EssenceMuseums and galleriesWhere to sleepWhere to eatWhere to shopRoutesArchitectureWorth knowingThings to doUrban LegendsIcons· IconsBest clubsFestivalsSpas and ParloursCreative Quarters of RigaActive leisureConnoisseur's GuideInsider's view


Two EisensteinsLatvian commemorative cemetery rituals (Kapu svētki)Cabinet of Folksongs of folklorist Krišjānis Barons (Krišjāņa Barona dainu skapis)Painter Vilhelms Purvītis (1872-1945)Freedom MonumentLatvian moneyBearslayerPine treesCobblestone streetsRainis and AspazijaEduards SmiļģisBirchesMittens« BACK « TO BEGINNING


Add your e-mail address to receive our monthly news.


Jewellery by Artists: From Picasso to Koons, an exhibition organised by the culture and art portal

Destinations · Europe · latvia · Riga · Icons · Icons

Cabinet of Folksongs of folklorist Krišjānis Barons (Krišjāņa Barona dainu skapis)

Author: Anothertravelguide.com0 COMMENTS

Back in the late 19th century, a bearded, Latvian intellectual named Krišjānis Barons began to tour the countryside and to write down the words of the dainas - a particular form of Latvian folk song with a set metre and style - that were still being sung in Latvia's rural areas.

Barons travelled from homestead to homestead, often with students as assistants, dutifully transcribing any daina that was sung or recited to him. He also asked the public to send him the words of the dainas that they new by mail, so that he could add these to his collection.

Barons, who is featured on Latvia's 100-lat banknote, saw the dainas as a unique and valuable feature of Latvia's cultural heritage that must not be allowed to perish. He and his assistants painstakingly wrote down the words of each daina on a separate piece of paper and set up a system for classifying them.

His Cabinet of Folksongs (dainu skapis) harbours the fruits of decades of arduous work, containing nearly 218 000 separate entries on close to 269 000 pieces of paper, all written out by hand! It is the repository of one Latvia's greatest cultural treasures and was inscribed in UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2001.

The unique daina cabinet was handcrafted in Moscow in 1880, to the specifications of a sketch drawn up by Krišjānis Barons himself. Until then, Barons had kept his growing collection of dainas in wooden boxes designed to store papirosy, a special type of Russian cigarette with a long mouthpiece. However, once he had amassed about 150 000 texts, he transferred them into his newly made daina cabinet. The wooden folksong repository is 160 cm high, with three large drawers and 70 smaller ones, each divided into 20 sections for easier access.

While the original Cabinet of Folksongs, complete with the dainas, lies in a metal safe in the Folklore Archives of the Latvian Academy of Sciences building, a faithfully made replica can see seen in Riga's Krišjānis Barons Museum (Krišjāņa Barona muzejs). Another replica is located in the former Stankevich manor in Russia, where the folklorist began his daina classification work.

Thanks to the advent of modern technology, many of the pieces of paper on which the dainas were transcribed has been visually scanned and can be viewed online at

Krišjānis Barons Museum (Krišjāņa Barona muzejs)
Kr. Barona 3-5
(+371) 6728 4265
Wed-Sun 11:00-18:00

Facebook Twitter


Your comments

Unfortunately there are no comments yet.

Your name:

Time of visit:

Your comment: