Rīga's Three Brothers awarded European Heritage Label

On March 30 the European Commission (EC) decided to award the 'Three Brothers', the oldest stone buildings in Rīga, the European Heritage Label, according to the National Cultural Heritage Board (which is also housed at the site) on April 1.

According to the EC website the sites are “carefully selected for their symbolic value, the role they have played in the European history and activities they offer that bring the European Union and its citizens closer together.” The National Cultural Heritage Board submitted the Three Brothers at the beginning of 2019 to highlight the role the site played in protecting Latvian cultural heritage, especially during difficult circumstances. 

“The philosophy of the early Soviet-era restoration created by specialists educated during the first era of Latvian independence also inspired the careful protection of other objects from the threat of occupying powers,” said board representatives.

The Three Brothers are located on Māzā Pils Street (Small Palace Street) 17, 19 and 21. The medieval buildings were built between the 15th and 17th centuries and are architecturally typical of the Hanseatic cities in the Baltic region. They got their current look during the 1953-1957 restoration led by Pēteris Saulītis, which incorporated details from other buildings destroyed during World War II.

After regaining independence Latvia was able to integrate its experience and models for cultural heritage protection when it joined the European Union, doing it's part to contribute to modern European heritage preservation policy. The Three Brothers were joined by nine more new sites, making the total of sites with the label 48.

“As a result the Three Brothers have become a symbol of the cultural heritage protection system and it's “soft power” in Europe,” said the board.

The National Cultural Heritage Board plans to invest in spreading knowledge about the importance of cultural heritage protection and the Three Brothers over the next five years. The building complex sees around 60,000 visitors per year, and they're currently working on broadening the amount of information available for various age groups. The board is also working on an international study highlighting and evaluating the phenomenon of cultural heritage protection structures during recent long-term conflict situations.

 

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