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Fire at Rīga Castle

Last night, just after 10pm local time, a fire broke out on the roof of the Castle of Rīga, which spread to several floors over the next few hours, burning several thousand square metres of area (some estimates say 3200 square metres, mostly the roof, attic and the third and fourth floors). The extent of the damage is not yet known.

Rīga Castle was founded in 1330, with numerous modifications and renovations taking place since, most notably in 1497, 1515, 1641 and throughout the 17th to 19th centuries. Renovations were more recently done in the 1930s, and modern renovations were currently taking place. It is not known at the moment if the renovations under way had anything to do with the fire that arose.

Rīga Castle is the official residence of the President of Latvia, though due to the renovations his offices and residence had been relocated, so he was not in danger during the fire.

The item of biggest concern is the fact that Rīga Castle was also home to several museums, most notably the National History Museum of Latvia, as well as the Literature and Music Museum and some collections belonging to the National Art Museum of Latvia. The full damage or destruction to the collections is not fully known at this time, but early reports state that artifacts haven’t been destroyed, but some may have sustained serious damage. Which artifacts these are is not currently being reported.

News reports:

BBC (English), Delfi as-it-happens feed from last night that I was following (Latvian), Diena interview with Žaneta Jaunzeme-Grende, Latvian Minister of Culture, regarding museum artifacts (Latvian).

2 comments to Fire at Rīga Castle

  • What a horrid shock that was!! There will certainly be unfortunate water damage to some artifacts. And overall the renovations will be delayed. I hope this does not seriously affect Riga’s planning and celebrations as the European Culture Capital in 2014!

  • Pauline

    Do you have an update, Antra?

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