On Tuesday, 20 April, in Bekši (Ozolaine Rural District, Rēzekne County) a pottery kiln was opened, and black pottery mugs were taken out – they are part of the gift box which will be presented to the guests of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA) upon their arrival in Latvia at the end of May.
The mugs were made by four craftsmen representing the Latgale potters’ group Pūdnīku skūla (Pottery School) – Staņislavs Viļums, Pēteris Gailums, Ilmārs Vecelis and Aivars Ušpelis – in accordance with traditions cultivated over thousands of years. In the manufacturing of black pottery, traditional clay treatment methods, as well as human- and nature-friendly technology are used. Each of the 400 mugs manufactured for the NATO PA guests is entirely handmade.Mrs. Vaira Paegle, Head of the Latvian delegation to the NATO PA commented on the choice of the gifts: „We want to show our guests what we ourselves are proud of and what is characteristic of our country and people. We have chosen very simple and natural, yet at the same time emotionally imbued things that come from Latvia’s countryside – things that are dear to every Latvian’s soul.” The black pottery characteristic of Latgale is one of the four components of the gift box which will be presented to the spouses of the delegates of the Riga Session, the staff of the delegations, the staff of the NATO PA International Secretariat and other guests of the Session (the total number might be 400 persons) as a memento of their visit to Latvia. By savouring herbal tea from a black pottery mug and tasting a slice of rye bread, along with heather-blossom honey, guests of the NATO PA Riga Session will have an opportunity to experience something characteristic of the various regions of Latvia.As a gift from the Zemgale region, guests of the Session will receive Rūķīšu tēja – a selection of chamomile, marjoram, mint and melissa teas. All herbs are ecologically cultivated in Latvia’s southern meadows, handpicked and dried in a particular manner. The gift will also include ecologically clean heather-blossom honey (also known as the king of honey) prepared by Latvian bee-keeper Jānis from Daugmale, as well as Latvian rye bread made by the Lāči bakery, which uses traditional Latvian bread-baking recipes. More detailed information about the NATO PA and the NATO PA 2010 Spring Session can be found on the Session’s official website www.natopariga.lv, as well as on the official website of the organisation: www.nato-pa.int.The NATO PA 2010 Spring Session in Riga will be held from 28 May to 1 June 2010 at the Kipsala International Exhibition Centre.Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/saeima/sets/72157623896288700/
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