House of the Blackheads

House of the Blackheads

The centre of Riga and the place from where most photos are taken can be found at the historic building of the House of the Blackheads (Latvian: Melngalvju nams).

The landmark of the Old Town can be found at the Town Hall Square - Rātslaukums.

The building was built as early as 1334 and was originally intended as a meeting place and banquet hall for Riga merchants. Today it is the venue for various exhibitions and large-scale displays, concerts and other events.

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The house was destroyed during World War II and was completely restored in 1999.

You will see here, for example:

  • the building's splendid facade, which contains several architectural styles
  • works by artists, weapons and armour and replicas of 19th century furnishings
  • a museum in a medieval cellar
  • historical objects that belonged to the Brotherhood of the Blackheads

Opening hours and entrance fees

The House of the Blackheads is open every day of the week, from 10:00 to 17:00.

The basic entrance fee is as follows:

  • adult 7 eur
  • children, students and seniors 5 eur
  • preschool children free of charge

All detailed information, including an overview of current exhibitions, can be found on the official website

What else to see in the square

The following sights are still worth noticing on the square itself:

Roland's statue

The statue of the Riga military leader Roland is in the very centre of the square and cannot be missed. The current pedestal is a fountain.

The original statue was carved out of wood in the 14th century, but unfortunately has not survived. The present sandstone statue was created in 1894 and the interesting fact is that it is not in the square but in the nearby St Peter's Church.

The first Christmas tree

The first mention of a decorated Christmas tree dates back to 1510. Originally, the tree was decorated with artificial roses and after a short dancing ceremony it was lit. The roses were used as a symbol of the Virgin Mary.

Today there is a stone monument in the floor of the square and a small iron Christmas tree on top of it.

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