16. Old City storehouses
In the 16th and 17th centuries when trade bloomed in Riga and it was necessary to store crops, flax, hemp and other production bought from Russian merchants, a boom of storehouse building began in the Old City. Large storehouses or the so-called warehouses (Speicher) were built mainly in former and overall plain-looking place of dwelling building plots. The first of these storehouses is situated on Alksnāju iela 7, built by a large-scale merchant Claus Peitov in the period between 1552 and 1559. Impressive volumes of the “warehouse boom” in the 16th – 17th centuries can be judged by viewing the storehouse complexes on Vecpilsētas iela 8a, 10, 11, 13/15, 17, Alksnāju iela 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, as well as on Peitavas iela 7, and 10/12. All of them are two to four floor buildings with several attics and a pull-up mechanism – a big wheel with its axle mounted in exterior facade under a special roofing. In the upper first floor the goods could be brought in by a cart through wide doors, and in the upper floors they were raised by means of the above-mentioned mechanism. In the 18th century when the storehouses in the Old City almost began to squeeze out the dwelling houses, the building of the warehouses was stopped.