Aspects of documenting cultural heritage. Nurmuiža pastorate

Keywords: history of Latvian architecture, architecture of pastorates, investigation, protection and documentation of rural cultural historical and social environment
Language: In Latvian

An important part of Latvian cultural heritage includes pastorates of Lutheran parishes, Catholic and Orthodox priests. In many places this environment has been completely destroyed or its further existence is endangered, among these — Nurmuiža (Nurmhusen) pastorate. The project author (1887) of the pastorate house was architect Theodor Seiler from Berlin.

In 2002, representatives of the State Inspection for Cultural Protection inspected the pastorate and found that one room of the building was illegally inhabited while the rest remained empty. In 2006, the pastorate was still owned by the parish, it was uninhabited. In April 2006, the local youth started unwarranted dismantling of the building. Today there are only ruins in this place.

In the late 2003, with the support of the State Cultural Capital Foundation the survey of the pastorate was performed as well as photo fixation. This work was done by the author of this paper with cooperation by the architects I. Šablovska and M. Z. Zilgalvis.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Nurmuiža (Nurme) is one of the most important sacral architecture buildings in Kurzeme region. The church was built in 1594, and this first church building was rebuilt and has been preserved until today. This is a monument of Mannerism — Baroque style including the church interior which has been preserved almost intact. For many years the church has served as a working place for a number of pastors: E. Valters, J. J. Tilings, J. H. Tilings, K. H. Birgers, F. E. E. Bernevics, G. Rozēns, V. J. A. Jirgensons, K. Deksnis, A. Ozoliņš, P. Namgauds, J. Melnbārdis, K. Dzenis, E. Krūmiņš, and Ē. Bērziņš.

The destroyed Nurmuiža pastorate was a characteristic architectural evidence of its time (one of the typological group of such buildings like pastorates in Puze, Jaunpiebalga, Zemīte and elsewhere). It reflected also the activity of architect T. Seiler in Kurzeme. The spatial structure and construction details were an important source of information about the construction art of that period and its manifestations in simple rural environment. The pastorate house bears evidence also about the daily routine of the pastor, his family and servants. Regrettably, information about Nurmuiža pastorate has been preserved only in periodical publications, literature sources and archive materials.