The story of a Daugava boatman in the new digital information stands


The interactive information stands, placed in three locations - Koknese, Jaunjelgava and Staburags, were produced within the project No LLI-474 "Living rivers: tourism product development based on the ancient and modern history of the Baltic States". The project's main objective was to develop tourism based on the historical, natural and cultural heritage associated with living by rivers. Interactive stands allow us to take a virtual journey along the Daugava valley from Vīgante Park to Jaunjelgava, including the most significant sites on both banks of the Daugava before the Daugava was flooded, as well as Jaunjelgava as an ancient trading town.

The interactive stands have been created in successful cooperation with SIA Aspired from Ventspils, who travelled a long way to attend the opening event and share the joy of joint work with the Tourism Department of Aizkraukle Municipality.

"Until now, the Koknese Tourism Information Centre had an interactive stand "Koknese - Daugava Valley and Pērses Ravine in the 20th century", created by the association "Pērses krasts". 30s". Tourists have repeatedly asked the question, when will we be able to see the lost Staburaga and other lost treasures? Now this longed-for moment has come true! " says Lauma Āre, Deputy Head of the Tourism Department of Aizkraukle Municipality.

"The Daugava of our memories is soft, clear and sonorous, with the songs of rafters and boatmen. Like a resonant string of a kokle, it lives on in our memories. Lead me, boatman, and stories, stories that I see - real rafts floating over the rapids, the high and glorious rocks of the Daugava," said Linda Onužāne, Tourism Specialist at the Jaunjelgava Tourism Information Centre, and Eduards Kaļķis, Head of the Artistic Department of the Jaunjelgava Culture Centre, addressing the audience, inviting to follow the story of the Daugava boatmen, which was intertwined with kokle melodies played by the Jaunjelgava Culture Centre folklore group "Lauce" and songs about our river of destiny.

"The role of the Daugava in Latvia's geography, cultural history and economy is well known, but not always properly appreciated. The transformations associated with our Daugava have both benefits and irreversible losses. The results of the transformation have from time to time brought the river to the attention of the wider public. The construction of the Pļaviņas HPP affected the best-known stretch of the Daugava valley in Latvia, which attracted the attention of travellers in the 19th century. It was this stretch that was home to some stunningly beautiful historical and natural monuments that today can only be seen in photographs. The interest in this place has remained even today", said Linda and Eduards.

Lauma Āre, Deputy Head of the Tourism Department of Aizkraukle Municipality, who took part in collecting the historical information, says: "This project was initiated by the former Development Department of Koknese Municipality Council in cooperation with Jaunjelgava Municipality Council. We are delighted that a digital story has been created that connects two cities - Koknese and Jaunjelgava. In total, the interactive stand gathers information and photos about 11 important stopping points along the flooded stretch of the Daugava from Vīgante Park to Koknese and from Aizkraukle Castle Ruins to Jaunjelgava. Each site is accompanied by a description and photographs. In addition, we can add new photos at any time, so we invite people to share photo evidence from their archives so that the story of the Daugava boatman can be further developed and continued."

Tourists will be able to get to know the story of the Daugava boatman at the large stand in the Koknese Tourism Information Centre, but the added value of this project is also the small stand, which has already been welcomed by Balttour 2023 exhibitors and can be taken with them on summer trips on the Daugava in one of the tourist boats or ships. "We cannot turn back the wheel of history, but we would still like to capture those moments that could be told by the older generation, whose childhood memories will live on in the old Daugava, because we want to show it to our children and grandchildren so that they know what the river of our destiny once was, where we live now," says Lauma Āre.

 "For us, this project was a new challenge and a wonderful opportunity to learn new historical facts, get to know new places and personalities. The most exciting part was collecting these historical records, images and photographs, and having cordial conversations with the photographers and their owners. We tried to design the stand in a way that would be interesting for the younger generation and we are glad that everything we planned has been successful," said Ineta Gūtmane, representative of SIA "Aspired".

Anita Šmite, Head of the Tourism Department of Aizkraukle Municipality, thanked "Aspired" Ltd and her colleagues Lauma Āre, Linda Onužāne, Iveta Ločmele for their passion and dedication in collecting historical evidence.

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