ORIGINS OF THE MODERN CENTER OF RIGA
Skanste has had a long quiet existence next to the Quiet and Historical Centers of Riga. Even though it is one of the most recently reclaimed central neighborhoods of Riga, information about it is found even in the 13th century sources, which mention a road that led to the pasture from what we currently call the Old Town – in what is now contemporary Skanste, once the horses and cattle of Rigans once used to graze.
first information about the Skanste neighborhood in historical sources
the first race track unveiled in Skanste
Arena Riga opened
The place name Skanste is said to refer to an earthen fortification wall ('skansts') that sergeant Alexander Menshikov had had made in the vicinity of present day Skanstes Street as per instructions of the Russian Czar Peter the Great.
From a horse pasture, Skanste later became the location for two race courses to be replaced by numerous kitchen gardens. At the end of present day Grostonas Street, the race course of the Riga Racing Sport Society was opened in 1891 to be followed by another one next to Ganību dambis. After the First World War, only the former was renovated, and it functioned until 1965.
For over 100 years, Skanste was populated by kitchen gardens, yet at the beginning of the 21st century, a new multifunctional sports arena was built by Merks construction firm to house the 2006 World Hockey Championships. That opened a whole new page in the Skanste story.
The era of pastures, meadows and kitchen gardens is now in the past to be replaced by a contemporary urban environment conducive to a true urban lifestyle. In the course of just one decade, a number of state-of-the-art buildings important for the Riga infrastructure have sprung up, including sports arenas, offices and elegant apartments. The quality, architectonic value and good location of these buildings as well as the well organized environment all serve to attract an increasing number of Rigans who are proud to call Skanste their home.