Photos: Centenarians meet for centenary

On July 15 the first Centenarian Congress took place at the baroque Rundāle Palace with 35 out of 42 Latvia's people aged 100 or slated to become hundred years old in 2017 meeting and mingling a year before the country's founding centenary. 

The centenarians arrived at Rundāle via the Music Alley where they were met by brass orchestra, folklore dancers and musicians from across Latvia.

A screening of Born together with Latvia was shown with many of them as participants. They also dedicated congratulatory notes and wishes to the state, which will be turning 100 next year.

Marģieta Stikāne, hailing from Rucava, said that her life at the countryside is the source of her strength. She's still doing gardening at her own place and she wished Latvia to witness a spiritual renaissance.

"May Latvia remain independent and may we determine [our own fate] and may foreign boots never tread it. And may people not strive for money but spiritual values instead," she said.

While Jānis Apinis said that ten years in Siberia had hardened him both physically and mentally. He said that mental fortitude of the Latvian folk is quickly withering away.

"The young people should hold the Latvian flag with zest, so that it may fly, and so that our favorite song accompanying it would be 'God Bless Latvia'. [the national anthem - ed.] And so it may continue for several hundred years," he said.

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