Who doesn’t know the Bremen Town Musicians from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale? But what are they doing in Riga?
Did the animals really stray that much from their path that they ended up here instead of Bremen? Just behind St. Peter’s Church, much to the surprise of many tourists, is a sculpture that no one expects. This is where the Town Musicians of Bremen, created by an artist from Bremen Christa Baumgärtel, can be found.
And here is what happened…
Riga is an old Hanseatic Town and partner city of Bremen. It was gifted the sculpture by Bremen in 1990. It was planned to put it in the recently designed “Park of Peace”, but this park never made the step from the design on paper to the real world.
And so the animals found their home near St. Peter’s Church. Just like in the original in Bremen, the donkey stands on his hind legs and roars. The dog stands on the donkey and barks. On the dog, there is the cat that meows and, finally, the rooster stands on the cat and crows. But the animals are not facing the bandits like in the original.
The group looks through a crack in a wall. This crack in the symbolic Iron Curtain was created during Michael Gorbatschow’s Perestroika and the events that followed. A lot has been said about this particular interpretation of the source material. Here’s the interpretation that I liked best: The animals are looking at a world that is new to them, that they hadn’t been allowed to discover before. Almost as if they were checking if everything is alright behind the curtain and if it is safe to make first contact.
Rituals around the Town Musicians of Bremen in Riga
There is a ritual that people like to follow when visiting the Town Musicians. Rubbing the noses of the animals is supposed to bring good luck. The respective parts of the statue are already quite shiny from all the rubbing. The most athletic visitors can even reach the rooster’s beak all the way on top and will, therefore, have an extra amount of good fortune coming their way!
The Town Musicians of Bremen in Riga
Skārņu ielas mala Riga,