Archaeological Ensemble

Latvia submits Grobiņa archaeological ensemble to World Heritage List


Latvia has nominated Grobiņa Archaeological Ensemble for UNESCO World Heritage List. On 15 January 2020 Minister of Culture Nauris Puntulis signed a nomination application in the presence of the head of the National Heritage Board (NHB) Juris Dambis, archaeologist Juris Urtāns, Mayor of Grobiņa Municipality Aivars Priedols, the editor of the nomination application and project manager Ilze Kārkliņa, Secretary General of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO Baiba Moņņika and Deputy State Secretary for Cultural Policy of the Ministry of Culture Uldis Zariņš.


The 10 year long work on identifying and highlighting the values of the archaeological heritage, summarized in the nomination application, was made in cooperation with the National Heritage Board, Grobina Municipality Council and local residents (young people and history enthusiasts from the active tourism center “Curonian Viking Settlement”), with the support from the University of Latvia, Liepaja Municipality (Liepaja Museum), Union of Local Governments and UNESCO Latvian National Commission. Science section experts - historians and archaeologists - Elīna Guščika, Ingrīda Līga Virse, Juris Urtāns, Egita Lūsēna, Jānis Asaris, and Andris Šnē had a special role in the drawing up of the nomination application.


Grobiņa Archaeological Ensemble is considered to be the key to a unique change of the world communication experience. Grobiņa in the pre-Viking period - 7th-9th centuries - became the earliest and most impressive Scandinavian overseas settlement. Thus Grobiņa Archaeological Ensemble is a unique, well-preserved testimony to the origins of Scandinavian overseas activities in the Viking Age.


Minister of Culture Nauris Puntulis: “We are anticipating a big event - all the necessary preparations have been made for our country to officially apply for another object to be included in UNESCO World Heritage List. It has been several year long work involving professionals from multiple disciplines. Application and the possible positive result will testify to the richness and multi-layered nature of our culture, as well as to the increased international interest in Latvia. I hope that Latvia will be proud of its three World Heritage Sites in one year!”


Head of NHB Juris Dambis stresses: "Successful cooperation between professionals, local government and public interest groups has created a new identity for the place, which is a driver of thoughtful, qualitative development of Grobiņa based on the local values."


“Grobiņa Archeological Ensemble is powerful momentum of development both in historical and future terms – for the city, municipality and even the whole country. During the eight years since we started activities related to Viking topic, tourism has grown by more than 15%, but what is important is that our citizens, and especially the young people, have a growing awareness of history, which we can also be proud of internationally, ” says Grobiņa Municipality Chairman Aivars Priedols. "We need to take care of what we have, to create what we dream of!"


Nominations for the World Heritage List are evaluated by the International Council for Sights and Monuments (ICOMOS). The UNESCO World Heritage Committee shall decide on the inclusion of sites on the World Heritage List upon consideration of expert advice.


The UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Latvia currently includes two object - Riga Historical Center (included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997) and two points on Struve Geodetic Arc (included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005).



Additional information:

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes the world's most important cultural and natural heritage sites of outstanding universal value. Currently, the World Heritage List includes 1121 sites in 167 countries worldwide. They portray masterpieces of the human creative spirit, as well as unique places in the world of nature that have a special aesthetic value, biodiversity or peculiar interaction with the development of world culture. Most of the world heritage sites - 869 - are cultural heritage sites, such as the wooden churches in the Carpathian Mountains in Slovakia, the Old Town of Salamanca in Spain, the Golden Temple of Dambulla in Sri Lanka and so on. Alongside the cultural heritage, the World Heritage List includes 213 natural heritage sites such as the Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand, the Ilulissat Ice Fjord in Greenland, Denmark, Laurisilva forests in Madeira, Portugal, etc., and 39 mixed heritage sites such as Lapland in Sweden, Ibiza Biodiversity and Culture In Spain, Río Abiseo National Park in Peru etc.



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