The Freedom Monument if a symbol of independent Latvia. From the moment Latvia acquires its independence a search for a suitable artistic solution started and donations were gathered. The monument was built in 1931-35, its author was a well-known latvian architect Karlis Zale. The statue of Liberty (sculpturer R. Mirsmeden) holds three stars - the symbols of historical areas in Latvia: Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Latgale.
The pedestal is surrounded by sculptural compositions "Buards of Fatherland", "Mother Latvia", "Labour and Family" and others. The monument is turned to the West - the Liberty sculpture looks that way, proud sculptures of other compositions look the same way. Figures in chains, bent in a bow look the other way - to the East.
It is interesting to know that the symbol of independence of Latvia managed to survive the soviet times. According to the legend, Stalin planned to blow it up after the war but Vera Muhina, who was born in Riga and was a student of K. Zale, stood up for it. The monument, that was of a great artistic value, was not destroyed, but was indeed forgotten. Lenin's monument on the other side of the boulevard was built standing with its back to "Freedom" and its face to the East.
Naturally, during the "Perestroika" time, the Freedom Monument was the main place of meetings and piquets. In 1994 it was the place where Bill klinton supported the independent Baltic on behalf of America. The monument is also populr for the well-known maches of the vererans of the Latvian legion of SS in the 90s, that ended with laying flowers at the pedestal. These marches were banned by authorities for different reasons.
In 2001 the monument was reconstructed. It now has a guard of honour, festivities take place here.References:
The Château de Chaumont was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. The purpose was to protect his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou. On his behalf the Norman Gelduin received it, improved it and held it as his own. His great-niece Denise de Fougère, having married Sulpice d'Amboise, passed the château into the Amboise family for five centuries.
Pierre d'Amboise unsuccessfully rebelled against King Louis XI and his property was confiscated, and the castle was dismantled on royal order in 1465. It was later rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise from 1465–1475 and then finished by his son, Charles II d'Amboise de Chaumont from 1498–1510, with help from his uncle, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; some Renaissance features were to be seen in buildings that retained their overall medieval appearance. The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers. Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.
Later Chaumont has changed hands several times. Paul de Beauvilliers bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. Monsieur Bertin demolished the north wing to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.
In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.
The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.