Cat’s House in Riga

Cat’s House in Riga

Кошкин дом

Cat’s House is a building located in the central part of the Old Town of Riga, built in 1909 by architect Friedrich Scheffel in the style of late rational modernity.

Both cats on the building called “Cat’s House” are extremely symmetrical, they decorate the turrets at the crossroads of Meistaru and Maza Smilshu (Malaya Peschanaya) and Meistaru-Zirgu (Horse). The central facade of the building is distinguished by a symmetrical composition, in the middle it is crowned with a sculptural symbolic image of an eagle with open wings ready to soar into the sky – this image is also executed in accordance with the principle of the central point of symmetry; it represents a symbolic indication of the eternal struggle until the victorious end. Eagle is able to look at the sun without blinking, which was one of the reasons for the recognition of this bird as a key solar symbol – this functional content contributed to the official inclusion of the eagle in the concept of the symbolism of Art Nouveau.

There is an old untested legend according to which the rich householder Blumer (Plume), dissatisfied with being prevented from becoming a member of the Riga Grand Guild, the representative body of the Riga merchant class, undertook an act of psychological retribution. He ordered sculptured images of black cats with arched backs and placed them on the pointed turrets of his apartment building, located on the opposite side of Meistaru Street (at the modern address, 10/12 Meistaru Street). However, these cats were topped with tails in the direction of the windows of the Great Guild Elder’s office, so it was not the diplomatic aspect that was in the most vulnerable place.

According to one of the traditional excursion shots, a lawsuit was launched against Blumer, but legal measures failed to get Blumer to have the cats deployed. Blumer was a good friend of the judge, or he paid generous bribes to often changed judges who in the verdict with full responsibility declared that these cats are walking by themselves, they are free animals and without them Riga will lose some of its architectural wealth. It is difficult to say when the world was concluded with the obstinate and uncompromising master named Blumer (Plume), but eventually the cats were deployed by the “right” perspective.

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