Brief History of the Building

The history of the building at Pils iela 21 goes back to the 13th century and the Bishopís court, located in the new town (nova civitas) founded in 1210 on the site of the Livís village destroyed by the tribe of Cours.

The Bishopís court suffered extensively in the great fire of Riga in 1547 and for all practical purposes was left without an owner. After the fire most of it was sold and built up with residential buildings and warehouses.

As a result of the changes of ownership, the building at Pils iela 21 came to be owned by the Swedish colonel Christian von Weingarten. His son-in-law Michael Strokirch, the Resident Governor of Sweden in Riga, had a Swedish mason, Lars Nilson Spaak, build the present building in 1698.

The fate of the building changed when in 1710, during the Great Northern War, Russian soldiers were housed there. After the surrender of Riga, the highest administrative authority was the Governor General Prince A. Menshikov and it is possible that he used the building, because the chronicles refer to it as the Menshikov house.

In 1782 the building became the property of the Head of the Blackheads organization, Matheas Wilhelm Fischer. The Fischer Institute, a teaching facility for poor orphaned girls, was established in 1804 and existed up to World War I. At the end of the 19th and during the early part of the 20th century the building was also used for various commercial offices. Following World War II the building housed the 21st Professional Technical Highschool. On 16 July 1999 the building was inaugurated as the UN House in Riga.

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