On 15 May 2019, exactly one year ago, the Managing Authority of Latvia-Russia CBC Programme 2014-2020 and Daugavpils City Council signed the first-in-row Grant Contract to implement the project Preservation and promotion of the cultural and historical heritage in Latvia and Russia (LV-RU HERITAGE). This milestone marked the successful completion of the long and important processes of project development, evaluation and contracting. Now we are all focused on project implementation!
The partnership of Daugavpils City Council, Cesvaine County Council, Pskov City Administration, and the SJSC «State Real Estate» has been working on preserving historical landmarks and boosting tourism-related creative industries. “Fortresses, castles and manors are the important part of Latvian and Russian common cultural and historical heritage” – explains Artjoms Mahlins, the project manager from Daugavpils City Council. “The project is actively moving forward, and we can’t wait to see the results of restoration and to open doors to visitors.”
In a year’s time, the infrastructure works in the Powder Magazine of Daugavpils Fortress, Cesvaine Castle and Bekleshev’s Manor House in Pskov started and developed full speed. “This project includes a large scope of reconstruction works, yet, we equally value the experience exchange with our partners regarding border regions tourism development” – explains Kristina Kobyz, Chairperson of the Committee of Cross-border Cooperation and Tourism of Pskov City Administration.
One of the project’s key soft activities is International Festival of the Military Historical Re-enactment “Dinaburg-1812”, a large cross-border tourism event, which took place in Daugavpils Fortress in summer 2019 and gathered 160 participants from Latvia, Russia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus and Czech Republic. Hundreds of Daugavpils visitors and locals came to enjoy the Festival. “We were excited to see newcomers from foreign historical re-enactment groups” – continues Artjoms Mahlins. “All participants experienced 19th century atmosphere, battles, army parade and enjoyed beautiful Daugavpils heritage sites. We were happy to welcome dance and folk groups from our partner-cities of Pskov and Cesvaine as well!”
The project beneficiaries appreciate the opportunity to develop and enhance their tourist info centers through experience exchange and learning about the cultural and historical heritage of partner cities. No surprise that these topics were the focal points of the conference in Daugavpils and working meeting in Cesvaine. As Kristina Kobyz points out, “it was important for us both to embrace the cultural and historical heritage of our partner cities, and to adopt their experience of managing tourist info centres. Additionally, it was helpful to learn how to promote gastronomic potential, and to study the tools of local entrepreneurs support”.
“All three beneficiaries from different regions of Latvia and Russia are very experienced CBC actors, – explains Artjoms Mahlins, – and it makes communication and planning efficient and result-oriented.” The project beneficiaries successfully overcome the challenges of COVID-19 by moving many processes online: they are actively involved in joint cross-border tourist route development and proceed in accordance with project implementation plan. “We cherish this cross-fertilization and aspire to develop together with our partners. We communicate despite the borders that separate us geographically” – continues Kristina Kobyz. “For us, this cooperation turned to be not just a business opportunity, but it laid foundation of friendship among our municipalities.”
The MA and JTS team wish the very good luck to all the project beneficiaries and looks forward to exciting results!