“After the completion of the reconstruction and restoration works of the castle, the museum will return to its historic home with expositions of Latvia's diverse historical stories, a rich educational and cultural programme, and a passionate desire to show and explain the riches of national culture. We are aware that we have in our hands not only the largest museum collection in Latvia - historical and cultural heritage of Latvians and Latvia accumulated over the years, but also the opportunity to shape the present and future, telling history to the public, perpetuating today in the museum collection and ensuring that the heritage of each generation is recorded in our culture,” emphasises Arnis Radiņš, director of the National History Museum of Latvia. Today, the museum embedded the evidence of this time in a capsule - a printed version of the museum's electronic “Messenger”, a Bank of Latvia coin dedicated to the castle's anniversary “Riga Castle - 500” and a flash memory, which contains the museum's exposition concepts and other related materials.
By embedding the capsule in the foundations of the restorable Riga Castle, Minister of Culture Nauris Puntulis took the opportunity to leave a message for the next centuries: “There is no future without the past - therefore protect the history of our country and its testimonies! Pass on the story of Latvia to future generations, how we protect it, tell it and pass it on: the red-white-red flag of Latvia not only flies forever in the tower of the Holy Spirit, but, placed in this capsule by myself, is also stored in the safe walls of the castle, while the owl brooch attached to the message for the future society, serves as a testimony to the antiquity of our nation and welcomes one to look just as far ahead.”
The restoration of the castel of Riga Castle takes place under the leadership of SRE. Currently, the restoration of the castel of Riga Castle is proceeding according to plan. In order to direct the restoration of the castel of Riga Castle more effectively, the first and second phase construction works are taking place in parallel. “Today, SRE stores gratitude in the castel walls of Riga Castle for the honour of leading this renovation project, where the best of the 21st century will meet - the breath of history and cultural heritage. We are aware of the responsibilities entrusted to us. The construction works at Riga Castle are a challenging and technically complex process, because there is history throughout, therefore research works continue in parallel with the construction works. It is intensive, continuous work of the clients in close cooperation with builders, architects and cultural heritage conservation experts. After the implementation of the project, it should take 1st place in the ranking of Latvian cultural monuments in terms of the quality of restoration. Observing the time constraints of the pandemic, we continue to work actively with determination to complete the restoration of the historic part of the castle in 2024,” says Jānis Ivanovskis-Pigits, Director of the SRE Development Department. As a symbol of the pandemic, SRE symbolically placed a face mask in the capsule.
Currently, active earthworks are taking place in the yard and basement of the historical part, as well as dismantling works are continuing in various areas, which will even make the premises more spacious in some places. Assembly of metal beams above the Chapel and Remter's premises has started. The surfaces of walls, ceilings and vaults are being cleaned and reinforced, reinforced concrete communication channels are being built in the basement, as well as large-scale restoration works are taking place.
At the same time, crack reinforcement works in the load-bearing structures and facade exterior walls, as well as reinforcement of the roof load-bearing structures using the prosthetic method, continue. The sub-layers of the chapel continue to be created for further processing of the ceiling retouching and glaze in order to approach the tonality and texture of the historical whitewash of the vaults. As a result of these processes, the approximate planned final visual appearance is already visible.
During excavation, dismantling and earthworks, various historical household items were found - for example, fragments of the historical interior elements of the castle dating back to the 17th-19th centuries, various dishes, bottles, stationery, as well as parts of historical manuscripts and printed works, transferred to the National History Museum of Latvia for further research.
Laser scanning works have been performed, as a result of which the first digital model of the Southern building of Riga Castle has been created, which will be gradually overgrown with engineering networks and constructions during the construction works and will eventually result in a complete building information model (BIM) or the digital twin of the Southern building. “Digital technologies allow one to record the actual condition of the building with high accuracy. The experience of recent years in using digital tools in the renovation of cultural and historical buildings has convinced us that we can overcome such challenges much more effectively, allowing all parties involved in construction to cooperate more conveniently, faster and more flexibly, and to identify problems in time and eliminate them in parallel,” says J. Ivanovskis - Pigits.
JSC “LNK Industries”, with which a contract has been concluded for 12.43 million euros (excluding VAT), is carrying out the construction of the first and second rounds of the castel of Riga Castle by investing the state budget funding attracted by the Ministry of Culture. In the autumn of 2020, SRE symbolically handed over the key of Riga Castle to the contractor to start the reconstruction works. Today JSC “LNK Industries” board member Kaspars Ratkevičs put a spirit level in the capsule: "The spirit level is a vital tool on any construction site. As you know, the higher the construction, the more difficult it is to independently assess whether there have been any deviations from the reference point. By enclosing the spirit level in the capsule, we want to confirm on the one hand that the restoration works of the castel of Riga Castle have been carried out in accordance with the highest construction accuracy standards, and on the other hand, to wish future generations to find their values and to maintain them as reference points for personal, national and global projects.”
The restoration of the castel of Riga Castle is carried out according to the construction project developed by PS “Rīgas Pils Kastelas projekts”, the author of which is the architect Reinis Liepiņš
The total area of the castel of Riga Castle construction project is 11.9 thousand square metres, of which 6.7 thousand square metres will be renovated, and of which 4.4 thousand will be put into operation. The remaining 5.2 thousand square metres in the first and second phases will not be renovated - it is planned to implement it in the next phases of the castle’s reconstruction. While the castle is under construction, the public has the opportunity to take a virtual 3D tour of the most important part of the restored castle video.
SRE is currently implementing 118 infrastructure development projects worth approximately 180 million euros and working on 25 new project ideas. The company provides professional real estate management and administration for approximately 450 real estate properties with 1400 buildings of 1.1 million square metres and more than 4000 land properties with an area of 10 million square metres. SRE was founded in 1996 and its 100% shareholder is the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Latvia.