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Small Guild

The architectural monument Small Guild stands in the very centre of the Old Rīga at Līvu square. The building was designed by the outstanding architect J. D. Felsko. Its construction started on 22 May 1864 by laying the foundation stone where the newspapers of those days, a calendar, an address-book, signatures from all seniors of the Guild and from all seniors of crafts-corporations, a short chronicle of the Small or St.

John’s Guild and various other documents were contained.

Already in 1855, the Small Guild brother shelter, designed by the same architect, was built next to the guild building in Amatu Street. It was rebuilt in 1901 to suit the needs of the crafts school. For more than hundred years both buildings – the Small Guild and the shelter – have been linked both directly and indirectly and form a complex where the life of the Small Guild runs.  

On 9 February 1866 the building was solemnly consecrated.

 The Small Guild interior was richly adorned and decorated in 1888 when the senior of the Small Guild was Fridrich Brunstermann. The coat of arms of the Small Guild was placed in the facade cornice facing the Meistaru Street but the flooring of lobby, entrance-hall and staircase was made in terraco mosaic laid by the Italian masters from the Johann Odorico company in Frankfurt-on-Main. All windows have got stained-glass panels made by A. A. Freystadtl at the atelier in Hanover.

In the stained-glass windows seniors are shown in the traditional clothing of previous centuries, however their portraits are photographically correct. In the lower part 10 portraits of crafts seniors are shown in their working robes but the portraits of the seniors of 25 other crafts corporations in their traditional robes are shown in the windows of the Large Hall. In the upper part of the windows 10 stained-glass lockets with portraits of benefactors for the Guild are placed with corresponding inscription but in the Large Hall – another 12 stained-glass lockets with portraits of benefactors.

Aphorisms and sayings in gothic letters are written on edges of doors and windows.

In 1999-2000, the renovation and restoration of the Small Guild was conducted. Actually the finish of the whole Small Guild is done in accordance with the documents and photographs of the last quarter of the 19th century.

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