The collection of Riga City Council Minutes included in the Latvian National Register of the UNESCO Memory of the World Program is a significant source of information about the history of the city of Riga and the Baltic region. It is a monument to the modern writing culture and record keeping traditions that began in Europe at the end 16th of the century, when the centralized administrative structures were formed, bureaucracy was born and systematic documentation of the work of administrative institutions was started, creating series of various documents.
The books of Riga City Council minutes, the so-called publica, or public minutes, are a very valuable part of the LNA funds and one of the most important city documents, which recorded the issues discussed and decisions made at the city council meetings. Each year, one, later two leather-bound protocol books were prepared. Protocols are handwritten in German and each book is supplemented by personal and thematic registers. The scope of functions of Riga City Council included legislation, judicial and police power, administration of spiritual affairs, administrative and financial administration of the city, organization of defense and representation in foreign political relations, therefore the protocols of the City Council store rich and diverse information about important political events, economic, social and cultural developments in the city for three centuries. The protocols also include testimonies of countless generations of Riga residents, vividly depicting the multicultural character of Riga.
The protocols document the activities of the main administrative institution of the Riga City Council (Latvian - Rīgas rāte) - from 1603 until its liquidation in 1890. It is an extremely valuable and authentic set of original documents, the storage history of which can be traced from the archives of the Riga City Hall to their arrival at the current place of storage in the Latvian State History Archives of the National Archives of Latvia, in the authentic premises of the Riga City Archives.
The virtual exhibition introduces the history of the city archive from the 13th century until its closure in 1964 and tells about the oldest and most valuable documents in its collection.
The virtual exhibition is available at: http://www.archiv.org.lv/rigaspilsetasarhivs/
The virtual exhibition and tour was created in cooperation with the Society of Latvian Archivists and the support of the Riga City Council.