Baltic States -Wind Vanes and other photographic themes from other places.

I love photographic themes. When I travel, as secondary photographic travel narrative, I choose a theme. On my visit to the Baltic States, I chose wind vanes as a theme. Other themes have included Pub signs in London, detail on Art Nouveau buildings in Riga, Door knockers in Rome and Paris, and Georgian doors in Dublin – the least original theme ever.

Images from previous travel themes.

London Pub Signs

Art Nouveau Detail on Riga Buildings

Door knockers in Paris and Rome

Wind Vanes

Wind/weather/weathercock vanes have been around for a long time. Apparently they were independently invented in Greece and China around 2BC (though the dates vary considerably).

The Huainanzi, a guide to the theory of practice of government in early Han China (2CBE), describes a wind observing fan.

The Greek astronomer Andronicus is said to have created the first recorded weather vane. It was on top of the Tower of the Winds, in the ancient Agora, and was a tribute to Neptune. The octagonal Tower of the Winds was named for the eight Greek gods of the wind. It still stands, minus the original weather vane.


In the 9AD a pope decreed that every church should be topped with a cock shaped wind vane, as a reminder of the prophecy that the cock would not crow the morning after the last supper, referencing Peter’s betrayal of Jesus.

Weather vanes were often found on the front of viking ships – bronze weather viking vanes have been discovered from the 9th century.

In the middle ages, public buildings in Europe were adorned with weather/wind vanes which took the shape of an arrow or pennant.

The Baltic States have a huge variety of wind vanes.

The wind vanes on the Curonian Spit in Lithuania were quite different. They were introduced in 1844 by fishing authorities and were affixed to all sailing boats permitted to fish in the Curonian Lagoon. It made for easy identification of every boat, and where it came from.

In Nida today, there can been seen numerous examples of these wind vanes. They are made of wood, and people now use them as decoration to their homes, and in public places as a display.

In choosing wind vanes for my theme in the Baltic States, I inadvertently discovered the fascinating history of them.

In choosing future themes, I shall look for objects which also have an interesting history. Clock faces come to mind especially astronomical clocks, such as the Prague Orloj.

Earlier posts: