Information for visitors
ABOUT THE BLACK HEADS HOUSE
The Black Heads House was built in the 1334 as the central meeting place for local merchants. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in Riga, with a unique legacy of the Black Heads brotherhood that was established here at the end of the 14th century, along with the existing merchants’ guild. The young and joyful foreign merchants united in the brotherhood organised splendid events, later becoming honourable members of the local community. As time passed the house began to host visits of foreign kings and other noble guests and continues to fulfil this task up to today – concerts, balls, gala dinners and diplomatic receptions are frequently organised here. Now every visitor has the chance to explore the exhibition about the history and economic development of Riga City.
A historically original part of the house that was built in 1334. Cellar was used by merchants as a storage place. Wine supplies and other trading goods were stored here – grain, leather, linen, honey, wax and much more. A hypocaust or hot air stove was installed here to provide heating during the cold winter months, which is open for viewing. Now you have the chance to get to know the history of the Black Heads house and the brotherhood. Informative activities make it easy to get familiar with the characteristics and elements of the house.
The historical cabinets of the Black Heads House are representing the 19th century interior. Day by day meetings, important decision-making and bookkeeping were held here. A collection of sophisticated tobacco boxes, and the once largest collection of refined silverware in the Baltics can also be seen in the cabinets. During Presidents castle renovation from 2012 to 2016 leader of the Country worked here.
HALLS AND COMPOSERS’ GALLERY
The magnificent Assembly hall and the splendid Lubeck hall, along with the composers’ gallery. In detailed carved wooden frames, paintings of kings and rulers from the past have witnessed countless concerts of local artists. A masterpiece of ornamental and monumental art is depicted on the ceiling – “Apotheosis of St. Maurice”. Next to the halls there is a gallery with busts of eight foreign and four Latvian composers. They remind us of how much the Black heads loved art and the music that was played here. From the year 1837 to 1839 the German composer Richard Wagner lived and organised concerts in Riga and has left an indelible mark on Latvian musical development.
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