The building of the Riga Circus is one of the oldest purpose-built circus buildings in Europe. And, indeed, walking along the bustling Merķeļa Street past it, the building seems to have always stood there and it has long become part of Riga.
The first season began in the circus building in 1888 when, commissioned by the businessman Albert Salamonsky, the house topped with an overwhelming dome was opened in the very centre of the city next to Vērmane’s Garden. To have the intended shape of the building, rails were used as structural elements, proving through the architecture that in the circus everything was possible.
The circus building was designed by Jānis Frīdrihs Baumanis, the first professional Latvian architect. The house could accommodate up to 1,700 spectators, and it was used not only for circus performances, but also as a venue for concerts, gatherings and cinema shows.
The Riga Circus is an architectural monument of national significance and as such the building is under the state protection. In the coming years, the Riga Circus will be renovated in order to become a multifunctional art centre and a contemporary venue for circus performances, as it was originally planned.
The SLLC Rīgas cirks manages and maintains the historic building of the Riga Circus and its adjoining territory at Merķeļa iela 4 under the contract of 6 June 2017 on the transfer of the national immovable property located at Merķeļa iela 4, in Riga, for free use of property.