Last Update 1:41
Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Latvians pass books along human chain to kick off culture capital year

14,000 Latvians come out to help pass books to new library, while the Latvian capital Riga expects 25 pct tourism boost from culture capital events

Reuters, Sunday 19 Jan 2014
Books Chai
Latvians pass books along human chain to kick off culture capital year
Share/Bookmark
Views: 811
Share/Bookmark
Views: 811

Latvians of all ages formed a human chain in the freezing cold this weekend to pass books from the old national library to a new one two km (1.2 miles) away as part of festivities to celebrate Riga as Europe's culture capital for 2014.

Some 14,000 people, including children and the elderly, stood in temperatures of minus 12 degrees C (10 F) on Saturday to pass some 2,000 books hand to hand to a new library designed by Latvian-born U.S. architect Gunnar Birkerts.

The remainder of the library's more than 4 million books and printed items will be moved by motorised transport.

The concrete building, clad with glass panels and stainless-steel plates and resembling a mountain with a crown atop, sits on a bank of the Daugava River near the capital's Old Town and has been dubbed the Castle of Light.

Formerly a medieval outpost of the Hanseatic League of trading nations, Riga's art nouveau buildings have earned its historical centre a place on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites.

As Europe's rotating culture capital this year in conjunction with Umea in northern Sweden, Riga will host more than 200 concerts, exhibitions, festivals, conferences and performances.

The number of tourists to the city is expected to rise by 25 percent from 2013 to 2.1 million people, mayor Nils Usakovs said.

The arts programme was kicked off with the Latvian National Opera's production of Richard Wagner's early opera "Rienzi" on Friday. Wagner once lived in Riga, to escape his creditors back in Germany, and it is where he started working on "Rienzi".

In July, a series of concerts, "Born in Riga", will bring together world-renowned Latvian performers, including violinist Gidon Kremer and opera singers Maija Kovalevska, Inese Galante and Aleksandrs Antonenko.

The same month the "world choir games" will bring together around 20,000 singers from 70 countries in Latvia, which is famous for its choral-singing tradition.
Contemporary art works of Latvian-born American artist Vija Celmina will be on display from April to June.

The Baltic state suffered the worst economic downturn in the European Union in 2009, but after several years of austerity has become one of the fastest growing economies in the bloc. The country of 2 million adopted the euro on Jan. 1.

Initiated in 1985, the European Capital of Cultures programme is intended to highlight the richness and diversity of culture in Europe, according to the EU's website.

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.