Around 20 000 heritage cultural sites were mapped as the result of Estonian and Latvian co-operation  24.03

Estonian and Latvian state forest management authorities mapped around 20 000 heritage cultural sites as a result of a voluminous co-operation project that lasted for two years and cost almost a million euros. Summaries about the co-operation and collections introducing the heritage culture of Tartu and Põlva Counties will be presented tomorrow at a seminar in Tartu.

RMK has worked with heritage culture since 2005. Since then there have been 28 700 historic sites, like homesteads, stone fences, old forest trails, memorial stones, ancient trees and other sites indicating the activities of previous generations, mapped in 12 counties in Estonia.

In 2009 Latvia was included in the undertaking and together with their state forest management authority and the administrator of the Northern Vidzeme Biosphere Reserve, the work of mapping the heritage culture of Southern Estonia and northern regions of Latvia began, in order to better acknowledge, preserve and exhibit heritage culture also upon offering recreational activities in nature. The scope of the project was one million euros, 85% of the financing came from European Regional Development Co-operation Fund. The leading partner and co-financer of the project was RMK.

The extensive co-operation resulted in mapping over 9 100 heritage cultural sites in Estonia (Põlva, Tartu, Valga and Võru Counties) and more than 10 800 sites in Latvia (Valka, Valmiera, Alūksne and Limbaži regions).

In Estonia this has resulted in:

  • 32 000 hours of labour spent and 165 000 km covered
  • 108 people were trained as staff taking inventory of heritage culture
  • 60 people were employed as the staff taking inventory of heritage culture
  • 50 forest owners were taught to maintain and preserve heritage cultural sites
  • Over 2 000 people participated in information days and events of heritage culture
  • 70 forest owners have been to Latvia to practice
  • Cross-border heritage culture maintenance and preservation area together with study trails has been built on the bank of the Koiva River, between Taheva and Olinase
  • County books of heritage culture have been published in Valga, Võru, Põlva and Tartu Counties.

Along with the beginning of spring, data on the mapped sites was published in the public database of the geo-website of the Land Board and this makes it possible for every nature lover to learn about the heritage culture in their native area while planning a trip to the wild or studying the history of their native area.

RMK is involved in taking inventory of heritage culture because it is a significant part of our culture, a piece of our national identity. The objective is to map all of Estonia’s heritage culture, regardless of the form of its land and ownership. The focus is primarily aimed at cultural sites found in nature; towns and settlements are not included in the focus of RMK. Anyone who knows a site that deserves attention due to its history can participate in mapping heritage culture. A respective form should be filled out on RMK’s thematic website.

Further information
Vaike Pommer
Heritage culture specialist, RMK

Telephone: +372 514 3838