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Project dedicated to republishing of the album „Terra Mariana. 1186–1888″ (together with scholarly commentaries) sponsored by the Chairperson of the Council of Baltic International Bank has been implemented

News - July 24, 2014

On 24 July, a celebration devoted to a special occasion was held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia. A project dedicated to republishing of the historical album „Terra Mariana. 1186–1888″ (with scholarly commentaries) was implemented. The project was sponsored by Valeri Belokon, the Chairperson of the Council of Baltic International Bank and patron of the arts.

PictureAmong those attending the event there were State Secretary Andrejs Pildegovics (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Director of the National Library of  Latvia Andris Vilks, patron of the arts Valeri Belokon, the head of the project’s task force Anta Rugate, Latvian Ambassador to the Czech Republic Alberts Sarkanis, the head of Latvia’s Roman Catholic Church Cardinal Janis Pujats, historians Andris Levans and Henrihs Soms, foreign ambassadors and representatives of the diplomatic corps, and representatives of Latvia’s institutions, whose joint efforts resulted in accomplishment of the project specifically aimed at republishing the facsimile copies with scholarly commentaries.

State Secretary Andrejs Pildegovics emphasised that the realization of this important idea had brought a unique co-operation experience, both on the inter-country and inter-institutional levels. However, the work would not have been possible without translators, the clergy, representatives of the church, and patron of the arts Valeri Belokon who selflessly sponsored the project in the crisis-hit country. At that time, the funding could not be received from the government or church budget. 

PictureThe album „Terra Mariana. 1186–1888″ tells us about the spread of Christianity in Latvia and Estonia, the lands once known as Livonia. Terra Mariana (Land of Mary) was the official name for Medieval Livonia. One original copy of the album was printed in 1888 in Riga and thereafter presented to Pope Leo XIII by polish landlords who resided in the Baltic States; the original is preserved by the Vatican Apostolic Library. In the Baltic States, there are no equal-value analogues of the album in terms of concept, content and design. The content is enormously impressive: the album has 70 parchment pages and contains a wealth of visual and textual material about Livonian castles, castle ruins, churches, the coats of arms used by ancient families of noble descent, seals, historical personalities, and impressions of ancient silver and gold coins.

In March 2014, many-year joint efforts of the National Library of Latvia and the Vatican Apostolic Library have borne fruit: 10 full-size facsimile copies and 1000 reduced-size facsimile copies of the album (together with scholarly commentaries) have been produced. Since the album has historical, artistic and cultural value of the album and is an integral part of Latvia’s national cultural heritage, the republication of the facsimile copies (with scholarly commentaries) has made the heritage accessible to a wide audience.

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