Alsunga is one of two villages in the second smallest municipality in Latvia with 1 390 inhabitants. The local community is mainly made up of people with old cultural traditions – called suiti. The Suiti Cultural Space was inscribed in UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in 2009.
Alsunga is a good place to live, but ongoing depopulation is reducing available resources , thereby changing the living environment and the need for services. The main priorities are to develop sustainable local food and a craft market to increase marketing volumes for home-based producers. Another initiative is to develop the local school.
Due to administrative reforms, the Alsunga municipality will be incorporated into a much larger municipality and will become an outskirts parish. This will require the development of a strong village strategy and team to keep the development of Alsunga.
For us, ‘smart village’ is a community of people who work together to address their challenges through a variety of methods – the whole community benefits from cooperating with residents and entrepreneurs. The smart village is a process rather than a static state.
Therefore the ‘smart village action group’ was set up as a voluntary association involving representatives of both the Chairman of the Municipality Council, representatives of NGOs, representatives of local authorities and residents. The group is open and calls on all citizens to participate with ideas and concrete actions for the development of Alsunga village.
Spring cleaning of Alsunga river and its banks
Alsunga locals have started cleaning up the Kaulinupe river running across the village from landfall trees and beaver-built dams, aiming to maintain the paths of the river banks and create picnic sites and walking routes. The spring cleaning has revealed glimpses of the river curves and the mighty oaks on its shores. The Kaulinupe river forms a picturesque gorge that dates approximately 12 000 years back, when the coast of the Baltic Ice Lake stretched along Alsunga’s current border and most of the village surrounding was the seabed. The gorge is a popular walking route for both locals and tourists.
Alsunga celebrates national independence online
The village of Alsunga will join the virtual processions of folk costumes, celebrating Latvia’s independence on 4 May, as all in person gatherings are still prohibited due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Located in the Suiti cultural space, which is on the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage list, Alsunga prides itself on the glamorous folk costumes that locals wear on occasions such as the independence day celebration. The legend goes that Baron von Schwerin introduced the folk costume in the 17th century, as a symbol for those who converted to Catholicism, allowing cultural uniqueness to be preserved. Have a look at the processions, check out #tautasterpugajiens2021, #Alsunga and #suiti on Facebook.
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