Riga Cat House

22 January, 2015

One of Riga’s most popular and interesting attractions is the Riga Cat House. Located in Old Riga near the town center, the Cat House is easily spotted due to the two black cat statues situated on the roof.

The building was originally constructed in 1909 and has art nouveau architecture. Although the building itself is beautiful, it is famous due to its interesting history. The legend goes that the owner of the building was  a tradesman who wanted to be a member of Riga’s Tradesmen’s Guild. The guild denied him a membership, which made the tradesman very angry, so he decided to get revenge in a creative way. He ordered that two statues of black cats be placed on his roof, with their tails facing the Tradesmen’s Guild building!

The cats really did bring nothing but trouble. The first sculpture fell to his death while constructing the statues, and upon their completion the Guild was very upset about the direction that the cats faced. They became so upset that they actually brought the matter to court! In the end the court decided that the cats would have to be turned in a different direction, and that the tradesman would become a member of the guild.

Today, the building is a common tourist attraction that is surrounded by beautiful buildings, shops, cafes, and parks. In 2012 a restaurant opened on the location, whose website you can view here.  The Cat House is definitely a sight that you shouldn’t miss out on during your trip to Riga!


Photo credit: Creative Commons

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