cultural environment

cultural environment

cultural environment


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Largest trees in Latvia

Standard for largest trees in LatviaLatvian/English Latin Perimeter, m Height, mApse/aspen tree Populus tremula L. 3,5 35Baltalksnis/white alder Alnus incana (L.) Moench 1,6 25Bērzs/birch tree Betula pendula 3,0 33Egle/spruce Picea abies (L.) Karst. 3,0 37Parastā goba/elm Ulmus glabra Huds. 4,0 28Parastā ieva/bird cherry tree Padus avium Mill. 1,7 22Parastā kļava/maple Acer platanoides L. 3,5 27Parastā liepa/lime tree Tilia cordata Mill. 4,0 33Parastā vīksna/flattering elm Ulmus laevis Pall. 4,0 30Melnalksnis/black alder Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn. 3,0 30Parastais osis/ash-tree Fraxinus excelsior L. 4,0 34Parastais ozols/oak Quercus robur L. 5,0 32Parastais skābardis/hornbeam Carpinus betulus L. 1,9 20Parastais pīlādzis/rowan-tree Sorbus aucuparia L. 1,7 21Parastā priede/pine-tree Pinus sylvestris L. 3,0 38

Most prominent <strong>cultural</strong>-historical stones in Latvia

Most prominent <strong>cultural</strong>historicalstones in LatviaĪvānu VelnakmensBestes jūdžu akmensAbavmuižaskrustakmens

ESTIMATION OF THE AESTHETIC QUALITIESThe estimation of the aesthetic qualities of a landscape in material termscan be illustrated by the taxation of real estate, when the price of land isconverted into a monetary equivalent according to a scale of certaincriteria.Landscape whose monotony is interrupted by at least a singlenatural element – a stone, a tree, a hillor a lake – will be awarded a higher taxation value.A monotonous landscape devoid ofartistic or aesthetic natural elements willbe awarded the smallest numberof points as:a wild plainendless grassy openspaceforest or a similarhomogeneous biotope11

DEVELOPMENT OF CULTURAL ENVIRONMENTUntil the 21st century, Central European <strong>cultural</strong> <strong>environment</strong> has beendeveloped under the influence of agrarian and industrial economy.Only the territories of marshlands and wetlands, unsuitable forfarming, were devoid of economic activities.These territories have now rapidly decreased or even disappeareddue to intensive industrialisation, road building and urbanisation.The notion of “<strong>cultural</strong> landscape” denotes a human-transformednatural <strong>environment</strong> which includes diverse footprints of humanactivity.12

Castle ruins of the Rēzekne’s Vogt (fogts)Castle mound in KandavaCastle mound in Daugmale

INDIVIDUAL FARMSTEADThe individual farmstead, having broken away from the tribal community, turnedinto the living space for the household and the family amidst a landscape that wasadapted for tilling and catle-breeding and capable of providing for the material andspiritual needs of all the individuals who lived in the farmstead.Farmstead in Vidzeme.17

RURAL LANDSCAPEThe rural folk’s excellent sense of nature and the <strong>environment</strong> when organizingtheir living space goes hand in hand with a responsible attitude towards the economicallyavailable territory and the immediate areas, very carefully selecting the place for residentialand ancillary buildings.Trees and alleys have been planted thinking of a harmonious <strong>environment</strong>; individuallandscape elements have been adjusted: bushes have been cut, springs and hugeboulders have been cleared, free space given to peculiar trees and attractive panoramicviews.18

RURAL ENVIRONMENTThe rural <strong>environment</strong>, in contrast tothe urban <strong>environment</strong>, ischaracterised by elements of high<strong>cultural</strong>, historical, architectonicand landscape potential.Important components are bigcomplexes, for example, manorsand their parks, public institutions:churches and churchyards,parsonages, schools, shops,pharmacies, municipality buildings,wind- and water-mills, factoriesand plants, ancient inns and postoffices, bridges, roads, railways andrailway stations.


CASTLES AND PALACESPalace in CesvaineToday historically significantand valuable elements ofhuman-created<strong>environment</strong> are awardedthe status of <strong>cultural</strong>monuments.Manors, parks, churches,medieval castles and theirruins have a high <strong>cultural</strong>,historical, artistic andemotional potential as wellas a considerable impacton the surrounding<strong>environment</strong> since all ofthem are, for military,logistical or even symbolicreasons, masterfullylocated in the landscape.Feudal lords, bishops and their vassals built their castles on hills or steep banks of rivers orlakes to serve as military support bases, to protect their property and territory and to maintaincontrol over the local population.

FEUDAL CASTLES AS BEGINNING OF TOWNSThe settlements in the vicinity of the medieval feudal castles developed intovillages and towns whose residents could engage in crafts and trade, thusbecoming mediators between the country folk and the buyers of theirproduction.The most impressive fortressesof Latvia are in:SiguldaDobeleCesisRigaLudzaBauskaAizputeVentspilsKrustpilsTuraida castle at river Gauja22

Bauska castle

Daugavpils castle – unique <strong>cultural</strong> and historical monument.

MANOR HOUSES AND PALACESApriķu manorThe architecture of the 17–19thcentury manor houses andtheir ensembles is the treasureof the <strong>cultural</strong> heritage ofScandinavian and easternEuropean countries, includingthe Baltic states, and has alarge potential for thedevelopment of tourism.The palaces built by Dukes ofCourland in Rundale andJelgava and several tens offormer medieval fortresses inLatvia have been recognized asvaluable <strong>cultural</strong> monuments.Palaces and manor houses aretaken under the protection ofthe Latvian state, includingRenaissance, Baroque andClassicism palace ensembles inMezotne, Kazdanga, Durbe,Stukmani, Varaklani, Preili,Kraslava, Cesvaine, Birini, Dikli,Ungurmuiza.

Dikļu pilsStāmerienas pils

Ēdole castle at sixties of the 19 th centuryand nowadays27

VILLAGES AND TOWNSVillages and small towns have several features of the urban <strong>environment</strong>,while still retaining the link with the virgin nature, cultivated land,gardens, fields, forests, waters, all of which was in the rural community’scollective use.Single-family houses became acharacteristic element of the<strong>cultural</strong> <strong>environment</strong> in villages;adapted for residence, productionor public functions and adjoined bya small territory for recreation. Theeconomic activities are not basedon agri<strong>cultural</strong> productionas the only means for sustenance -small-scale manufacturing, crafts,trading and sole proprietorship.Saldus 28

CULTURAL LANDSCAPE FROM WILD NATUREBy improving the virgin geo-botanical <strong>environment</strong>, humans gradually developed specialterritories separated from the surrounding landscape – gardens, decorative green areasand parks. In each climate and geographic zone they reflect the concepts of beauty andvalue of nature of a particular nation.The landscape cultivated according to definite aestheticand landscaping principles is the <strong>cultural</strong> <strong>environment</strong> inthe true sense of the word.Ancient records, literature, artworks and surviving <strong>cultural</strong>landscape artefacts bear testimony to the multitude of variations ofthe <strong>cultural</strong> <strong>environment</strong>.The Old Testament depicts paradise or the Garden of Eden whereflora and fauna created by God’s wisdom existed in ideal harmony.29

RUNDALE PALACEDuring the Baroque and Classicism period, the culture of the nobility pursued thecreation of impressive architectonic and landscape ensembles where a prominent placewas allowed to French style regular gardens and tree plantations. In the second half ofthe 18th century, they were transformed into romantic parks with an irregular network ofpaths and plantings of trees that reminded of a natural landscape.The Rundale Palace park wasreconstructed in 1980–2007 inBaroque traditions, and thelandscape diversity of theterritory was achieved byalternating regular paths, pondsand plantations, trimmed hedgesand alleys, seasonal plants, aswell as the architecture of smallforms: arbours, pergolas andpavilions.Baroque palace in Rundale.30

Churches in <strong>cultural</strong> <strong>environment</strong>To eradicate the heathen traditions of the Baltic tribes and make use of the habits of thelocals to worship at ancient sacred sites, Christian missionaries used to build churchesclose by springs, boulders and ancient trees, thus replacing the ancient sacred site with aChristian site.At the churches, they erected belfries andestablished churchyards for Christianparishioners. Marking o. the church andchurchyard territory, layered stone walls were builtto surround chapels, crosses of ancient burials,monuments and plantations of trees.The location of churches inrural areas was chosen to make the churchvisible from afar – in this way sacredarchitecture attracted flows of people.Church in rural area.31

CEMETERIES – OLD AND NEWCatholic missionaries a empted to adapt heathen burial sites to Christian traditions byerecting crucifixes and introducing Christian burial rituals. To confine the spread of epidemicsand follow the European examples of sanitation norms, on 1 May 1773, the Russianempress Catherine II issued a decree that prohibited burials under church floors and inmedieval churchyards at town churches.Steps taken to implement the decreeincluded establishing new cemeteries,which in the Baltic Region promoted theformation of a burial culture thatcorresponded to the rational spirit of theEnlightenment.Cemetery in Turlava rural district.The majority of rural cemeteriesin Baltic Countries, now turned into shadyparks, had a rectangular plan in the late18th and early 19th century.32

URBAN ENVIRONMENTA city is a highly developed form of a human settlement where the individual and social needsare met in the most rational way. The people who settle for city life create a system ofcollective behavioural norms to ensure their social needs.Geographically, a city can be defined as a living space that is densely populated by a relativelyclosed community of a vital economic importance to the surrounding territory.Geographically, a city can bedefined as a living space that isdensely populated by arelatively closed community of avital economic importance to thesurrounding territory.Skyline of Riga: a feature of the urban landscapehighly appreciated by UNESCO experts.33

URBAN ENVIRONMENTAll cities have certain common features: a concentrated multi-storey development,a branched structure of streets and roads, developed traffic and other systems ofcommunication, a complicated administrative mechanism with numerous institutionsthat regulate the individual’s actions and life.Not every city plan has a central compositionand a radial street network, but every city hasits symbolic centre, with the main streetsconverging at it.As a rule, it is the centre of the administrative power –the castle of the feudal lord or the bishop, the Town Hallor, in modern times, the municipality building.A spatial satellite of these symbols of power andarchitectonically expressive buildings is an amplepresentational space – a central square or a marketplace, a garden and a park, fountains adorned withsculptures and ponds as a venue for festivities, paradesand ceremonies.Centre of Riga city.34

URBAN ENVIRONMENT OF RIGA CITYA typical feature of Riga’s urban <strong>environment</strong> is its park belt – a chain of parks created in thesecond half of the 19th century to skirt the historical part, and the Canal Gardens with aninteresting man-made relief and a diverse dendrological and botanical composition, a complexnetwork of paths and many objects of decorative sculptures and monuments. The dismantlingof the city’s defence bastions and ramparts took place in Vienna and Riga around the sametime – in the mid-19th century; therefore, both cities have many common features.Beyond this park belt, there wasthe new part of the city with themain streets, boulevards andside-streets. In the late 19thand early 20th century, theregular and irregular rectangularstreet blocks were lined withapartment buildings, buildingsof educational andadministrative institutionsand public buildings amongwhich churches of variousdenominations stand out.Riga’s dense development borders with the Daugava River and thegreen zone.35

INDUSTRIAL ENVIRONMENTJust like the circular waves caused by a stone dropped into water travel towards theoutside, so does the functional zoning change towards the periphery in cities, andbeyond the impressive blocks of administrative and apartment buildings begins a belt ofindustrial architecture that embraces the centre.In the suburban area of Riga, surrounded by convenient access roads andwarehouses, yellow brick blocks of 19th century factory buildings rise. Thedevelopment of the port, domestic and foreign trade, banking business, growth ofindustrial production contributed to an economic boom in Riga in the late 19th andearly 20th century.Breweries and metal foundries, shipyards and engineering plants, textile factoriesand bicycle plants, water supply stations, railway stations, paper mills, cementplants, glassworks, wood-working factories, soapworks and ceramics factories makeup a small part of the multitude of Riga’s enterprises.In the modern world, industrial architecture is regarded as an important part ofhistorical heritage and a unique component of the <strong>cultural</strong> <strong>environment</strong>, and thebuildings that had once been built for industrial or other technical aims arecreatively adapted to new functions.36

PRESERVATION OF HISTORICAL INDUSTRIAL ENVIRONMENTIn previous industrial premises of gypsumfactory in Riga now are put on a shape newmodern apartments.Araisi windmill – an example of industrialarchitecture in the rural <strong>cultural</strong> <strong>environment</strong>.37

WOODEN ARCHITECTUREOF RIGA CITYConsiderately restored wooden housescan provide modern living conditions.Kalnciema and Murnieku Streets, wholeblocks of houses in the Latgale suburband private housing areas in the suburbstestify to the popularity of the so-called‘wooden Riga’ and outline a perspectiveof the preservation of an authentic<strong>cultural</strong> <strong>environment</strong>.38

UNIQUE OBJECTS OF URBAN ENVIRONMENTNaval port in Liepaja.Medieval castle in Cesis.39

SMALL PORT TOWNSThe urban <strong>environment</strong> of Latvia’s small port towns with the features of industrialculture – wharfs and fish processing enterprises – is inseparable from the attractivesmall town <strong>environment</strong> with private houses and gardens.As small fishermenagglomerations,Pavilosta, Mersrags,Roja, Salacgrivacombine thecomponents of bothurban and rural<strong>environment</strong>s in theirlandscapes.Fishermen town Pavilosta.40

RESORT TOWNSLatvia’s urban <strong>environment</strong> is diversified by resort towns as Sigulda, Ogre,Baldone, Saulkrasti, Liepaja and Jurmala with their peculiar cottagearchitecture, the exterior design for recreation purposes, also the curativeresources for the benefit of seasonal guests.LiepajaSaulkrastiSiguldaJurmalaBaldoneOgreThe history of Baldone and Kemeri as resorts is related to the development of balneology(use of medicinal mud) and climatotherapy. Their scientific research dates back to the late18th century when court physicians of the Russian Empress Catherine II visited theseplaces.The creative atmosphere of resort towns has facilitated the creation of manyworks of art, literature and music, and each resort town has its individualhistorical memory of prominent guests of the resort, writers, artists andmusicians.41

On the scale of the European culture, Latvia’sspa <strong>environment</strong> is particularly attractivebecause of the rich variety of forms and styles ofits wooden architecture. Thefacades of hotels, health institutions, restaurantsand concert halls with their light decorations,balconies, terraces, turrets and verandas are asignificant factor contributing to the charm ofresort towns.Sulphur spring inKemeri.Jurmala. A wooden Orthodox churchintegrated in the complex of the Kemeri sanatorium.42

QUALITY OF CULTURAL ENVIRONMENTCitizens of Latvia deeply love their native lands; therefore, they feel highlyresponsible for their <strong>cultural</strong> <strong>environment</strong>. A proof of this is careful tending ofindividual farmsteads, private houses, restored manors, their territories and gardens,decorating them with original design objects.The public acknowledgement ofthe most beautiful farmsteads andwords of praise for their ownersstrengthen the citizens’commitment to their land andmotivate them to follow theexample.Town hall in Ventspils.43

CHANGES IN CULTURAL ENVIRONMENTA different has been constructed in Riga’s urban space to create the image of thecatering and entertainment complex ‘Lido’, heavily using clichés of ethnographicarchitecture and national culture.Using traditional techniques of peasant wooden architecture, several large-sizebuildings of horizontal logs have been built to accommodate restaurants that cater forseveral hundred customers.Entertainment complex “Lido”.The designers constantly strive tore-decorate the attractive<strong>environment</strong>, replete with kitschyelements, according to Latviannational seasonal festivities,introducing new elements ofcommercial culture: Christmastrees, moving dolls and Santa Claussymbols.44

Open-air Art MuseumsThe Pedvale Open-air Art Museum, established in 1991 by the sculptor Ojars Feldbergsin an area of 100 hectares near Sabile, has now been recognised as an item of <strong>cultural</strong><strong>environment</strong> in art books. The permanent collection of the museum numbers nearly 150sculptures and <strong>environment</strong>al installations created during annual symposiums by bothLatvian and foreign artists.The museum concept stipulatesa synthesis of the natural landscape,agri<strong>cultural</strong> land, <strong>cultural</strong> heritage andworks of art in a united space of the<strong>cultural</strong> <strong>environment</strong> to integrate thenew artworks as harmoniouscomponents.Pedvale Open-air Art Museum.45

INTERACTIVE RECREATIONInteractive recreation in the <strong>cultural</strong> <strong>environment</strong> of Latvia is the territory of the‘Laumas’ farmstead in the rural district of Ive, near Talsi. Wide areas of fields andforests have been adapted for sport and tourism.The nature park is especially popular with tourist families. It offers informational trailsof Bees, Birds, Plants and Forest.Interactive recreation parkspopularises organised<strong>cultural</strong> <strong>environment</strong> andmakes people becomemore considerate ofnature.Nature trail at Munchausen’s museum.46

Turaida Museum Reserve andFolk Song Park-Dainu Hill.Nature trail in Slitere.47

DEGRADATION OR IMPROVEMENT OF THE CULTURALENVIRONMENTGlobal processes testify to anirreversible depletion of the Earth’sresources and degradation of the natural<strong>environment</strong>. These regularitiesrefer to the <strong>cultural</strong> <strong>environment</strong>, too.Desolate farmstead in Vidzeme – degraded<strong>cultural</strong> landscape caused by discontinuedagri<strong>cultural</strong> activity and changes inpopulation density.48

RENOVATED AND RETURNED TO THE SOCIETYCULTURAL ENVIRONMENTCastle of Kurland duke’s von Ketler in Bauska.House of the Blackheads in Riga.49


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