House of the Black Heads, initially called the New house, has been first recorded in 1334. Its original design had been of a common medieval building, and final appearance is a result of numerous reconstructions.
The house was built as a place for meetings and festivities for various public organizations in Riga. In the 17th century a joyous and enterprising foreign, mainly german, merchants association - the Black Heads Company, became the main occupants of the building. The patron of the association, a roman legion commander, who was tortured to death, was St. Mauritius. His image is seen on the coat of arms, and has become its most recognizable feature.
The house, considered the most beautiful in the city, together with the city hall and other buildings in Riga was demolished during the Second World War.
After the war the interest about House of the Black Heads never ceased, different reconstruction projects were developed. In 1991 in the St. Peters church was an exhibition organized in honor of the organization of Black Heads and their building. In 1992 archeological excavations begun on the location site of the original building and in 1995 a large issue was published about House of the Black Heads and the brotherhood. This was the year when the reconstruction was begun. Since 1999 Riga is proud again about its re-erected building. And the wish once written on the gate of House of the Black Heads is fulfilled: “Should I ever crumble to dust, rebuild my walls you must”
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