The current coat of arms of Rēzekne

In March 2000, the Rēzekne City Council made a decision and approved the symbols of the city. Council Members voted in favour of the version of Rēzekne’s coat of arms that was used during the first period of Latvia’s independence.
As several coats of arms previously used by local communities did not correspond to the idea of an independent country, in 1923 a special heraldry commission was established in Latvia. At that time, the official symbol of Latgale was a griffin (facing the left side) that is holding a sword. The same griffin (representing the wish to be considered as the heart and the capital city of Latgale) was placed in the centre of the Rēzekne city coat of arms adopted in 1925. It features a golden (yellow) griffin, an ancient mythological creature with the body of a lion and the wings of an eagle, on a sky-blue background.
The griffin is a giant, ferocious creature. In mythology, griffins were often known for guarding treasures. It is a symbol of might, power, and speed. As a matter of fact, according to heraldry regulations, the griffin should be depicted holding a sword, but in the coat of arms of Rēzekne the sword was replaced with a shield in the colours of the Latvian national flag, thus emphasising that the city belongs to the country. As set out in the heraldry regulations, the sky-blue background stands for magnanimity, honesty, loyalty, and excellence.

The coat of arms of Rēzekne during the Soviet period

In the 1970s, Rēzekne acquired a new coat of arms bearing the symbols of the era. A cogwheel, a sickle, and a hammer are depicted at the top part of the Latvian SSR flag, while the bottom part featured an ancient candlestick; “Rēzekne” was written at the very top on a white background. The coat of arms was designed by Uldis Ozoliņš.
Despite the fact that the Soviet-era coat of arms of Rēzekne violated some heraldry regulations (using the state flag as a background), it included specific information: Rēzekne is an industrial city that has maintained traditional occupations. However, this coat of arms was not widely used.

The coat of arms of Rezhitsa designed in 1857 by B. Ķēne

Another coat of arms of Rezhitsa was created in the 1950s, yet, for whatever reasons, it was not adopted officially. To make the coats of arms of cities visually complete and to design them according to European rules of heraldry, Alexander II tasked B. Ķēne (1817–1886), Head of the Heraldry Department of the Senate, with creating a brand new system for designing coats of arms and revising all the existing coats of arms used by cities. He did the task brilliantly and created a logical system for the unification of cities’ coats of arms approved by the emperor in 1857.
According to the version proposed by B. Ķēne, the coat of arms of Rezhitsa should have featured a silver shield covered in stoat tails with the coat of arms of the Vitebsk Governorate in its upper left corner. A silver tower crown is placed on top of the shield, while golden cereal ears wrapped in the ribbon of Alexandria decorate its sides.
The silver colour symbolises purity and innocence, God’s grace and open-heartedness. The stoat tails represent power. The tower crown attests to the status of the city in the uyezd (county). The golden cereal ears wrapped in the ribbon of Alexandria showed that agriculture and the trade of bread were developed in Rezhitsa. For unknown reasons, this coat of arms was not adopted officially.

The coat of arms of Rezhitsa in 1781

The first coat of arms of Rezhitsa was approved on 21 September, 1781, together with the coats of arms of other local authorities in the Polotsk Governorate. The prelude to the adoption of a coat of arms was the government order of 7 November, 1775, signed by Catherine II, on initiating local government reform throughout the Russian Empire. This decree introduced a new administrative division system in Russia.
In his book, “Rēzekne. Historical descriptions from ancient times through 1917”, Vladimirs Nikonovs provides the following portrayal of the coat of arms of Rezhitsa: it consists of a shield divided into two parts with the top part depicting a black, double-headed eagle on a golden background wearing two big crowns and a third crown, the Emperor’s, embodying the divine grace towards the inhabitants of the city. The bottom part of the shield depicts a horse rider with a raised sword moving in pursuit to the right over a field of stoats. The colour scheme of the bottom part of the coat of arms is as follows: a silver knight with a raised sword and a round shield in a stoat field; a silver horse with a crimson saddle covered with a golden, tripartite blanket with a sky-blue edge.

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