Friday, July 21, 2006

House of the Blackheads: a 14th c merchant guild HQ in Riga

Something I did not see in Latvia is the "Malngalvu" or "House of the Blackheads," a merchant guild headquarters built during a time of commercial prosperity, just before the Black Death, in 1334. The building you see here is not the original. It was bombed during the Second World War and the ruins were leveled by the communist regime later. The current restoration was built as part of the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the city of Riga earlier this decade. There are a number of such celebrations going on this decade -- I saw the 800th anniversary of Cesis on TV while I was there (pretty impressive, actually).

I find these celebrations a bit odd, given that the settlements at Riga, Cesis, Valmiera, and elsewhere were foreign impositions by German Christian invaders on Liv and Lett pagans. I have a guess as to why these seem worthwhile to today's Latvians (cultural descendents of the old Letts). Does anyone have one of their own, or better yet, some facts?


Blogger elephantcom said...

Keep up the good work. thnx!

8:33 PM  

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