Regular visitors to RT’s LOTR will know I’m a sucker for any sculpture garden. Someone else has done the real artistic work, and all I have to do is point a camera at it. In the small town of Sigulda, 50km north east of Riga, is a patch of green overlooking the Gauja valley national park. It contains seventeen large works in granite, each depicting a Latvian folk song.
Krisjanis Barons was a folklorist who collected thousands Latvian folk songs, known as dainu. These short poems are impossible to translate directly we’re told, due to the odd rhythm of the language. Indulis Ranka has attempted to represent them in stone.
The stories told in song are generally melancholy, tales of lost love and the transience of life. Or they are like proverbs – ‘A golden horse may inspire, but it is just a dream.’ ‘Better to soar like a seagull than to live like a snail.’ ‘Those who respect the past will be blessed by the future.’
The park opened in 1985 and is often the venue for concerts and other cultural events.
Entry costs 1lat (roughly USD2). English-speaking guides can be arranged for 10lat per group.
The writer was a guest of Odyssey Travel. http://www.odysseytravel.com.au