Rīga Dome named endangered world monument

The nearly 800-year-old Dome Cathedral in the Old City district of Rīga has been named one of 100 endangered sites for 2006, the World Monuments Fund has announced.

The New York-based World Monuments Fund is a private, nonprofit organization that every two years evaluates sites around the globe and creates a list of the most endangered monuments in an attempt to raise awareness.

The fund sent a mission to Rīga earlier this year to evaluate the cathedral, which was partially closed to tourists last year when concerns were raised about the building’s structural integrity.

“The mission determined that computer modeling of the cathedral’s structural systems should be carried out and continuous monitoring will be needed to fully ascertain the cathedral’s condition and develop a plan for its stabilization,” the fund said in its June 21 announcement. “It is hoped that listing will provide the impetus for the technical study to save this highly significant building.”

Construction on the cathedral began in 1211. The structure includes several architectural styles representing various eras during which improvements were made to it.

The cathedral is the second site in Latvia to have drawn the attention of the World Monuments Fund. The Abava River valley’s cultural landscape was named to the list in 1996 and 1998.

No site in Estonia has ever been named by the fund, but in 1998 the old town wall in Vilnius, Lithuania, was listed.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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