Inertia Kills

Adventures Abroad with Aaron Anthony

Latvians love the cock

with one comment

As I strolled through the cobble-stoned streets of Old Town, I became aware that if I want to get the most out of the city and its architecture, it’s best to keep my neck craned ever upward. Walking amongst the soaring spires of Old Town’s cathedrals, I came to the realization that Latvians love the cock.

Roosters, not crosses adorn the highest spires

Roosters, not crosses adorn the highest spires

There, adorning the highest points of the church spires were not crosses, as one might expect, but rather proud roosters perched high atop the holy apexes keeping their vigils over the bustling city below. According to http://www.rigarooster.com,

“Legend tells that the Riga Rooster which adorns the top of the oldest church spires in the city serves as a wind indicator and to guide visitors into the city. According to Christian tradition, the rooster is also a vigilant defender against evil, and with his morning song he can drive away all bad things.”

Riga Roosters

Riga Roosters

So there you have it. The Riga Roosters keep watchful eyes over the city, welcoming visitors and defending against evil.

But it’s not just the tops of churches that house ornamental touches adding the unique flair to the city and its architecture. Buildings of all types throughout town are topped with all sorts of figurines, animals, and sculptures. One particularly interesting story is that of the “Cat House.”

A monumental feline backside snub

Legend has it that the owner of the Cat House building was denied membership into the “Big Guild” across the street. In order to present a symbol of his bitterness towards the guild members, an ornamental cat was affixed to the top of the roof with his backside facing the Big Guild across the street. Eventually, the cat was turned around after a lengthy court battle, and the owner was admitted to the guild.

Small Guild is featured, Big Guild is seen to the right

Small Guild is featured, Big Guild is seen to the right

Apparently the cock isn't only for the church, but is also for kids!

Apparently the cock isn't only for the church, but is also for kids!

Ornamental rooftops

Rooftops

So if you want to get the most out of the local architecture, keep your chin up, and your gaze fixed skyward.

Written by Aaron

September 25, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Posted in Architecture, Old Town

One Response

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  1. I like this. I have visited Riga 4 times and would gladly go back again.

    Andrew Petcher

    September 28, 2009 at 11:36 pm


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