The House of Blackheads in Riga seems to be the center of attention all year round in Riga but does anyone know who this organization really was?
Mystery surrounds the Order of Blackheads in Riga and yet their home ‘The House of Blackheads’ was kindly rebuilt by the city in 1999 after being destroyed in the Second World War. Who were these mysterious men and just why more than 50 years after the buildings destruction did the city decide to rebuild this highly symbolic building?
Now, when we start to look into the Order, we see that certain authors would have a field day, writing novels on how this once great organization ran much of the affairs in Riga and Tallinn. With stories such as The Blackheads involvenment with the introduction of the Christmas Tree (actually a New Years Tree at the time) especially with the burning of the said tree, people began to speculate about the Orders Pagan routes.
Coming from across all of Europe and worshiping Saint Maurice (A Black Christian Roman Martyr) The Order was a rather odd bunch for their times. They held festivities and banquets and some say closed secret meetings, with handshakes and secretive activities that lead many people to suggest that they were some form of secret society.
The Order of Blackheads actually took over their premises from what was previously the Great Guild in the 1700’s and it became ‘The House of Blackheads‘. Essentially this group who have routes dating back many hundreds of years, were something of a gentleman’s club. Why and how these unmarried merchants and sailors had so much power in Riga is still not really known but some have compared them to an organized protection ring.
It was thought that the Order had vanished from existence but with the Cities eager desire to rebuild the House of Blackheads, some today suggest the Order is alive, well and still ‘Running things’! Who knows, all we know is that this building is probably the most photographed building in Riga! Enjoy it and see what stories you can find about them.