Visiting Riga – Searching for Soviet remnants, Part 3

Visiting Riga – Searching for Soviet remnants, Part 3

In our first post about visiting Riga we spoke about the Academy of Sciences Building which is similar to the 'Seven Sisters', the controversial Soviet Victory Monument, the highest TV tower of Europe, Tornakalns Station from which lots of people were sent to slave labour camps and Old Spilve Airport for the urban explorers.

Our second post about visiting Riga was about the brutal history of The Corner House (KGB prison), finding hidden gems in the Latgalite Flea Market, visiting a nice old cathedral and the Art Museum Riga Bourse.

We can still write about many places and buildings to visit in Riga. Actually: we want to go back to visit many more interesting things in and around Riga. Below are two other interesting facts we want to share about Riga.

The Black Cat (Cat House)

The legend of the Black Cat (or Cat House) tells that some local merchant was angry about not getting into a trades guild (the Great Guild) back in the 14th century. He attached a black cat on the top of the tower on the corner of his building. The cat is facing the direction of the building of the Guild, looking like it's ready to attack. Or at least: he doesn't look really happy. Later on the guild and the merchant arranged an agreement but the black cat is still there watching the Old Town of Riga.

Address: Meistaru iela 10, in the Old Town

Black Cat of Riga

The Freedom Monument

The Freedom Monument (on Brīvības bulvāris, Freedom Boulevard in English) was erected in 1935 at the place where a statue of Peter the Great stood. The monument was built in honor of the soldiers who were killed during the 1918 to 1920 Latvian War of Independence. 

During the Soviet occupation of Latvia (1940-1941) there were talks about demolishing the monument. The Soviet authorities considered the tension it would cause amongst the Latvian people wasn't convenient, so they reinterpreted the symbolism of the monument. The three stars on top which stood for Kurzeme, Livonija and Latgale, the three regions were Latvia as a country originated from were reinterpreted as the three stars that stood for the newly created Baltic Soviet Republics. The Estonian SSR, Latvian SSR and the Lithuanian SSR, held by Mother Russia.

Riga Freedom Monument

Hope you've liked these posts as much as we did writing them and visiting Riga. Have fun on your own journeys. Please don't hesitate to send your experiences or ask questions in advance of visiting Riga yourself!

During our trip to Latvia we've found cool maps and posters. Below are some of them for you to enjoy!

An old map of Latvia

An old map of Latvia, in Russian. From 1967, printed in Moscow.

Amongst other posters, these wonderful work safety posters:

Latvia Work Safety Poster

"Gas welder! Look after the level of water in the shutter", handmade poster for the VEF factory in Riga.

Latvia Work Safety Poster

"Before lifting a load, make sure the brakes are secure", handmade poster for the VEF factory in Riga.

Latvia Work Safety Poster

“Lifting works. Stop work when the wind is higher than 6 points.”, handmade poster for the VEF factory in Riga.

Exhibition poster from Latvian SSR

And last but not least this poster from 1984. "Exhibition to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the great victory".

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We love old posters and little items from forgotten times. Or think about a children's book from fifty or sixty years ago. It's fun to look at and to imagine what people were doing and thinking back then.

That's why: we see the beauty in every object and art is everywhere to be discovered.

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