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 Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.