May 9, 2016

2537 LATVIA (Riga) - Historic Centre of Riga (UNESCO WHS)

2537 Historic Centre of Riga - House of the Blackheads

Founded in 1201 on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava, capital of independent Latvia since 1990, Riga was a major centre of the Hanseatic League, deriving its prosperity in the 13th-15th centuries from the trade with central and eastern Europe. Through centuries, it has been the centre of many historic events and a meeting point for European nations, and it has managed to preserve evidence of European influence on its historical development, borders between the West and the East, and intersection of trading and cultural routes.

The urban fabric of its medieval centre, located on the right bank of the River Daugava, reflects its prosperity, though most of the earliest buildings were destroyed by fire or war. Historic buildings are relatively low, with only church towers creating vertical dominance.Riga became again an important economic centre in the 19th century, when the suburbs surrounding the medieval town were laid out, first with imposing wooden buildings in Neoclassical style and then in Jugendstil. It is generally recognized that Riga has the finest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe.

The House of the Blackheads, located near the Town Hall Square (Rātslaukums), was first mentioned in 1334 as the New House of the Large Guild. It was erected by the city itself, and originally it was rented to the merchants of the Large Guild and the unmarried merchants, the Brotherhood of Blackheads, who later, in 1713, purchased the building and became its proprietors. The name of the brotherhood comes from its patron, Saint Maurice, the leader of the legendary Roman Theban Legion, converted en masse to Christianity and martyred entirely.

The House of Blackheads was reconstructed and expanded for a number of times, however both pediments have been preserved many elements from the first and the 15th century’s periods. The biggest changes to the architecture of the house were made at the end of 18th century, and the last significant changes to the façade's pediments were made in 1886. The structure was bombed to a ruin by the Germans June 28, 1941 and the remains demolished by the Soviets in 1948. The current reconstruction was erected from 1995 to 1999.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the series Flowers, about which I wrote here.

Historic Centre of Riga - UNESCO official website
House of Blackheads - Municipal Portal of Riga

Sender: Marius Vasilescu
Sent from Riga (Latvia), on 29.04.2016

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