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.

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