Kuldīga is inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List - this is what the member states is deciding at the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee, which takes place from September 10 to 25 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, recognizing and evaluating the unique value of the old town of Kuldīga also on a global scale.
The road to UNESCO for Kuldīga has been a very large-scale process for more than 20 years, which has been carried out with high added value - creation of a heritage management system, scientific research and arrangement of cultural heritage sites, education of local community in matters of heritage protection, as well as arrangement of building regulations. During this time, the Kuldīga Restoration Center was also established and a support program was established to protect the historical building - all the work done created the prerequisites for the inscription of the old town of Kuldīga in the World Heritage List.
Latvian President Edgars Rinkevičs congratulates inhabitants of Kuldīga to the important event: "The inscription of the old town of Kuldīga into the UNESCO World Heritage List is an important international recognition for Latvia and Kuldīga. I congratulate the people of Kuldīga on this success! Every time I visit Kuldīga, I have made sure that the town lives its dynamic life, the district continues to develop thanks to the entrepreneurship of its residents. UNESCO's brand of excellence promotes recognition on a global scale, thus also tourism potential. Although the charm of Kuldīga has always attracted visitors from near and far, I wish that this interest grows and brings tangible benefits to the local economy. I invite you to be aware of and take advantage of the opportunities that this international assessment provides!"
"At a time when we have survived a global pandemic, we continue to witness brutal, devastating warfare and crises caused by climate change, cultural heritage is more important than ever, because it is cultural heritage that embodies the promise of understanding, unity and a better future. Latvia's success in entering the name of Kuldīgas in the UNESCO World Heritage List would not have been possible without the selfless work of the Kuldīgas people for more than 20 years; it shows the love, self-confidence and dedication of the inhabitants to preserve and take care of the central treasure of Kurzeme for the benefit of future generations," emphasizes the Minister of Culture Agnese Logina.
Inese Astaševska, the Mayor of the Kuldīga District Council, is also proud of the new status of Kuldīga: "Historical heritage acquires great importance if local people recognize, are proud of and preserve it as a special value - since 1997, Kuldīga has moved towards the UNESCO World Heritage List with this approach. It is precisely what has been done in the preservation and development of the town together with the residents over the years that makes Kuldīga's story special. UNESCO is a benchmark that confirms that Kuldīga is marked on the world map as an important place of cultural heritage. We have done a lot, so it is a great satisfaction that the old town of Kuldīga is as important on a world scale as the Egyptian pyramids, the Great Wall of China, the Athenian Acropolis and other well-known places with universal value.”
On the other hand, Baiba Moļnika, Secretary General of the Latvian National Commission of UNESCO, expresses her satisfaction with the interaction between the local people and the architectural heritage: "Kuldīga is an example of how the architectural heritage interacts with the local community, which carefully cares for the preservation of this heritage, while at the same time creating new and lasting values. Kuldiga is an environment that inspires. Therefore, it is a pleasure that Kuldīga, which until now has been one of the national treasures of UNESCO Latvia, will be known on an international scale in other parts of the world.”
"Kuldīga is one of the most beautiful small towns in the Baltic Sea region, the evidence of its old history and the quality layers of later times have world-class value. Thanks to the efforts of several generations of culture, local authorities and community, these values have been preserved and create a quality living space with a special atmosphere. Awarding UNESCO World Heritage status is first a manifestation of value, followed by responsibility for conservation.” reminding of the need to continue the work of generations, preserving values, Dr. arch. Juris Dambis, Head of the State Inspection for Heritage Protection joins the congratulations.
KULDÍGA – ON THE WAY TO UNESCO
- 1997 Latvia ratifies the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the idea of nominating Kuldīga for the UNESCO World Heritage List arises.
- 2001 The municipality of Kuldīga submits a report to the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO on the desire to start work on the preparation of the Kuldīga nomination together with the State Inspection for Heritage Protection.
- 2004 The nomination of Kuldīga to the Latvian National List of UNESCO World Heritage has been submitted and approved.
- 2011 The Assembly of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO reconfirms the nomination of Kuldīgas in the Latvian National List of UNESCO World Heritage and sets the condition for submission to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- 2018 Following the recommendation of the Assembly of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO, the Kuldīga District Council is attracting a group of international experts in the preparation of the application. Recommendation – to supplement the justification of the universal value of Kuldīga in the context of the period of the Duchy of Courland-Semigallia.
- 2020 The updated application of Kuldīga to the Latvian National List of UNESCO World Heritage was submitted and accepted by the UNESCO World Heritage Center with a specified name and justification and description of the Outstanding Universal Value.
- 2021 The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia nominates Kuldīga for the UNESCO World Heritage List by submitting the nomination application prepared to the UNESCO World Heritage Center.
- 2023 a positive decision of the experts of the International Council of Landmarks and Monuments (ICOMOS) was received regarding the inscription of Kuldīga's nomination into the World Heritage List, which is a recommendation for the vote of the members of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. It is recommended to expand the territory to be included in the nomination, the scope of historical stages and change the name to "Kuldīga Old Town."
- 2023, September, the 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, makes decision on the inscription of the Kuldīga Old Town to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Kuldīga is the only town in the world that fully depicts the traditional architecture of the Baltic states, merging Latvian and German traditions. The particularly well-preserved 13th-18th century town structure, harmonious urban environment and the picturesque landscape of the river valley are clear evidence of traditional settlements in the region.
Kuldīga provides unique information about the Duchy's towns and cities, industries, crafts, traditions, and people.
About the UNESCO World Heritage List
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee meets in annual sessions to discuss the management of existing World Heritage sites and to evaluate new applications submitted by countries for the World Heritage List. The 45th World Heritage Session was planned to be held in Russia in 2022, but the war in Ukraine and protests by the member states caused it to be postponed and is being held this year in Saudi Arabia. Together with the Kuldīga Old Town, the committee examined 50 other nominations submitted by the countries this year.
Preservation and protection of the world's cultural and natural heritage is one of the most visible directions of UNESCO's activities, which was started more than 50 years ago. The World Heritage List was created to provide an opportunity to preserve and protect natural and cultural objects important to humanity from ill-considered human actions and extreme conditions, including natural disasters and conflicts. To this date, more than 1,100 cultural and natural objects around the world have been inscribed into the UNESCO list.
Nominations for the World Heritage List are made by national governments, recommending the most unique and outstanding cultural and natural heritage values. Prior to listing, the site is evaluated by experts from around the world, paying detailed attention to authenticity and historical evidence. It is a benchmark that certifies that a World Heritage site is an important cultural and natural heritage site, the preservation of which is in the interest of all humanity.
In 1997, the Historic Centre of Riga was inscribed into the World Heritage List, evaluating its medieval and later urban structure, wooden architecture, and excellent examples of Art Nouveau. In 2005, the list was supplemented by the excellent geodetic survey system "The Struve Geodetic Arc", two points of which are also located in Jēkabpils and Sestukalns.
Ilze Meirupska-Eglīte, Head of Marketing and Public Relations Department
Municipality of Kuldīga district
Phone +371 28377234, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org , www.kuldigasnovads.lv email@example.com , www.kuldigasnovads.lv