Freedom monument info on three bronzes, in four languages

It's tall, striking and very possibly surrounded by flowers, but what is it? That's the question that will soon be answered in four languages, in bronze, in various locations around the foot of the iconic Freedom Monument in central Riga.

After a three year wait, the Freedom Monument is to get new information plaques to prevent foreigners scratching their heads and wondering who that is up at the top of the column, Latvian Radio reported Wednesday.

The bronze plates will be located in three different locations in the area around the monument and will contain basic information about the monument – its name, the architect and sculptor, the inaugural year and who paid for it.

It is hoped the bronzes will be ready for independence day on November 18, which will also be the monument's 80th anniversary.

Currently, visitors can glean the same information from a plastic hoarding placed to one side of the monument.

Each of the new plaques will be oval in shape, and each will contain information in Latvian, English, German and Russian, meaning visitors will have to follow a little route around the monument in order to get all the information.

The manufacture and installation of the plates will be financed by Riga City Council to the tune of €23,000.

The project has been delayed by three years due to lack of funds, said Riga Monuments Agency Director Guntis Gailitis.

“It is expensive. We have so many monuments - they all have to be taken care of, and they all require money. This is a big burden on the budget, because maybe there are other priorities, after all this is Latvia's national monument,” Gailitis said.

The use of traditional bronze and the difficulty of working with it in a traditional manner is one of the key reasons for the expense, he said, suggesting experts in Russia or Lithuania might need to be used because no such expertise exists in Latvia.

If you'd like to bone up on the Freedom Monument before you visit Riga - to avoid have to search for the plaques - you can find some information about it in the video below (though the enthusiastic Naomi does have a rather eccentric use of the word 'prolific').

 

A more detailed account of the Freedom Monument is available via the Latvian National Library's archives here.

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