Timber rafting on Gauja River included in list of UNESCO intangible heritage

  • 2022-12-01
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Timber rafting as a craft submitted in application of several countries, including Latvia, has been included in the list of UNESCO Nationwide Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Latvian National Culture Center (LNKC) representative Linda Ertmane told LETA that a joint bid on timber rafting was submitted by six countries - Austria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland, Spain and Germany. Latvia's bid included the timber rafting craft on the Gauja River.

So far Latvia has been represented with the Baltic song and dance celebrations in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and with the Suiti cultural space in the the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

Ertmane said that the timber rafting bid received a positive evaluation from experts, underscoring that timber rafting fosters collaboration and social cohesion within and among participating communities.

Culture Minister Nauris Puntulis (National Alliance) underscored that the timber rafting craft was practiced in many countries. Even though only separate elements of this tradition have been preserved through times, communities are still working to preserve them and hand over the craft to the next generations.

In the 19th century, timber rafting ensured income to Vidzeme farmers in spring. In the 20th century, rafts on the Gauja river were gradually replaced by floating loose timber due to economic reasons. In 1996 the tradition was renewed by organizing annual raft making and floating event on the Gauja river. In 2018 the craft was added to the Latvian national intangible cultural heritage list.