The original building was constructed by the Brotherhood of the Blackheads in the 13th century right in the middle of this ancient city, near the central square. Its design was modelled on many other guild houses, popular around central Europe in the middle ages and served as a central hub for members of the clan. Members of the club were chiefly influential tradespeople and ship captains who were closely linked to much of the European elite including Russian royalty.
The Riga City Council eventually took over the building from the clan and its present name was coined in late 17th century after the house's original occupiers. The Brotherhood remained in Riga based in other premises until 1939 after which many of their buildings had closed. Interestingly, the clan exists to this day with their headquarters based in Bremen.
Unfortunately, the original historic building was almost entirely destroyed during a German bombing raid in June 1941. The remains of the building were then blown up and bulldozed by the Russian army as part of clearing up the destroyed city.
A decision to rebuild one of Riga's most prominent buildings was taken in 1993 and a full reconstruction was made in time for Riga's 800-year annivsary in 1999. The exterior resembles the original gothic design and extensive work was undertaken to ensure that interior decoration was as close to the building's original look as possible. Despite the building's relatively modern history, it is still a fascinating place to visit to get that rare insight into Riga's past.
Throughout the Year
Entry to House of the Blackheads
House of Blackheads