Mannerist architecture in Latvia

Renaissance architecture

Renaissance architecture was a more elaborate and colorful replacement for the austere Gothic, with more small details on facades.

Three Brothers
Three Brothers, likely the most famous old residentials in Latvia. The middle one is Renaissance in style (1646) and the right one is Gothic with some early Renaissance details (15th century). ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

While elsewhere in Europe Renaissance was also a period of “rebirth of sciences after the religious centuries”, for Latvia this meant a period of destruction. The religious states that dominated Latvia collapsed, and centuries of alternating foreign regimes and warfare inbetween them came in.

As such, relatively few Renaissance buildings exist in Latvia.

The most famous Renaissance building in Latvia is likely the Blackheads house. It is actually a reconstruction however, as the original one was destroyed by Soviets.

Blackheads house in Riga
Blackheads house in Riga. Like many Latvian Renaissance buildings, it was actually constructed in Gothic style, but updated to Renaissance. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

There are also several Renaissance churches and a castle in Bauska, but, all in all, Gothic continued to dominate the Latvian cityscapes throughout the Renaissance period as there was both little need and possibility to construct something new.