The House of the Blackheads is rightly considered to be the most beautiful building of Riga. Its baroque facade with numerous sculptures is quite a decoration of the Town Hall Square. You should start your tour of the Old Town of Riga from just this place.
The house on the Town Hall Square was built in 1334, when the guild of Riga merchants lost the House of the Large Guild after they were defeated by the Teutonic Order. However, eventually the relationships of the guild and the Order improved and they returned to their former house. And the house on the Town Hall Square was leased to the Brotherhood of St. Mauritius, which was composed of young foreign merchants who traded with the East-country through Riga.
This brotherhood had three patrons, namely, St. George, St. Gertrude and the main patron – St. Mauritius. It was a black Roman legionary who adopted the Christianity and died the death of a martyr and later was sanctified. The black head of St. Mauritius was depicted on the brotherhood`s coat of arms, and its members were called the Blackheads. And the house on the Town Hall Square, which was occupied by the Brotherhood, was also called the House of the Blackheads.
The House of the Blackheads was the place for trade transactions by day and merry parties at night. It location in the center of the city, and unmarried status of its hosts made it one of the centers of public life.
In 18 century the house became the property of the Brotherhood and since then it was officially called the «House of the Blackheads.» The excellent acoustics of the main hall of the House of the Blackheads made it possible to hold there not only parties but numerous concerts.
During the World War II the House of the Blackheads was completely destroyed. But in 2001 it was restored to its original appearance. It is at walking distance from St. Peter`s Church, Dome (Riga) Cathderal, Jauniela Street, Riga City Walls and the other sights of the Old Town of Riga.