Mentzendorff House, a subunit of the Museum of History and Navigation, with its 17-18th century atmosphere is the only museum of its kind in the Baltics. The exposition is set up in a building of 1695, which up to 1939 was a dwelling-house with a shop and warehouses.
A dwelling-house museum renders the everyday life of wealthy Riga residents in the past. The unique ceiling and wall paintings of the 17th-18th centuries have been matched by respective objects of interior from the History and Navigation Museum, with every room furnished in a different manner. Visitors can have a look around the old shop, a kitchen with the so-called “coat chimney”, a salon, a dance hall, a “poet’s room”, a family chapel, a master’s room, a “girl’s room”, or go down to the cellar or up in the attic, both of which now accommodate exhibition halls.
The museum stores 2000 exhibits which tell the history of the house and the life-stories of its various inmates.
The museum acquired its name from the last owners of the house – the merchant family of Mentzendorffs. In 19th and 20th centuries August Mentzendorff’s shop was still the place to buy the best coffee in Riga. Ties with the Mentzendorff family have been retained and its descendants support museum activities both in spirit and practice. The grandson of A. Mentzendorff, prof. Dietrich Andre Loeber, was nominated for the Museum of History and Navigation Friendship Card due to his substantial assistance.
Already back in the 17th century the house accommodated a glass workshop run by Jürgen Helm. The tradition has been preserved – also nowadays the Mentzendorff House has a contemporary glass studio, the Centre of Glass Art and Studies. The creation of glass artworks can be observed in action. Preliminary booking will provide an opportunity to learn some glass artwork skills.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.