about Riga


The Big Christopher (Lielais Kristaps)


A long time ago a very strong ferryman lived on the banks of the Daugava. Once in the dark a little boy came to him and asked to be carried across the river. Though a thunderstorm raged, the man could not refuse the little boy, took him on his shoulder and carried him over the turbulent waves. Half way across, the weight became so heavy that the man could only continue with great effort. However, he pulled himself together and with the last of his powers put the boy safely on the riverside. This boy turned out to be a child-Christ and so the carrier received the name of Kristaps (Christopher).


In about 1510 a wooden sculpture appeared in Riga on the Daugava banks, called Big Christopher. The people of Riga loved it greatly. They often visited Big Christopher, decorated him with ribbons and floral wreaths, lit candles and begged for his protection against evil. The people honoured this statue irrespective of their specific faith, which enabled it to be preserved until the present time – it can be seen today at the Museum of Riga’s History and Navigation.