The picturesque Livu Square appeared in Riga in 1950 on the site of the construction, destroyed during the Great Patriotic War. Designed her P. Seletsky.
Officially, the square was called the square of the Philharmonic. In 1974, it was reconstructed according to the idea of K. Barons. A network of paths was broken and there were places for rest. In the center of the square was a swimming pool with a fountain, which currently does not work. In February 2000, the square at the Philharmonic Hall was renamed by the Riga authorities in Livu Square.
In winter, Livu Square turns into a city skating rink, and in summer – in a wonderful cafe where you can buy various souvenirs. All kinds of events are held here in the summer. The area turned 0.5 hectares.
If you pass from the Freedom monument through the City Canal to Livska Square, you can see the most beautiful buildings of the Great and the Lesser Guilds, located opposite each other on Amatu Street. In 1354, German merchants, who owned all the trade in Riga, organized the Great Guild. Her activities were abolished after the 1917 revolution. The modern building of the Great Guild was established in the middle of the 19th century. In 1965 it was reconstructed and adapted for the work of the Latvian State Philharmonic. In the foyer of the Philharmonic you can see stained-glass windows made according to the sketches of the Latvian artist A. Tsirulis. The building of the Great Guild has majestic eclectic forms of English Gothic.
The building of the Small Guild is built in the same style. The small guild was formed in the XIII century and was the union of all artisans. Only its members had the opportunity to become shop craftsmen. In 1936 it was liquidated.
Opposite the Great Guild is a grand building with two turrets, each with black cats. This is the famous house of the Black Cat or Koshkin House, which is an unofficial visiting card of Riga. The building in the style of the late rational modern was built in 1909 by the architect Friedrich Scheffel.
There is an ancient legend, according to which a wealthy landowner Blumer did not get into the Riga Great Guild and, of course, became very angry. They were ordered sculptural images of black cats with arched backs. They were located on the pointed turrets of Blumer’s lucrative home. But the most interesting is that these cats were turned by tails towards the windows of the working room of the Elder of the Great Guild, clearly showing the cynical attitude of the merchant to the members of the guild.
On one of the branches of this traditional excursion story, a trial was organized against Blumer. They say that he was never able to get the cats in the right direction. Most likely, Blumer was a close friend of the judge, or he paid generous bribes to often changing judges who in the verdict stated that cats are free animals, and they walk by themselves, and most importantly, that without them Riga will lose some of its architectural wealth. It’s hard to say when we managed to reach an agreement with Mr. Blumer, however, at one point the cats were deployed in the “right” perspective.
Livu Square, the Great and Small Guilds and the Koshkin House in Riga are a harmonious architectural ensemble, attracting its grandeur and beauty.