Posted by: John McGerr | April 7, 2009

Latvia2


On our last day in Latvia I spent most of the day walking around the city, especially the ‘Old City’. The Latvian capital Riga is a fascinating mix of new and old architecture.  Some buildings such as the Dome Cathedral and the House of Blackheads date back to the 13th and 14th Century. I find it amazing that a country that has a history of invasions down the centuries can keep so much of it’s historical architecture alive and relatively intact. When you see what has survived or been fit to restore, you can only imagine what the city looked like down through the years. Around every corner it seemed there was one more beautiful or odd looking structure. One of the oddest things I cam across was in Bastejkalns Park where a small bridge was built across a water feature. The bridge had iron railings and attached to the railing were hundreds of padlocks, all of which seemed to be engraved. Later on in the day I saw a bridal party walk though the park, stopping at different places to take photos. One of their stops was at this bridge and I wondered if the padlocks had some connections to weddings. A Latvian lady I work with told me that it was a custom for newlyweds to engrave their names on a padlock and attach it to the railings of the bridge for luck in their marriage.

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