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Inspiring Historical Buildings Throughout Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe has so much to offer with its outstanding heritage and cultural value. Following buildings will amaze any visitor by their rich history:

House of the Blackheads – Riga, Latvia

This important center for public life, which was first mentioned by sources in 1334 as the New House of the Large Guild, is located near the Town Hall Square. The building was erected by the city itself, and originally it was rented to the merchants of the Large Guild and the unmarried merchants, the Brotherhood of Blackheads, who later, in 1713, purchased the building and became its proprietors.

Historically, the building’s function was to promote business activities in the city – it was a place for gathering of traders and shippers for many centuries. It was the building which basically maintained the city’s economic lifeline, as well as trade links with partners in the West and East.

Magnificent facade of the house of the Blackheads is featuring various architectural styles and artistic trends of various periods.

Taking a tour inside embraces imagination of the receptions and events held in the building. Throughout centuries the Black Heads House has been visited by the most famous and influential people in history; Kings, tsars and other sovereigns left their signatures in so-called ‘’Gold Book’’, this tradition continues nowadays.

Visitors will take a look at the works of artisans, craftsmen and antique restorers: crystal chandeliers, the painted ceiling of the Conference Hall, the exact replicas of 19th century chairs and sofas, weaponry and armor sets. While mysterious adventure begins at the medieval cellar where museum’s treasures are placed and the items belonged to the brotherhood of blackheads.

Historical cabinets were the place where council meetings were held, the most important brotherhood decisions agreed on, cash-desk reports made and archive items placed. The historical cabinet interior is made of 19th century furniture, fireplace, ceiling lanterns and cultural items. The Black heads had a tradition that when they returned from faraway business travels, they would bring an interesting item that would be displayed in the Black Heads House.

Primate’s Palace – Bratislava, Slovakia

The Primate’s Palace is one of the most beautiful classicist buildings in Slovakia. Portraits of Hungarian rulers are exhibited in the picture gallery. An impressive part of the gallery is a collection of six tapestries found in the reconstruction of the palace. The Hall of Mirrors is also representative along with five salons furnished with period furniture and named after the color of the walls – green, brown, blue, red and gold.

On the roof are allegorical statues by J. Kögler and F. Prokop as well as vases by J. A. Messerschmidt. Atop the tympanum is the coat of arms of Cardinal Jozef Batthyányi, the first occupant of the palace; an iron model of his hat, weighing 150kg, crowns the building.

Sitting pretty in pink,  neoclassical building was completed in 1781, the former seat of the archbishop of Esztergom is the seat of the Mayor of Bratislava today.

It houses the famous “Hall of Mirrors” where many important agreements were signed through the course of the country’s history, most notably the treaty of the Peace of Pressburg signed by Napoleon and Franz I after the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805.

Belgrade Fortress – Belgrade, Serbia

The Belgrade Fortress, destroyed and rebuilt time and again over 16 centuries, now stands as a symbol of a city that survives and thrives. The settlement site is believed to date back to the Neolithic Period.

Built on a cliff top overlooking the two great rivers (Danube and Sava) it guarded the border between the Roman Empire and the barbarian lands. The current layout was built in the 18th Century although many of the buildings that stood inside its walls have perished in the battles of Belgrade’s history.

The fortress is divided into four sections: the Lower Town, the Upper Town, the Little Kalemegdan Park and the Large Kalemegdan Park. The first section is situated on the hill towards the water’s edge. The Upper Town is the most important section of the fortress being endowed with beautiful esplanades, statues, wells, grounds especially arranged for sports (such as tennis courts), to which are added the Observatory and the Planetarium.

In the Little Kalemegdan Park one can find the central zoo of the city as well as an art pavilion, an edifice where many exhibitions and cultural events took place throughout the years, thus contributing to the artistic life of Belgrade. The latter section, the Large Kalemegdan Park is defined by geometrical walkways, the Military Museum and the Museum of Forestry and Hunting.

By Nina Gomarteli

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