House of the Blackheads - Riga - Latvia
Nikon D750 - ISO 199 - Tamron SP15-30mm lens f11 - 20mm - f/13 1/50 sec
The House of the Blackheads -Latvian: Melngalvju nams- is a building situated in the old town of Riga.
The original building was erected during the first third of the 14th century for the Brotherhood of Blackheads. It was founded in the 13th century as a gentlemen’s club for wealthy single merchants and their journeymen. In 1477 they rented the Great Guild’s New Hall, which was housed in what is now the Blackheads House and in 1773, when the Great Guild moved premises, they bought it. The society’s members were mainly German, but there were also English, Scottish, Dutch, Swedish and Norwegian members.
The society’s not so politically correct name originated from one of their patron saints; St Maurice was supposedly a black African Christian Roman commander who died as martyr after refusing to kill fellow Christians. St Maurice’s head was depicted on the Blackheads coat of arms, thus giving them their name.
Unfortunately, during World War II, the building was destroyed, along with almost all of the Town Hall Square and nearby St Peter’s church tower. The remains were demolished by the Soviets in 1948. The current reconstruction was erected from 1995 to 1999 by Valērij Kargin the president of Parex Bank. The reconstruction was inspired by an engraving in the portal which read “Should you ever see me falling, raise me up, it’s your calling”.
The bear depicted on the photo is one of the “United Buddy Bears” who spent the summer of 2018 in Riga. They stand together “hand in hand”, symbolising the future vision of a peaceful world.
Did you know that the first documented use of a decorated tree during winter celebration was recorded in 1510 in Riga? Take a look to my story to see one of the first christmas tree decoration.