Great and Small Guild, Riga
Located next to each other in Riga, is the Small and Great Guild Halls, both impressive buildings.
The Great Guild , was a Merchant's organization for German merchants.
The first building from the 14th century is no longer standing, instead a newer English Gothic building from 1857 is standing in its place. It is now used by the Latvian Philarmonics.
The Small Guild was also built in 1352 and this was an organization for Craftsmen. The present Small Guild was built in 1864-1866, and is now a culture house "Guild."
This one construction is mentioned long time ago, in 13th century, but later it was destroyed and in the middle of 19th century it was built new one. Now it houses concert hall and hosts Philharmonic society.
Both Great Guild and Small Guild dates from the 14th century when Riga was a member of Hanseatic League (cities which dominated the trade around the Baltic Sea and North Sea). The Great Guild was for the merchants and the Small Guild was for the craftsmen.
The appearance of the buildings you see today is of later date. The big yellow building that is the Great Guild was built between 1854 - 57 by the architect H. Schekl and today it houses the Latvian State Philharmonic Orchestra. The Small Guild was constructed between 1864 - 1866 by the architect J.D. Felsko. Today the building is home of a cultural house, Guild. There are concerts, dances and conferences held here. Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to enter the buildings. But it is said the rooms are very fine.
The Great Guild was the assembly house of a guild of rich merchants which had the trade monopoly until the 19th century. The building in today's shape was constructed in Gothic style in 1857 and was re-built into a concert hall after a fire in 1963.
The Small Guild belonged to the guild of craftsmen and nowadays building was finished in British Neo-Gothic style in 1866. Today it is used for cultural events.
Small guilt was built about 150 years ago. There family of Riga craftsmen and tradesmen lived. This building can be easily seen in the Livu Square and it is one of the main sights. In the yard of small guild the souvenirs are sold.
The same as the Great Guild also the Small Guild has developed from Saint Cross and Trinity Guilds. But this Guild firstly was known as Saint John's Guild, because its patron was Saint John. The Small Guild developed almost at the same time when Great Guild, but Small Guild joined together German craftsmen.
The same as Great Guild also Small Guild was rebuilt in neo-gothic style in 19th century. And in the interior there are beautiful stained-glass windows and paintings which remind of old times.
The Great Guild developed from Saint Cross and Trinity Guilds. Firstly it was known as Maria Guild, because it's patroness was Maria. But later it was known as Great Guild mainly because the building were it was located was bigger than Small Guild's house. Here joined together German merchants. The Great Guild House was rebuilt in neo-gothic style a bit larger than it was in the beginning. It dates back to the 14th century when it was built previously. Only some premises have stayed the same because they were immured in the new building as they were before that. The one of them is called Muenster Hall, probably because of first German merchants who came to Riga from Muenster. The hall's interior almost had stayed the same.
Nowadays here is located concert hall.
This was the old house for craftsmen in Riga. As Craftsmen did not have much importance importance in the city's activities as merchants did, so this guild was called the Small, just opposite to Merchants' Guild. Small Guild was established in 1352, the number of corporations increased till 40 in the XVIIIth century.
This was built in the XIVth century, and several reconstructions took place in 1694 and 1743. The building of Small Guild was built in 1864 by Felsko.
Many touristes take a picture of this small castle and sometimes they don't know what is it. Small Guild was built over a century and a half ago. The owners of the Small Guild were an esoteric fellowship of craftsmen formed in the 13th century. Now this building serves cultural and entertainment needs such as artistic parties, concerts, youth disco parties. I took my painting lessons there some years ago...
The Guild Hall was built in the middle of the 19th century, although it look older. It is used for concerts, celebrations, festivals as well as meetings and conferences.
The original Guild Hall was erected in the mid 14th century as meeting hall of German merchants.
The guild halls date to the centuries of German economic domination. The Great Guild Hall, the home to the merchants, dates to 1384. The Small Guild was home to the artisans. Today, the Great Guild is the home of the Philharmonic Orchestra, the Small Guild hosts conferences and discoes.