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:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.