Unearthed Riga fortifications to disappear again

During construction work on the water supply system, last week parts of a 17th-century fortification were announced to have been unearthed in Old Riga. These were established to be the remains of the old Mārstaļu bastion. However, after a brief stint outdoors, the walls once protecting Rīga will be buried again under soil and concrete, reported Latvian Radio Monday.

"At the moment research has concluded. Builders can resume work without destroying the historical heritage, in cooperation with archaeologists, specialists from the State Inspection for Heritage Protection," Ilze Dimante, a representative of the Rīga City Council, told Latvian Radio.

According to Ilze Reinfelde, historian at the Rīga History and Naval Museum, the uncovered bastion was the oldest part of the Rīga fortification system, built in the 15th and reconstructed in the 17th century.

"In the 19th century the outer fortifications of Rīga were generally torn down. However, evidently they tore down only as much as was needed at the time. Many parts of the buildings have been preserved underground. The ruins of Mārstaļu bastions are preserved exceptionally well," Reinfelde said.

Having been researched and photographed, the fortifications will be at least partially torn down, while the rest of the bastion will be underground as the ditches fill up again.

"I am afraid that Rīga doesn't have enough resources to install a glass cover on one of the main transport nodes," Reinfelde told Latvian Radio.

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