here, on 29th of May in time wooden construction passes the prime minister. All tickets are sold also public as always lost in admiration. Actually especially successful it is impossible to name this representation. One of equestrians in a jump has not successfully landed on a back of a horse and has strongly damaged to itself a foot. And here only in the middle of October, 1888 at town council claims to Salamonsky vanish, but it was more important that categorically there were no armchairs. Auditors from management were surprised to a unique dome from railway a rail, considering however all trifles kept away from the project. And such were. And not noticed these trifles did not remain. Under the order of auditor Badhes, the Riga building justice sends the letter to Vizdemsky building management - therefore as the city refuses from what or responsibility for safety of a new building. Instead of the answer the province creates the special commission which in the beginning of December «touches on stones» new construction, to each trifle and comes to a conclusion that a building all the same strong enough. Every possible checks proceeded and in 1889 but then Salamonsky already could stop nothing.

Lina adopts board

For Latvians the new stationary building of circus is an impulse for development and circus art prosperity. Even more often in circus aaplets, among surnames of going on tour actors there were also local surnames. Latvians became the first enthusiasts in Greco-Roman wrestling on brightly shined arena. Habitants of Riga Ferdinand Dreving and Juhan Lejmanis so were torn to new achievements that Salamonsky it has taken away separate staff room. There children lifted in the evenings heavy weights and studied in martial arts. Some of circus fighters became the first champions in wrestling later. In the nineties 19 centuries all circus economy Salamonsky on the sly pass to Linа. Their Family Salamonsky basically lives in Russia, however and Riga is favourite by them not less that confirms that fact that Lina-Shvarts Salamonska in 1839 on October, 19th comes to Riga that in a circus building to note the 50 summer anniversaries and simultaneously 25 summer experience of work.“ Improbable and deep representation! ”The newspaper“ Dienas Lapa later writes ”. Memoirs store about high and harmonious madam Salamonski about such descriptions, successful, impregnable and the most important - the wise and beautiful woman. Last years Salamonsky did not appear any more on arena and led rather shut life. Public saw it few times when the mister the director took place the honourable circle on an arena or the hall looked out because of side scenes that with one, on the other hand. Having left from light spotlights, it disappears in the office, removes a dress coat and silently, hastens to leave circus to spend quiet and lonely evening in one of the favourite restaurants.

Riches - of the parlourmaid

In a beginning of the 20 century when Russia was saddened by revolution, Salamonsky leaves circus on which there is only his name. The Riga circus as in the late nineties, and in the first years of the 20th century has worried some interesting reorganisations and completions, but this initiative all seems, people replaced Salamonsky more practise. The last years the circus founder spends being burnt with a diabetes which tried to cure in the south, for example in solar Nice where it posessed a holiday house. But alas it has not helped also Salamonsky dies in Moscow on June, 22nd, 1913, having left all property of the former parlourmaid of wife Liny Vilhemine Straupe named Simply mine. Newspapers have not mentioned Albert Salamonsky's death, and this fact remained nezamechen - certainly, after all last years the life the founder of circuses in Moscow, in Berlin and Riga of cable cores is very remote from a society. The circus in Riga kept a name Salomonsky till 1941 year. And then in the history of circus absolutely other stage has begun.

The circus Building, is auditorium (an orchestra on 580 places and an amphitheatre on 450 places) with an arena (diameter almost 12) and a dome over it (working height 11), spectator foyer and wardrobe, a training hall for actors, premises for animals, including an elephant house (a maximum - for 6 elephants) and 2 stalls (a maximum - for 30 horses), 20 make-up rooms of rooms, electroshop, premises for the sound technician, the costumier, an operating crew and administration. The order of the Ministry of culture Nr.126 from 11.11.2003. The building of the Riga circus is a monument of architecture of the state value. Trials and researches on durability and qualities railway a rail and structural components confirm that our old circus can serve still for a long time.

Representations in the Riga circus are spent within all year, but traditionally winter season (since October on the end of March) is important and responsible. At this time representations are spent regularly every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Actors of the different countries participate in programs together with actors of Latvia. A principle of creation of representations of our circus: that it was interesting both to adults and children..

Latvian circus actors are supported by Riga Circus and are famous in many countries of the world and Europe. They are not prohibited to prepare their own performances, are offered the professional support of producers, choreographs or genre professionals, allowing to keep their animals in the circus.And now in the Riga circus the Circus studio is created. It has opened in 2008 and waits for all wishing to learn circus skill.


As the founder of the European circus consider baron De-Bach.

18. gadsimta beigās kontinentālo Eiropu sasniedza intriģējošas ziņas par britu lielisko izklaidi, skatoties arēnā zirgu dresūras izrādes un citus trikus. Modernā cirka dibinātāja Filipa Estlija iedvesmoti, daudzi cirka mākslas entuziasti steidza izmēģināt ko līdzīgu. Starp pirmajiem celmlaužiem šajā jomā bija Kurzemē dzimušais Kristofs de Bahs (1768 –1834). Desmit gadu vecumā viņš aizbēga no mājām, lai pievienotos kādai ceļojošo jātnieku trupai un Eiropā apgūtu jāšanas mākslu. Vēlāk viņš izveidoja pats savutrupu un ceļoja ar to pa Vāciju, Austriju un Krieviju. 1808. gadā Vīnē de Bahs uzcēla stacionāru cirka ēku no koka un nosauca to par “Circus gymnasticus”. 1831. gadā avīzes sludināja, ka slavenais “Circus gymnasticus” ierodas arī Rīgā. Kad trīs gadus vēlāk pavasarī de Bahs nomira, viņu godināja kā slavenam cirka māksliniekam pienākas. Vīnes manēžā pavadītāju lielo pūli noslēdza balsts zirgs – viņa mīļākais.

In a building of circus not only circus
The circus building constructed in 1888 year contains in itself about 1700 spectators. It was one of the first and main places of mass entertainments in a city. And consequently the building was used not only for carrying out of circus representations, but also for different other actions. For example, in 1890 in a circus ring the concert of chorus of Ernest Wagner has taken place. Success this action has not crowned also a hall was almost empty. “Dienas Lapa” wrote later that that fact is obvious that this building at all does not approach for carrying out of such evenings, and its people see exclusively as a premise for carrying out of bright circus representations.

One more historical not circus evening has occurred in a circus building in 1895 year. The well-known brothers of Ogjust and Lui Ljumer have brought from Paris big the wonderful first film and have presented it on court of the Riga public. Interesting action has passed in a circus building and on December, 6th 1924 year. Here have gathered government officials to discuss a question on the further plans of a raising of a standard of living and a question of reduction of quantity of civil servants. However in hot discussions they have come to a conclusion that it is necessary «not to arrange for the state of superfluous difficulties» and instead will go on demonstration. As have made...

We express huge gratitude of Ilze Grinuma for the fine text (magazine "Ilustrētā Vēsture"), other materials are used with the permission of the director of the Riga Circus of Lolita Lipinski. Many thanks of Valde Kvasovske for archival materials "Alberta Salamonska cirks Rīgā"

Old posters...

Look hystorycal old Riga Circus posters(here...)