Transformation of the historical heritage and spatial perception of Ilūkste


  • Aija Ziemeļniece Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Latvia



building silhouette, wooden heritage, sacral architecture


The development plan of the Upper Daugava Region (2022-2027) identifies Ilūkste as a potentially strong development centre of regional importance. The plan is designed to improve the quality of roads of regional importance infrastructure development and tourism in the Ilūkste area. This document encourages the initiation of serious cultural landscape research for Ilūkste. The scale of the existing Daugavpils development, the visibility and proximity of the city do not weaken and create strong competition for Ilūkste, but on the contrary - strengthen the revival of Ilūkste as a historic centre alongside a large-scale settlement. That means that on opposite banks of the Daugava there are two different urban spaces with different cultural and historical layers and scales. The preservation of cultural heritage is increasingly being discussed in the forums of the European Union, highlighting the values that are being lost in warfare and in the wastefulness of national economic policies. The problem of heritage conservation is also present in areas where there is no war, but where mistakes have been made due to the ineptitude of the political authorities. This is also true of the Latvian Awakening in the 1990s, when, after the occupation, "business as usual" still continued. With the collapse of collectivisation and the development of private enterprise, no attention was paid to the concepts of landscape, viewpoints, silhouettes, landmarks, climaxes, etc. The smaller the scale of the cultural landscape, the deeper the cracks of neglect that are left in the cultural landscape. The small town of Ilūkste is one example in Latvia.
The loss of the intrinsic spatiality of a historic small town risks transforming not only the perception of place and people at a local level, but also at a regional and national level, thereby changing the character and uniqueness of a nation's living space.
Natural and man-made elements are constantly changing, seeking to adapt. Biological processes, economic and political power, generational change, rapid technological development can all influence the development of an area. As one changes, another is subjected to change, resulting in a complete or partial transformation. This is most evident in small towns, which have long been subject to political change and the outflow of the younger generation to the metropolises. Historical space is thus also surrounded by indifference and neglect. 

Author Biography

Aija Ziemeļniece, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Latvia

Dr. arch., is an editor of the internationally cited journal “Landscape Architecture and Art”. She is a Professor at the Department of Landscape Architecture and Planning of Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies. She has published more than 20 scientific articles on the concept of cultural and historical heritage preservation and has presented papers at scientific conferences. She is a member of the Latvian Union of Architects. Being a practising architect she has implemented projects for public and residential buildings.


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How to Cite

Ziemeļniece, A. (2023). Transformation of the historical heritage and spatial perception of Ilūkste. Landscape Architecture and Art, 22(22), 52–58.