Kuldiga on the way to the UNESCO World Heritage List
In January 2021, Latvia nominated Kuldīga for the UNESCO World Heritage List by submitting the nomination application "Kuldīga / Goldingen Kurzeme" prepared to the UNESCO World Heritage Center.
The idea of applying Kuldīga to the UNESCO world heritage list is old - it arose immediately after Latvia ratified the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage in 1997. Work on the development of the nomination began in 2001 during the time of the then mayor of Kuldīga, an architect by profession, Edgars Zalāns. Inga Bērziņa, who has been in charge of the municipality since 2007, continued what was started under his leadership and Kuldīga's progress towards UNESCO is supported.
Kuldīga has been on the UNESCO National List of Latvia since 2004. In order for the city to be applied to the World Heritage List, it was necessary to arrange the historical center of the city, develop management and development plans, identify the values of the city of Kuldīga, preserve them and purposefully restore them. The cooperation of the city's residents, building owners, managers and the municipality of Kuldīga district, which has become an integral part of the management of the historical center, is very important. In 2011, the Kuldīga Old Town Preservation and Development Plan was approved, which comprehensively includes various aspects of the preservation of cultural and historical heritage, integrating them in the sections of economic development, environmental protection, tourism and cultural development. He also worked carefully and for a long time, researching and popularizing the city's historical architecture and urban planning, landscape and natural values, as well as intangible cultural heritage. The cultural and historical heritage of Kuldīga is managed very purposefully, paying special attention to the preservation of original values, observing the principles of authenticity and nurturing the overall integrity of the historical urban environment.
Following the recommendation of the Assembly of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO, in 2018, the municipality of Kuldīga district engaged a group of international experts and students from the Institute of Heritage Management of Brandenburg Technical University under the leadership of Professor Brita Rudolfa to prepare the nomination. After careful research, B. Rudolfa suggested that the justification of the universal value of Kuldīga's special significance should be based on the context of the period of the Duchy of Kurzeme - Zemalle.
Latvia is currently represented on the UNESCO World Heritage List by the Riga Historical Center (1997) and the Strūve Geodetic Circle (2005). The submitted nominations for the World Heritage List are evaluated by the advisory body International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). Taking into account the recommendations of experts, decisions on the inclusion of sites in the World Heritage List are made by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.