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Riga's birthday key built for keeps

Riga's birthday key built for keeps
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All for one and one for all – the citizens of Riga, Latvia have donated some 50,000 old keys, to be melted into one.

It is the Baltic city’s 810th birthday, and since the original walls and gateways are long gone, the forging of a new one is symbolic.

New conquerors in the middle ages were handed the keys to the gates.

One Riga resident who contributed to the image of the city’s future said the loss of the old set is the stuff of legend.

Another Rigan said: “Because I love Riga, I want the new key to bring it prosperity.”

The last keys, made of gold, may have been spirited off to Moscow, after a Russian imperial army beat off the Swedes in 1710.

There is little chance this one will go missing; a metre long, it weighs 50 kilos: hard to slip into a pocket.

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