Iconic Statues in Riga

Iconic Statues in Riga
26 August 2023

When wandering through the cobbled streets of Riga, it is almost impossible not to stumble across some of the iconic statues that the streets boast. Yet, have you ever wondered about the meaning, history or purpose of these statues? In this article, I will share some interesting facts about these famous figures, and aim to give these sculptures the recognition they deserve. 

Statue of Roland

The Statue of Roland is located in front of the House of Blackheads. A little known fact about this statue is that it is actually a reproduction. The original was destroyed in a World War Two bombing, but this does not diminish from the impressive craftsmanship. The Statue of Roland is a representation of a legendary knight from Bremen in Germany. Roland was a paladin and nephew of Charlemagne, a medieval emperor. The statue pays homage to his legendary courage, justice, and defense of the city. 

The Statue of Roland

 The statue is a symbol of freedom and justice, embodying the ideals that the people of Riga held dear. It stands as a reminder of the city’s commitment to upholding these values and its determination to maintain its independence and self-governance.

The Riga Statue of Roland stands tall in the Town Hall Square, a central hub of the Old Town. The statue is a remarkable example of Gothic architecture, showcasing intricate details and craftsmanship. Roland symbolizes protection and defense holding a sword in one hand and a shield in the other.

Throughout its history, Riga faced various challenges, including foreign invasions and occupations. The Statue of Roland serves as a testament to the city’s ability to endure adversity and maintain its identity and values even in the face of external pressures.

The Ghost

The Ghost Statue portrays a cloaked and somewhat mysterious figure in a bronze casting. The statue appears as if it’s emerging from a wall with its face shrouded in a hood. The sculpture was created by artist Ieva Rubeze and unveiled in 2015, adding a touch of intrigue to Riga’s urban landscape. 

The Ghost

The statue’s location in the historic Old Town, combined with its eerie and spectral appearance, creates an atmospheric ambiance that is both haunting and enchanting. The Ghost Statue adds an element of mystery and storytelling to the cobblestone streets and medieval architecture of Riga.

At the unveiling of the statue, the artist explained that although on the surface it just appears to be a ghost draped in a cloak, the meaning of the statue is hidden within the mystery of it. In other words, it is open to interpretation what the ghost is hiding, or what we hide within ourselves. 

The statue is currently located at the Swedish Gate, but word of mouth reports that the statue is occasionally moved around the streets to add to its intrigue. Although this makes it somewhat hard for visitors to find, I thoroughly recommend a visit to this thought-provoking figure. 

Bremen Town Musicians

The Bremen Town Musicians

The Bremen Town Musicians statue, inspired by a tale by the Brothers Grimm, pays homage to these four unlikely heroes. The tale is about four aging animals, a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster. They feel useless on their farms and decide to embark on a journey to Bremen to become musicians. Along the way, they encounter a gang of robbers. Using their intelligence, they manage to scare the robbers away from a cottage filled with treasure. The animals then settle into the cottage and live happily ever after.

The delightful statue pays tribute to these characters from the fairy tale. It captures the camaraderie and unity of the characters, as well as their determination to find a better life. The statue serves as a joyful symbol of friendship, resourcefulness, and the pursuit of dreams against all odds. It reminds visitors and locals alike of the importance of resilience and cooperation, even when faced with challenges.

The Bremen Town Musicians Statue speaks to the universal nature of folk stories and fairy tales. While originating from a German tale, the statue illustrates how such stories can transcend cultural boundaries and resonate with people of all backgrounds.

This blog was brought to you by Emily Gray, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz in Riga

These images were taken by Emily Gray




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