Cat House, Riga

3.5 out of 5 stars 15 Reviews

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  • The Cat House.
    The Cat House.
    by IreneMcKay
  • The Cat House.
    The Cat House.
    by IreneMcKay
  • The Cat House.
    The Cat House.
    by IreneMcKay
  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    The Cat House

    by IreneMcKay Written Jul 6, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    As a major cat lover, I really wanted to see this house. It is called the cat house because there are two statues of angry black cats on the roof of the house. It is located at Meistaru10/12.

    Legend states that the owner of the house was a wealthy merchant who wanted to join the Great Guild opposite his home. At that time the guild was controlled by German merchants and they did not want to admit a non-German into their ranks. In fury the owner of the house ordered his two roof top statues of angry cats with arched backs and raised tails to be turned so that their bottoms pointed directly at the Great Guild. The Guild members were outraged by such disrespect and took the merchant to court. After a lengthy court case the statues were turned round and the merchant was admitted to the guild.

    The Cat House. The Cat House. The Cat House.
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    The Cat House

    by toonsarah Written Jun 11, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This large house just off Livu Laukums would probably be runner-up to the House of the Blackheads in any contest to find the most famous building in Riga! What would in any case be a grand Art Nouveau structure is made special by the presence of two large cats on the turrets at either end.
    Cats are the unofficial symbol of Riga, scattered across numerous tourist souvenirs, and this building is the reason why. And there is a story attached to it, or rather several competing stories. The most commonly told is this:

    A wealthy Latvian tradesman wanted to join the prestigious Riga Tradesman Guild, the so-called Great Guild, but was refused membership as the guild was restricted to German merchants. To show the guild what he thought about them he commissioned two cat sculptures to be placed on the roof of his nearby house with their backsides towards the guild house. He thought this would show the guild just what he thought of them, and invoke misfortune to those who had refused him entry. A lengthy legal battle ensued, and ended with him eventually being granted membership, at which point he relented and turned the cats around.

    One version of the story adds a twist. In this version, the sculptor fell while erecting his work, and died - the bad luck had befallen him. It was in response to this mishap that the man turned the cats around, and the guild accepted him. It seems to me that the moral of this version is a little dodgy, since the man got his own way while inflicting death on another, but the cats are so cute that the building just has to be seen!

    [Other stories say simply that the owner loved cats so much he/she wanted them on the roof, or that the owner of this house fought with his neighbour “like cats and dogs”, so one put cats on his roof and the other (long-gone) dogs on theirs.]

    Next tip: So many [more] cats!

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    Cat house

    by Raimix Updated Mar 13, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Not every house has a cat in the roof :) But in Riga - yes, it is :) The house surely has the Cat name after two black cats put on the roof. The owner of the house turned cats’ tails into the Guild hall to protest, but later he had to turn it back. I have to admit - great way to protest.

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  • MalenaN's Profile Photo

    Cat House

    by MalenaN Written Jan 6, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Cat House is a big yellow house with black cats on top of the roof of the two small corner towers. There are several stories that explain why the cats are there. One of the most common is about a Latvian businessman who was refused entry to the city guild (the Big Guild Hall was only for rich German traders). Therefore he put statuettes of his cats with the backs arched and tails up against the Guild Hall. After it had become a court case the Latvian businessman was admitted to the guild, but he then had to turn the cats to another position.

    Cat House Cat House Cat House
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  • ealgisi's Profile Photo

    Cat house

    by ealgisi Written Nov 19, 2007

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This "house" took the name from two black cats perched on the roof.
    At the century end, the owner of this house has been exiled from the Great Guild and they ordered him to turn the cats with their tails towards the Guild.

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  • bijo69's Profile Photo

    Cat House

    by bijo69 Written Feb 14, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This house with was built in Jugendstil was named after two black cats situated on the roof. Story goes that the owner of the house was thrown out of the Great Guild at the end of the 19th century. Out of disrespect he had those cats put up with their backs turned towards the building of the Great Guild. Alas, after some time in court the man was admitted back to the illustrous guild and the cats were turned...

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  • morgenhund's Profile Photo

    Cat House - Hell hath no fury like a scorned cat!

    by morgenhund Written Nov 1, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Cat House is so-called because there are two black cats perched on its towers. The black cats have had a very controversial history since they were erected about 100 years ago. First of all the sculptor fell off the roof and died whilst putting them up and the reason they were there in the first place was because the owner of the building had been black-balled for admission to the Great Guild. He vented his displeasure by having the two sculptures added to the roof. However, the way he did it was the real highlight - they originally had their tails raised and their behinds pointing directly at the Guild House! He was later admitted to the guild and now they no longer "moon" the guild!

    Cat House, Riga Cat House, Riga
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  • Blondiina's Profile Photo

    House of the Cat

    by Blondiina Written Jun 23, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The story behind this buildings tells that a Latvian business man was refused a membership of a guild and therefore he went and bought the nearest land to the guildhall and build a house on it. He really wanted to spite them and so he put two cat statues on top of his house directing the backsides of the cats to the guildhall. Well, eventually he had to change the cats position, but the cats are still there reminding about the story.

    House of the Cat
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  • Inguuna's Profile Photo

    Cat House (version I)

    by Inguuna Updated Mar 28, 2005

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I've heard three versions why the Cat House is called so.
    One of the buildings' which rouse curiosity is this house, only you need to raise your head and look on top. There you can see two cats on the roof and after that the building got such name.
    Some time ago the owner of the building was argued with Town House. He put on the roof one cat towards Town Hall and in a hurry he put the other one at the night. But as it was dark he put it on wrong way. The Great Guild objected and sued the owner.

    Cat on the roof
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  • Sininen's Profile Photo

    The House of the Cat

    by Sininen Written Mar 10, 2005

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A large yellow building with cats on each of the two towers. There’s a story about the cats, too. A Latvian businessman wanted to be accepted to the city guild but was refused so he bought the nearest property he could find to the guildhouse, had a house built and put a cat on the top so that each of them directed their back to the guildhouse. Only after he was accepted to the city guild the cats were turned to look at the guildhouse.

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  • johnsakura's Profile Photo

    Cat House

    by johnsakura Written Feb 16, 2005

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    At the beginning of the 20th century, the Latvian owner of the Cat House had statuettes made of the back ends of his black cats-backs arched and tails up. He placed them on the buildings topmost pinnacles facing the Big Guild Hall across the road as a gesture of defiance against the guild that refused him entry, as it was strictly reserved for rich german traders. Following a lengthly court case, he was admited to the guild on the condition that he turn his cats around to a more elegant position.

    In Lonely Planet "Estoni, Latvia & Lithuania" book page 239 about Riga.

    Cat House riga

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  • Lilasel's Profile Photo

    The Philharmonic Square

    by Lilasel Updated Dec 30, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Various buildings of interest such as the Great Guild and the Cat House are located at the Philharmonic Square. A popular place on warm summer evenings when painters, musicians and souvenir craftsmen flock here to trade and practice their respective arts. It's our own Place du Tertre with cozy cafes...

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  • Vija_v's Profile Photo

    Riga's cats

    by Vija_v Written Nov 12, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The cat on a rooftop in the Old Town is famous for its history. The house was build by a builder fighting with the Builder's Guild (the trade union). Because of that, he turned the cat's ass towards the guild-house. They went to court and he won the case, was re-elected into the guild, whereupon he turned the cat's ass n another direction.

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  • Inguuna's Profile Photo

    Cat House (version III)

    by Inguuna Updated Mar 28, 2005

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    Once there lived two neighbors who didn't have good relations. They led a cat-and-dog life. So one of them put on the roof where he lived a cat and the other one on front of that house put dog.

    Dog on the roof
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  • Inguuna's Profile Photo

    Cat House (version II)

    by Inguuna Written Jan 15, 2005

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    Another version about cats why they are there. Cats are put on the roof because in that building lived one woman who loved cats very much.

    Second cat on the roof
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