LETONIJA – LATVIA – LATVIJA

Crkva Hristovog rodjenja u Rigi-The Nativity of Christ Cathedral in Riga

Crkva Hristovog rodjenja u Rigi-The Nativity of Christ Cathedral in Riga

Kuca Crnoglavih-House of the Blackheads

Kuca Crnoglavih-House of the Blackheads

Mala Kuca esnafa u starom gradu Rigi-Small Guild House in the Old Town of Riga

Mala Kuca esnafa u starom gradu Rigi-Small Guild House in the Old Town of Riga

Muzej okupacije-The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia

Muzej okupacije-The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia

Novogodisnja prodaja suvenira-New Year's souvenir market

Novogodisnja prodaja suvenira-New Year’s souvenir market

Stari grad Riga-Old Town of Riga

Stari grad Riga-Old Town of Riga

Ulica starog grada Rige-Old Riga street

Ulica starog grada Rige-Old Riga street

Zaledjena reka Daugava-The frozen Daugava River

Zaledjena reka Daugava-The frozen Daugava River

Zgrada opere-The Opera House

Zgrada opere-The Opera House

U zimskoj noći, koja je je prerano pala u ovim severnim krajevima Evrope,
polako se spuštam u letonski glavni grad Rigu, malim avionom lokalnog
avioprevoznika Air Baltic. Na putu od aerodroma uočavam upadljivu i estetski
vrhunsku neonsku osvetljenost velikih tržnih centara i mostova.
Ova mala zemlja je krupnim koracima pobegla od Rusa i ušla u Evropu, zajedno
sa svojim baltičkim sestrama Litvanijom i Estonijom. Sam grad bi mogao da
ponese epitet malog Pariza, jer poseduje deo njegove lepote i neodoljivosti.

Jezgro samog grada, stara Riga, ipak je najlepši deo, sa romantičnim starim
trgovima, palatama nekadašnjih trgovaca i moćnika, gotskim katedralama.
Zahvaljujući tome nalazi se na Uneskovoj listi svetske kulturne baštine.
Najlepša je svakako palata čudnog imena –  Kuća Crnoglavih iz XIV veka,
sedište istoimenog bratstva, istorijskog vojnog reda nemačkih trgovaca
neženja, čiji je crni svetac i pokrovitelj bio Sveti Moris, koji se nalazi
na grbu palate. Nekada se u ovoj zgradi nalazila najveća zbirka srebrnih
predmeta na svetu.  Crkve Svetog Petra, Svetog Đorđa, Jovana Krstitelja i
druge pravi su biseri sakralne arhitekture, kao i glavna katedrala letonske
evangelističke luteranske crkve iz 1211. godine.
Baltičke zemlje su toliko ponosne na svoju dugo očekivanu slobodu, da su
osnovale muzeje posvećene svom oslobađanju; u Rigi je to Muzej okupacije
(sovjetske, naravno), koja je trajala pola veka, do 1991. godine, u Viljnusu
u Litvaniji Muzej KGB-a. Tu su prikazane užasne scene proterivanja Letonaca
u sibirske gulage i mučenja u njima, a bez nekog važnijeg razloga. Staljinu,
doduše, nije bio poreban razlog, a, s druge strane, mogao se vrlo lako i
pronaći – bilo je dovoljno proglasiti nekoga neprijateljem revolucije.
Novogodišnje je raspoloženje; veoma je hladno, a na malom centralnom trgu
otvoreno je puno drvenih kućica u kojima se prodaju narodne rukotvorine,
ispred kojih se piju čaj i grog. Reka Dougava  je okovana ledom, a veliki
mostovi samo se naziru u magli. Sve je mlečnobelo i hladno i Božić je na
pragu, ali nema one pretprazničke euforije kao na Zapadu.
Veliki brat je otišao, ali su njegovi tragovi ostali. Mada ni on nije tako
daleko.

Decembar 2010.
____________________________________________________________

On a winter night, and night falls too early in these Northern parts of
Europe, the small airplane I am on, operated by the local company Air Baltic
descends slowly towards Riga, Latvia’s capital city. On the way from the
airport I notice a conspicuous and aesthetically superior lighting of the
big shopping centres and bridges.
This small country has left Russia in big strides and joined Europe together
with its sisters, Lithuania and Estonia. Riga itself could be called ‘little
Paris’ as it possesses some of its irresistable beauty.
Yet, the most beautiful part is Riga’s old centre with its antiquated
romantic squares, palaces of former merchants and aristocrats, and gothic
cathedrals. Owing to this, Riga is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
Certainly the most beautiful is the palace with an unusual name – the House
of the Blackheads, from the 14th century, the headquarters of a fraternity
with the same name, a historical military order of the Society of German
bachelor merchants whose patron saint is black Saint Maurice represented on
the palace’s coat of arms. The world’s largest collection of silver items
used to be in this building. The Church of Saint Peter, St. George, St. John
the Baptist and others, are real gems of sacral architecture, as well as the
main cathedral which belongs to the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran church from
1211.
The Baltic countries are so proud of their long awaited freedom, that they
have established museums devoted to their liberation; in Riga that is the
Museum of Occupation (Soviet, of course), which lasted half a century until
1991 and in Lithuania’s Vilnius it is the KGB Museum. Horrible scenes of
exile into Siberian gulags and torture of the Latvian population are
depicted here. All this without a particular reason. Stalin did not really
need a proper reason, and on the other hand it could be found easily – it
was enough to proclaim someone the enemy of the revolution.
Right now the atmosphere is festive, just before the New Year; it is very
cold and on the main square a lot of wooden huts have been set up selling
folklore handicrafts and tea and grogue are consumed. The River Dougava is
ice bound and the big bridges can barely be seen through the fog. Everything
is milky white and freezing and Christmas is coming, but there is no festive
euphoria like in the West.
Big Brother has left, but his marks have remained. And he is not that far
either.

December 2010

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