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  About Riga / History of Riga / Tales and Stories / Legends  

Doves on the Gunpowder Tower

The Gunpowder Tower, earlier called the Sand Tower (it is thought that this name originated from the nearby sand dunes), was one of the most important defensive structures of Riga, since it protected the main overland road approaching Riga. It is first mentioned in chronicles in 1330 and from 1650 it stored gunpowder. After the fortifications were reconstructed, the tower remained deserted and many doves settled there. In 1892, the student corporation “Rubonia” asked the town council to give them the Tower. The town authorities permitted this on the condition that the building should be renovated, preserving its outer appearance. To everyone’ s surprise, the students cleaned the tower from the doves’ s excrement, which had accumulated there over the centuries. They then sold the excrement and gained 612 gold rubbles for the repair of the tower.
The tower has preserved its military importance to the present day - currently it is the home of the Latvian War Museum.

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