From the doors of St Peter’s Church, Rātslaukums (Town Hall Square) is straight ahead and dominated by the House of the Blackheads (Melngalvju nams), whose facade is an opulent masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Once serving as the headquarters of Rīga’s bachelor merchants, who adopted the North African, non-white saint St Maurice as their patron (hence, the name “Blackheads”). Largely destroyed in 1941, the House was lovingly reconstructed for the 800th anniversary of Rīga’s foundation in 2001.

The ugly oblong structure next door belongs to the Occupation Museum (Latvijas okupācijas muzejs), currently closed for long-term renovation – visit the museum’s temporary display on Raina bulvaris.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Latvia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Ten central & Eastern European sites to mark the WWI Centenary

Ten central & Eastern European sites to mark the WWI Centenary

Most of us know that World War I started with the assassination of an Austrian Archduke in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. For the English-speaking world, howe…

02 Apr 2014 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
European Capital of Culture 2014: why Riga?

European Capital of Culture 2014: why Riga?

January 2014 sees the start of Riga’s year-long stint as European Capital of Culture, an honour it shares with the Swedish town of Umeå. The occasion provide…

13 Jan 2014 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
The least friendly countries for tourists?

The least friendly countries for tourists?

Whether you’re on a weekend away or a month-long adventure, being made to feel unwelcome by rude or unpleasant locals can make or break a holiday. So, if you …

25 Jun 2013 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month