Author: Hans Greiser van Gieng and Hans Vogel (1595); Bartholomew Gestman and Matthias Kleppisch (1666)
Date: created- 1595, corrections of the tail and regilding – 1666.
Material: copper, gilding
Technique: copper forging; gilding
In the Christian faith, the rooster is a symbol of vigilance. The apostle Peter, after banning Jesus three times, heard a cock crowing and realized what he had done. The cock reminds me of mental alertness.
The oldest picture of the Riga Cathedral tower is found in the German cartographer Sebastian Münster’s (1488–1552) work COSMOGRAPHIA, featuring the gothic spire before the fire of 22 May 1547. Then it was the highest spire in the whole town.
The engraving shows that there is no rooster at the top of the tower, possibly it was a lily as the symbol of the Virgin Mary and the Dom Chapter
The restoration of the spire was begun in 1594 and completed on 16 October 1595. After the finishing of the restoration, a weathercock was installed on the top. This weathercock is still on display in the Cathedral.
This tower stood in place for almost two centuries till 1774, when the Town Council ordered dismantling of the spire and gallery down to the cupola. Only the gallery was restored and covered with a small Baroque-style cupola. Reconstruction was completed with the installation of the ball and weathercock on 17 June 1776.
During the restoration work of the 20th century, the old Weathercock was removed from the tower on 23 April 1985 and replaced by a new one on 23 – 27 December 1985.
Inscription on the cockscomb: on one side – Greiser van Gieng und Hans Vogel makede mich A° 1595; on the other side – Bartholomaeus Goestmann hat diesen Hahn und Knopf zum andern mahl verguldet 1666 – A°. 1666. Matthias Kleppisch macht mein Schwantz gantz. (“I was made by Hans Greiser van Gieng and Hans Vogel in 1595; Bartholomaeus Goestmann has gilded this cock and ball in 1666. –Matthias Kleppisch completed my tail in 1666.”)