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Liepaja (Latvia)

Last modified: 2023-06-03 by zachary harden
Keywords: liepaja | latvia | lion | tree | lime | libau | linden |
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by Gvido Pētersons, 14 December 1999

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The tree looks like a lemon or lime tree to me, but, being a city boy , I can't tell the difference. I'd bet the tree is a cant on the name "Liepaja", but someone who knows Latvian could help there. The word "leppa"" means "ash (tree)" in Finnish, and although the languages aren't related, there has been much old and recent borrowing between Latvian, and Finnish and its related languages like Estonian and Livonian. Interestingly, the tree trunk is green in the CoA, meaning that the tree would be blazoned "vert" instead of "proper".
Lewis A. Nowitz, 10 April 1999

Liepaja get their CoA in 1625. Symbol of Liepaja is lime-tree (german name was Libau) "liepa". Lion symbolizes Courland. Meaning of flag colors (green/red) is unknown but probably they are derrived from CoA (green from lime-tree and red from Courlands lion).
Gvido Pētersons, 12 April 1999

The lime tree is shown to be green including the trunk. In heraldry, the trunk is frequently shown in its natural color, also to be blazoned "proper".
Lewis A. Nowitz , 16 April 1999

Trunk is green. In all sources (also old ones). I think because red lion is to close to tree. And red and brown (or dark red) together is wrong combination.
Gvido Pētersons, 16 April 1999

According to my father (a native of Rujiena) and several Latvian dictionaries, "liepa" means "linden tree" (a.k.a. "basswood" here in America). Clearly the leaves on the tree in Liepaja's arms are broad, heart-shaped leaves typical of the linden. Lindens are abundant in temperate Latvia; lime trees are tropical, and I believe the shape of their leaves is different, not so broad. Also, one Internet tourist guidebook refers to "the linden tree-lined streets" of Liepaja. So the tree in Liepaja's CoA is a linden (as would be any such leaves or trees in Latvian flags and CoA's).
Michael A. Penikis, 23 April 2000

I can vouch that the tree that is called the linden tree in Canada and northern Europe is called the lime tree in Britain - nothing to do with the citrus-lime tree. The name basswood is used for the same tree in the northeastern US. I think they are all genus Tilia.
Rob Raeside, 24 April 2000

Coat of Arms After Storm (vexillological/heraldic Humor)

by Gvido Pētersons

Coat of Arms of Liepaja after storm visited Northern Europe and Latvia January 8th.....:-)
Gvido Pētersons, 19 January 2005