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Georg Kuphaldt – director of Riga City parks and director of tzars’ parks

Keywords: Kuphaldt, Baltic provinces, Russia, city gardener, landscape and garden art
Language: In German

During his 35-years long career as a director of Riga City gardens, the German garden architect Georg Kuphaldt (1853–1936) was not only acknowledged in Riga, then capital city of Baltic provinces, which was fully greened for the first time under his leadership, but he was a demanded garden specialist also beyond the state borders even as far as Caucasus. After studies in various gardening schools in Germany including in Potsdam, since he took this post in Riga, in 1880, he formed anew several dozens of gardens and reformed the existing ones.

Especially the “unified greenery system” (H. Kanstein) elaborated by him, in which gardens and parks enclose the city like a string of beads, can be evaluated as equal to other green zones in the largest European cities that were formed at that time. Kuphaldt was also the author of Mežaparks that was the first garden town in the Russian Empire. In parallel to his work in Riga and elsewhere in Baltic provinces he had an opportunity to form a flower garden in Winter Palace of St. Petersburg. This was followed by several orders for gardens and parks in residences of the Russian Emperor which consolidated Kuphaldt’s fame within Russia at large.

Kuphaldt’s special contribution include acclimatisation of various foreign, exotic plants and trees in the climatic conditions of the Baltic and Russia. The basic features of city gardens and parks formed by Kuphaldt have been preserved in Riga till nowadays, also thanks to his Latvian students and successors. These have become an inalienable part of the city being its most splendid ornament. Kuphaldt’s extensive heritage of written works as well as his autobiography contain rich supplementary material for studies and investigation of his gardening and landscape works.