The Three Brothers: A Mini Timeline of Architectural Trends

The Three Brothers are the oldest complex of medieval dwellings in Riga, Latvia. These houses are adjacent to each other and each of them represents a different architectural trend. The name ”Three Brothers” comes from a similar group of warehouses in Tallinn, known as ”Three Sisters”. According to locals, the houses were supposedly built by descendants of the same family.

Three Brothers

The Three Brothers carry the characteristics of the houses found in the Hanseatic towns in the Baltic region. Riga, which is part of the Hanseatic League, is also famous for its well-preserved buildings and Art Nouveau squares.


During the 1950s, a restoration took place, and the backyard of the Three Brothers was united. The complex has become a symbol of cultural heritage protection systems. The buildings now house the Museum of Architecture and the National Center for the Protection of Cultural Monuments.

Three Brothers

The first brother, or the first house, was built in the late 15th century and is one of the oldest stone-built dwellings in Riga. The house features Gothic and Dutch influences and is adorned with a set of crow-stepped gables. Originally, it was used as one large room with a chimney-kitchen.


The middle house, the second brother, was built in the 17th century and is the biggest of the three. It also features Dutch architectural qualities because of the city’s close trade relationship with the Netherlands. The pale yellow house is adorned with intricate details including a Latin engraving above the main door that reads ”Soli Deo Gloria!”, which means ”Glory to God alone!”.

Three Brothers

The youngest brother, or the third house was built shortly after the middle one in the late half of the 17th century. It is the thinnest of the three brothers. It has a baroque curved pediment and a wooden staircase from the hall leading to small offices on each floor. The green color on the facade was meant to be protection against the evil eye and the evil spirits.

Three Brothers