The State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw is hosting the temporary exhibition So Far, and So Close: Latvia and Poland. More than 100 years of common history. The exhibition highlights what should be most important in relations between two nations – respect and mutual interest. The exhibition is the result of cooperation between the National Museum of Latvian History, the Regional Museum in Viļaka, the State Archaeological Museum in Warsaw, the Embassy of the Republic of Latvia in Warsaw and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Riga.
The exhibition presents a multifaceted presentation of the common archaeological and historical heritage of Poland and Latvia, reaching back to the traditions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It presents the history of Polish Inflants from the perspective of the town and estate of Marienhaus (today’s Viļaka, north-eastern Latvia). Among the archaeological exhibits, attention is drawn to the impressive finds from the 13th to 14th centuries at the cemetery in Daņilovka in the Viļaka region, which was investigated in the 1950s by the prominent Latvian archaeologist Elvira Šnore. Visitors will also see, among other things, a necklace made of imported kauri shells supplemented with bronze spirals and rings and glass beads. Such ornaments were symbols of prestige and markers of the high social position of the local elite. The exhibition is also a novel about the fate of scientists important for Latvian and Polish culture: Zygmunt Gloger, a Polish historian, archaeologist, ethnographer; ethnographer Stefania Ulanowska, historian and researcher of Inflants Gustaw Manteuffel or Kazimierz Bujnicki, a publicist and writer of merit for the region.
The present-day municipality of Viļaka respects the Polish cultural and historical heritage – the complex of estate buildings, the neo-Gothic Catholic church, the tombs of the Counts Lippe-Lipsky and Zabiełło, the old Catholic vicarage, the buildings of the former Viļaka hospital and the linden avenue. The preserved cultural heritage and the care of Polish monuments among the residents of the village testify to their value and importance.