As you make your way to or from Elizabetes iela and streets around it to admire Riga’s beautiful Art Nouveau buildings, as you must, make sure you at least visit the northern part of Kronvalda Park for a look at this rather unusual memorial, located, rather poignantly and deliberately, in front of the former Communist Party Central Committee building.
The memorial is unusual in the sense that it combines two symbols of Soviet repression into a single memorial – barricades used here in Riga in 1991 and a section of the rather more famous Berlin Wall.
I have written, in a separate review – Barricades Memorial, about the barricades. These were erected in Riga, in January 1991, in an attempt to repel or prevent Soviet retribution for Latvia’s declaration of independence in the previous year, given the Soviet army’s move to restore its influence in the Baltics which had resulted in the death of 14 and injury of over 100 civilians in Vilnius, Lithuania on 12-13 January 1991.
The central component of the memorial, the Berlin Wall fragment was a gift from the Mayor of Berlin and a reunited Germany to a free Latvia.
For some peculiar reason the political graffiti that makes these fragments of the Berlin Wall so recognisable in other places was removed by authorities here in Riga when the memorial was refurbished in 2011. What a pity.
Inscribed on the memorial are the words:
The Berlin Wall separated us,
The Riga wall unites us.
Let us love one another,
And pray to God for our enemy.
Address: Kronvalda Park
Directions: In the northern part of the park