Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Mediaeval sculptures in a Glasgow church that attest to the importance of early Scandinavian settlers in Scotland

article summary —

The River Clyde is the very essence of Glasgow, and yet nowadays many of the Scottish city's riverfront communities have become real backwaters. Who now visits Whiteinch? How many strangers to Glasgow know that it is still possible to cross the Clyde on the little passenger ferry from Renfrew to Yoker? Names like Clydebank and Govan which once struck resonances worldwide on account of their shipbuilding have receded from the public imagination. Govan is one of Glasgow's most historic working-class communities, and, though its rich industrial past may now be a matter of history, today it still warrants a visit. For, its fine ochre sandstone tenements apart, Govan has a group of monuments that are truly unique, not just in Scotland but throughout Europe.

For Govan's remarkable old Parish Church, called Govan Old by the locals, is home to an outstanding collection of early mediaeval stone sculptures. This improbable assemblage of sculpted memories in stone includes five hogbacks, truly evidence of the Clyde valley's multi-ethnic past.

Do a 'google' search on 'hogbacks' and you'll find a feast of geological curiosities, but the Govan hogbacks are something quite different.

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About the authors

hidden europe

and Susanne Kries manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.

This article was published in hidden europe 3.