This is the first time the municipality has implemented such a large-scale restoration program. Daugavpils has almost 200 state-protected cultural monuments and two large territorial urban monuments – the Daugavpils historical center and the Daugavpils Fortress, which makes it a unique city, according to State Inspection for Heritage Protection Latgale Regional Department State Inspector Dzintra Bukeviča.
“Daugavpils is a cultural heritage paradise. They're pretty well preserved, and there are also a lot of artistic monuments,” said Bukeviča.
Buildings unfortunately degrade with time, and the long and expensive process is often beyond the means of the owner. “Of course it's simpler to put in new doors, plastic windows, but that erases the cultural monument, it loses its face and eyes. It's important to restore and preserve,” continued Bukeviča.
The program aims to help owners who are stuck between monument protection laws and the laws that make them responsible for preserving the building. The first eight buildings will be an important stepping stone for continuing the city's facelift.
“It's our city's face, and it attracts tourists, because, for example, this house is our architectural pearl,” said one Daugavpils resident about one of the eight buildings.
The program will support buildings that have cultural monument status. Daugavpils City Council has promised to continue to program next year as well.