Izbaudi Rīgu

The House of the Blackheads

A new exhibition is being set up at the House of the Blackheads.

The House of the Blackheads, originally called the New House, was built in 1334. It has been reconstructed several times from 1522, when stones where set next to the doors, to the late-19th century, when lion figures where set above the front doors and St. George's figure appeared in the annex.

The House of Blackheads was set up as a meeting and party venue for various Riga public organisations. In the 17th century it was occupied only by the foreign, mostly German, traders — the Blackheads' society. One of their patrons was St. Maurice, the leader of the Roman Legion, who was executed by decapitation. Thus a black head became the society's symbol and was portrayed in their coat of arms.

The House of the Blackheads, which is regarded as the most beautiful building in Riga, just like the Town Hall were destroyed in the World War II. After the war, there was great interest on the House of the Blackheads and several projects for its reconstruction were drafted.

In 1991 St. Peter's Church hosted a memorial exhibition for the House of the Blackheads and the society. In 1992 archaeological excavations began here and in 1995 a special book on the history of the House of the Blackheads and the society was published. This gave rise to the process of rebuilding of the house which finished in 1999.