A Swedish Heads-up

In Wismar, 'Swedish Heads' refers to two baroque busts of Hercules, which once stood on mooring posts at the harbour entrance.

Semicomical, with great curling moustaches, wearing lions as hats and painted in bright colours (one red-and-white, the other yellow-and-blue), the statues are believed to have marked either the beginning of the harbour or the navigable channels within it. It’s thought that before this they were ships’ figureheads.

The original heads were damaged when a Finnish barge rammed them in 1902, at which time replicas were made. One original is now in the Schabbellhaus. Two replicas guard the Baumhaus in Wismar’s Alter Hafen (old harbour). They’re also a boon for Wismar’s souvenir sellers.