Arguably, Latvia’s most important symbol of national identity is the Latvian Freedom Monument in central Riga, close to the National Opera House and Riga Old Town. After painstaking construction and literally hundreds of thousands of man-hours, this granite and copper symbol of Latvian independence was finally finished in 1935. During Soviet times the Freedom Monument remained, for many native Latvians, a symbol of national identity and with regained independence in 1990 it once again became the central and uniting point of the whole nation.
A guard of honour watches over the monument each and every day from 9 in the morning until 6 in the evening. Visitors can witness the changing of the guard on the hour every day.
In recent years some foreigners, including members of British stag parties, have been arrested for urinating on the Freedom Monument. This has caused some anti-foreigner sentiment because many Latvians feel that their symbol of national identity has been defiled.