During the construction of the oldest part of Riga Castle or kastel, a new object was discovered. Experts estimate that it could be an approximately 600-year-old castle kitchen stove or oven. Currently, the unveiling and purification works of the historical find are underway, after which in-depth research will be started, informs Renārs Griškevičs, Chairman of the Board of SJSC “State Real Estate” (SRE).
The exposed structures in the basement of the western building of Riga Castle are currently the second most significant discovery after the wall paintings previously discovered in the southern building of the castle. “In order to preserve the cultural heritage of Latvia, we treat each find responsibly. 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,” reveals R. Griškevičs.
“The exposed structures refer to the oldest construction period of the castle - 14th-15th centuries. The exposed brick masonry found near to the 13th and 14th century brick walls of the castle could have been a fireplace for cooking or a warm air heating device. We have rather uniform ideas about such constructions in Latvia from the examples so far. The surface of the finding is fragile, therefore, in order to protect the object from accidental damage during its exposure, it is covered with special plates. After the object is exposed, in-depth archaeological research will be carried out,” says archaeologist Mārtiņš Lūsēns.
Currently, the restoration of the kastel of Riga Castle is proceeding according to plan. 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. Crack reinforcement works in the load-bearing structures and facade exterior walls, as well as reinforcement of the roof load-bearing structures continues. The sub-layers of the chapel continue to be created for the 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.
The restoration of the kastel of Riga Castle takes place under the leadership of SRE. 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 kastel of Riga Castle by investing the state budget funding attracted by the Ministry of Culture, and the construction works have started in autumn 2020. The restoration of the kastel 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 kastel 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.
Last year, 17 nationally significant development projects with a total budget of 29.5 million euros were completed under the leadership of SRE. In the conditions of the pandemic, respecting the precautionary and safety requirements, work on 43 different construction sites of national importance with a total project budget of 156 million euros continues under the leadership of SRE. SRE provides professional real estate management and administration for approximately 400 real estate properties with 1100 buildings of 1.02 million square metres and more than 3600 land properties with an area of 9.6 million square metres. SRE was founded in 1996 and its sole (100%) shareholder is the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Latvia.