Wander through the richly decorated rooms of a 17th-century mansion to find out how Riga’s wealthy elite used to live.
Experience a little of what life was like for wealthy Riga residents of centuries past when you visit Mentzendorff House. The historic home was built in 1695 for a local glassmaker and has been furnished with antique furniture and everyday items.
As you survey the building’s simple plastered white exterior, look for the pulley at the gable end, once used for lifting items into the storerooms of the attic.
Step inside to view more than 2,000 artifacts, such as silverware, gilt writing stands, carved beds and beautifully preserved antiques. They are spread across the household’s rooms, including the saloon, ballroom, family chapel, cellar, young girl’s chambers and poet’s room.
Be sure to see the unique mantel chimney in the kitchen, as well as the 17th and 18th-century wall and ceiling frescoes that decorate the upper floors. Notice the contrast between the kitchen environment where the servants prepared meals and the elegant rooms reserved for the family.
Inspired by the occupation of the home’s first resident, there is a Glass Art and Study Center at Mentzendorff House. Watch glassmakers at work then try your hand at creating your own glass souvenir.
Walk up to the attic for exhibitions from the affiliated Riga Museum of History and Navigation. Typically, the themes change monthly and feature everything from paintings to knitted lace creations.
Located in Riga’s Old Town, close to the House of the Blackheads, the museum is easy to reach by public transport.
Mentzendorff House is open daily during the summer, and closed on Mondays and Tuesdays during the winter. Admission charges apply, although visitors with disabilities and children of preschool age can get in for free. Guided tours are available in English, German and Russian for a supplementary fee. If you want to create a glass object, book ahead via the museum’s website.