The Cats of Riga

Me: Why is there a  cat on everything?
Random local: I don’t know.
Me: Why is the cat the symbol of Riga?
Tourist Information Office chap: It’s not official. It’s something to do with a story…or something.
Me: Do know what the cat on this magnet symbolises?
Market vendor: *shrugs*

A word to the wise, Rigans – if the tourist is asking, the tourist doesn’t know. So make it up! There are cats everywhere. On magnets, in pub names, on graffiti, on postcards – everywhere. Surely someone must know why? And if not, is it beyond the realm of reason to suggest that someone could come up with a plausible story? It’s not like I’m not going to believe you. I do it all the time in Budapest when someone asks me what such and such a building is… I spin a yarn, their curiosity is sated, no one dies. It’s a perfect win.

IMG_3712 (800x589)

It’s a scary world when I have to resort to Google over local lore to find an answer to what seems on the face of it to be a relatively simple question. Apparently back in the fourteenth century, an architect applied for membership of the Great Guild and was turned down. He was so upset that he put a black cat on the roof of his building with its backside facing the guild. The famous Black Cat of Riga, complete with arched back, symbolised said architect’s displeasure. Easy enough to remember eh? So why then did 100% of those I asked not know about it? Okay, admittedly, it was a small survey, but still! And by the way – said architect got his way in the end and turned the cat around.

IMG_4018 (800x600)

Share:

Sign up here to get an email whenever I post something new.

Never miss a post

More Posts

Staying local at Kányavári sziget

We dream of islands in the sun. Exotic places where we can get away from it all. We spend hundreds if not thousands of whatevers

Person wearing a kurent costume - horns, devil mask with glowing eyes, wool hair - like a sheep's fleece. Gruesome teeth barred - smoke in the background

Ptuj, Slovenia: Kurentovanje

Shrovetide carnivals like those in Rio de Janeiro, Venice, and New Orleans, need little by way of introduction. They’re well-famous, days-long festivities in the lead-up

One arch of a red iron bridge spanning a wide river. Bridge is reflected in the water as is the cloudless blue sky

Strolling the streets of Maribor, Slovenia

I was surprised that Maribor didn’t make the list of the top 50 most walkable cities in the world. Or even the 33 most walkable

Sobering up in Maribor, Slovenia

Maribor. Maribor. Maribor. The name was embedded in my brain long before I ever set foot in the city. I knew of it because of

Walking through history in Maribor, Slovenia

I’m not a massive fan of museums. Unless they deal with war or resistance or the Holocaust. Or something completely off the wall like the

2 Responses

  1. Interesting………..there are similar cats on the roofs of the Edinburgh Old Town viewed from Princess Street………a delight, often wondered how someone maintains them, maybe they feed on pigeons!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

2 Responses

  1. Interesting………..there are similar cats on the roofs of the Edinburgh Old Town viewed from Princess Street………a delight, often wondered how someone maintains them, maybe they feed on pigeons!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.