The associations “Rīgas Kuģis/Riga Ship” and the “Senās ostas fonds/Ancient Harbour Fund” are looking for partners and investors in a historical social project with the goal of reconstructing the 12th century wooden ship found during archaeological excavations in Old Riga and building a tourist attraction and also workshop for putting skills and knowledge into practice “Senā osta/Ancient Harbour”. A project for attracting financing has been developed. Together we could have the opportunity to invest in Latvian society for the centenary celebrations!
The associations “Rīgas Kuģis/Riga Ship” and “Senās ostas fonds/Ancient Harbour Fund” have begun working on a project “Senā osta/Ancient Harbour”, which aims to preserve a disappearing non-material cultural tradition – the skill of wooden shipbuilding in Latvia. Thanks to its location on the coast of the Baltic Sea and at the crossroads of active trade routes, these trade skills were crucial in earlier eras throughout Europe; however, they have gradually disappeared due to the swift general industrial development of the past few centuries.
The aim of the project is not just to renew these skills and pass them on to the next generation, provoking an interest in carpentry as a non-material cultural tradition, but also to promote an interest in seafaring in young people. By simultaneously integrating these aims into a cultural tourism scheme as yet unseen in Latvia, the plan is to develop a new tourist attraction in Riga: a functioning ancient harbour and wooden shipbuilding workshop with open events to attract those interested.
The first phase of the project will include a full-size historical reconstruction of a Riga ship whose construction and operation would serve as a continuation of previous research by archaeologists, historians and other specialists on historical ships in Latvia.
The beginnings of the project
Archaeological excavations in Riga Old Town.
During the Second World War, some of the ship fragments uncovered during archaeological excavations were destroyed. Research restarted in 1982.
1980 – 1985
Master of Engineering Arturs Eižens Zalsters developed a project for the reconstruction of historical Riga ship.
His plan for building was not realised.
1997 – 2007
The goal of the social fund “Latvijas senie kuģi/Latvia’s Ancient Ships” was to build Riga ship by Riga 800-year anniversary.
They did not succeed in reaching this goal.
A group of enthusiasts intended to build a Riga ship by 2014, when Riga was preparing to become European Capital of Culture.
Work was not begun.
An association/public benefit organisation “Rīgas Kuģis/Riga Ship”, was founded.
The project “Senā osta/Ancient Harbour” concept was developed.
The project anticipates the building of Riga’s ship.
The association “Senās ostas fonds/Ancient Harbour Fund” was founded to put the project into practice.
The project is aimed at preserving a disappearing non-material cultural tradition in a format accessible to society in two aspects:
- a culturally historic urban environment – a harbour which, in the past, would have been the main socioeconomic centre and gathering place for cities near waterways, with its own traditions (space for public events), economic activity (trade, traditional fairs, etc.), craftsmanship (craft workshops, availability or services) among other things;
- carpentry, including wooden shipbuilding skills, which was a crucial economic cornerstone of countries throughout Europe during earlier eras but which, due to the swift general industrial development of the past few centuries, has gradually disappeared.
The project main goal is to create an interactive, educational tourist attraction – an interpretation of an ancient harbour in a modern urban environment, using modern knowledge and technological solutions combined with ancient skills of craftsmanship and the opportunity to pass these on to the next generations.
“Senā osta/Ancient Harbour” is planned as an interactive, educational tourist attraction for a wide age range, offering the opportunity to find out the role and significance of the harbour in an ancient city (for example, using various audiovisual solutions) as well as offering the opportunity to actively participate in the work of the carpentry workshop.
Carpentry, specialising in wooden shipbuilding, has been chosen as the project’s first-priority trade, because
- carpentry and shipbuilding particularly embody the essence and ambiance of a historical harbour;
- cross-border partnerships give the opportunity to work with various carpentry experts, maintaining disappearing skills, mutually converting theory into practice, maintaining culturally historic traditions long-term, and passing on knowledge to the next generations;
- carpentry is not just cultural heritage but an environmentally-friendly manufacturing method with impacts on other economic industries, therefore, motivating young people is especially crucial for learning and, by putting it into practice, maintaining this knowledge.
An interpretation of an ancient harbour has been chosen as the subject of the project because it offers the opportunity to make compact use a small territory for culturally historic (information on the urban environment, changes, traditions, trades, services) and modern educational (exchange of information, learning through hands-on workshops, etc.) purposes in an interactive manner integrated into the city environment.
Planned for the project
- events for finding out about and taking on the experience of partners, discovering gaps in our knowledge and attracting experts to form a powerful team of tourism and craftsmanship experts;
- workshops for establishing outdoor installations (installing a mobile workshop for craftsmanship demonstrations and increasing knowledge in practical work, audio-visual installations for demonstrating the ancient harbour), developing the ancient harbour replica and shipbuilding workshop with open events for attracting those interested to learn and participate in the trade;
- developing a strategy to ensure the sustainability of the outdoor installations, developing and maintaining the installations beyond the life cycle of the project, ensuring their permanence, as well as introducing PR events to ensure that the project and its results are visible.
- tourist attraction – “Senā osta/Ancient Harbour”, which would also be simultaneously promoting the region;
- workshop for putting skills and knowledge into practice – a shipbuilding workshop both for experts and interested beginners;
- passing on trade skills;
- practical experience (lectures, seminars, masterclasses) in ancient wooden shipbuilding;
- reconstruction of historical maritime artefacts;
- inspiring interest among young people in seafaring and craft;
- educational tours and trips along the Daugava in ancient wooden boats;
- filming historical films;
- number of visitors attracted during project implementation period and after implementation;
- place for completing new projects;
- long-term development strategy – business plan;
- exchange of experience at an international level – cross-border cooperation.
Depiction of the building process for historical Riga ship –
The vision for the “Senā osta/Ancient Harbour” infrastructure – the workshop, which is already in development, would be similar to this –
For more information contact [email protected]
Bank account specifications
Association “Rīgas Kuģis/Riga Ship”
Registration number: 40008211273
Bank: AS Swedbank
Association “Senās ostas fonds/Ancient Harbour Fund”
Registration number: 40008254446
Bank: AS Swedbank