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           26. "Three Brothers"           

          Towards the “singing maiden”, as in the Middle Ages were called the dwellers of St. Maria Magdalena Cloister, the living houses on Mazā Pils iela 17, 19 and 21 have facades known by the name of the “Three Brothers” since the middle of the previous century. This original trio of buildings enables one to have a look at the building history of the city’s houses from the Middle Ages.
          The oldest of the “brothers” is the building on Mazā Pils iela 17 that was first mentioned in 1415 in the heritage book of Riga. It rises above a narrow building plot and it seems as if it has slightly retreated from the red line of the iela. In the front of the building’s Gothic gantry there are stone benches with stones beside the door and the property signs carved into them which served as a home address. The facade of the building was reconstructed relatively freely in the 1950s and therefore it is hard to judge its early exterior of the ending of the 16th
century or the beginning of the 17th century. While the main core of inner rooms - spacious and high hall - stays constant with the period of the building. In the South-western corner of the hall there is a hearth with a cover chimney. Once all household life took place in this main room: masters and servants worked, had meals, rested, received guests and celebrated feasts there. A spacious arched cellar spreads under the hall. The attic of the building, which was used as goods storehouse, is separated into several floors. Goods were delivered into them using a trapdoor arranged in the ceiling with the help of a lift. A similar trapdoor is also in the floor of the hall which made it possible to move the goods to cellar.
          An extension with chambers was built in the part of the yard after 1714 when the house was bought and a bakery was made by a baker, Johan Sarnav. At this time internal baroque stairs were also built which still lead to an extension of the second floor rooms.
          The building on Mazā Pils iela 19 (its building plot for the first time was mentioned in 1403 when a sexton’s house of St. Jacob’s Church was situated here) acquired its present exterior in 1646. Pediment of its mannerism style is created from the influence of a Dutch architecture. In the ground floor of the building, similar to the adjacent building, there is a hall with a hearth, but its ceiling is much lower because in the level of the second floor spacious living and representation rooms are furnished (big windows indicate this fact). Supposedly the third, upper half-floor, served as a storehouse.
          Finally, the living house on Mazā Pils iela 21 is related to later building period – the 18th century. This very narrow building has three floors joined by comfortable winding stairs. The building is tailored only for living.


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