Although Kaķu nams translates to the illicit-sounding name “Cat House,” it is actually one of the more famous structures in Vecrīga, and not because of any illegal activity on the premises. Located at 10 Meistaru iela in the heart of Vecrīga, the century-old building is the work of architect Friedrich Scheffel.
Legend has it that a wealthy tradesman was denied membership by the Riga Tradesmen’s Guild. He had commissioned the grand Art Nouveau building across the street from the Lielā Ģilde in anticipation of becoming a member, so when he was refused he had two copper statues of cats placed on the turret rooftops – tails turned up at the Great Guild. The story goes that the owner was tied up in court over the angry felines, and eventually gave in to the Guild and turned the cats around.