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The Sigulda church

An ambassador for the pope visited Sigulda in 1225 to set up a local church congregation. The Church of St. Bērtulis was mentioned for the first time in documents in 1443, and it stood at the place where the current church is now. This is atypical Vidzeme church elongated and rectangular, with the alter area and the space for the congregation equal in width, sitting below a single ridged roof. The church suffered damage during a battle between Sweden and Poland over the Sigulda castle. At that time cannons were set up on the roof of the church.

 

Major renovations were done to the Sigulda church in the late 17th and early 18th century. It survived World War II without any major damage.

 

In 1930, anew cement tower was built for the church, designed by the architect Konstantins Peksens. In 1936 a new altar with an altar painting by the distinguished artist Janis Tilbergs, was consecrated.

 

Between 1965 and 1990, the Sigulda church was the only functioning church in area, and it was used by variety of denominations.




The Krimulda church

This church is an architectural monument of national importance. It dates back to 1205, when a Catholic priest arrived in the region, which was then settled by the Livs. He set up shop near the castle of the Liv lord Kaupo, which had been burned down. By 1613, all that was left of the buildings was four walls. Restoration work began in 1643, and another round of restoration was done between 1699 and 1701.

 

Until the latter half of the 17th century, the architecture of the church was simple – a ridged roof with red tiles, and small and shallow window apertures. Until the very end of the century, the church bell was hung in a nearby tree, and it was only in 1699 that a small tower was put up. It was typical of rural church design in Vidzeme at that time, with a metal ball and rooster at the top.

 

A home for the pastor of the church was built in the 18th century. There was major reconstruction at the facility 1865.

 

Between 1902 and 1905, the wooden tower was replaced with a massive, 46 – meter brick tower that was designed by Augusts Reinbergs. The tower was damaged during World War I and resorted in 1924.

 

The great Chronicle of Henricus tells us that Kaupo was buried somewhere in region of the Krimulda church.

According to legends, it might be near the pastor’s home, or perhaps under the church itself.




The Sigulda Catholic church

Already in 1483 historical documents mention the Sigulda Catholic congregation as possessing a church building.

In 1934 Catholic services were resumed and first took place, thrice yearly, at the County administration building. In 1939 they moved to chapel created in barbershop.

 

In 1958, the congregation began construction of a church building, which they finished in 1959. The night before its consecration a group of people, accompanied by the local militia, vandalized the building. The next day a food store had already opened in the building. In 1962 the Catholic congregation began holding its worship services in the sacristy of the Lutheran church.

 

In 1995 the congregation began building its new church building, based upon the design oh architect Maija Krastina. The facility was consecrated in September of 1996 and dedicated to the honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The main altar has an icon, a reproduction of A. Senbergs painting, fitting the church dedication.

 

The church has regular worship service, as well as many other events that are meant not just for the congregation, but for the whole Sigulda community, and even, visitors. Because of good acoustics, many musicians are willing to perform in the church. Services are every day, except Mondays. The church is open the whole day.

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