The Bremen Town Musicians – Riga, Lativa
By Cacinda Maloney
“What the heck is that?” was my first reaction when seeing the Bremen Town Musicians Statue in Riga, Latvia.
“When you come across something like this, there always has to be a backstory”.
If you go around the back of the St. Peter’s Church on Skarnu Street between St. Peter’s Church and the Convent, you will find the Bremen Town Musicians statue.
The Bremen Town Musicians statue is based on one of the many Brothers Grimm Fairytales and is a major attraction in Riga, Latvia. The Brothers Grimm story is about a donkey, a cat, a dog and a rooster who are past their prime. They decide to head out for Bremen to become musicians. They want to live a life of freedom. On the way they find a cottage that has robbers inside, and therefore they cannot take refuge for the night. They decided to scare the robbers by standing on each others backs and make noise.
This made themselves look bigger than they really were. It worked and the robbers ran away.
Only this fairytale is different!
The original statue of the Bremen Town Musicians was created by Gerhard Marx in Bremen, Germany in 1951. This statue became a symbol of the city. Then based on this statue, Crist Baumgartel sculpted a similar one and the city of Bremen gave Riga the statue in 1991. This was the year Riga became an independent nation. It is believed that German merchants who first landed at the mouth of the Daugava river were from Bremen.
Today, the bronze figures are more a political statement, in that the animals standing on top of each other are really just peering thru the “Iron Curtain of Communism” and they are seeing a new world – a view of independence. It is hard to imagine this only happened quite recently.
Tourist note: It is considered good luck to rub one part of each of the statue’s appendages. The trick is to try to and touch each appendage. You can search the internet for different type of Brothers Grimm stories.
Disclosure: My time spent in Latvia was courtesy of the wonderful host JayWay Travel. My enjoyment of the charms of Riga were all my own.
This is a continuous series on the Baltic Capitals:
#6. The Bremen Town Musicians Statue – Riga, Lativa