2004 | 2 | 29-38
Article title

THE ARCHITECTURE OF WOODEN ORTHODOX CHURCHES IN 19TH CENTURY LATGALE (Pareizticigo koka baznicu arhitektura Latgale 19. gadsimta)

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Wooden Orthodox churches, built in Latgale during the 19th century, combine both ethnographic building traditions such as horizontal beam structures and other traditionally Latvian means of construction with influences of Russian church architecture. This is especially evident in the architectonic layout of buildings, the decorative finish of facades, and the architecturally plastic design of towers as well as in the spatial arrangement of interiors, especially iconostases. We should also remember the features of the architectural styles predominant in 19th century Latvia. These are particularly pronounced in the Neo-Classicism influenced architectonic solution of the Skeltova Church; other churches feature eclectic combinations of forms representing different architectural styles. Wooden Orthodox churches in 19th century Latgale have mostly a prolonged type of planning. The belfry, narthex and catholicon are most commonly completed by an apse at the eastern end and placed on a longitudinal axis. There are exceptions; the Skeltova Church and the Alexander Nevsky Church in Daugavpils feature central square-type planning. On the other hand, the layout of the Tilza Church was influenced by the fact that the building had previously been used as a school prior to its adaptation for the needs of a church. Three types of spatial layout can be distinguished in the exteriors of Latgale's wooden Orthodox churches. The first type is represented by the Skeltova and Daugavpils Alexander Nevsky churches, which feature central planning; this resulted in a square layout covered by a dome in Skeltova but by a four-pitched roof with small towers in Daugavpils. The Orthodox churches in Goliseva, Pudinava and Vjortulova, chronologically later than the Skeltova Church, feature a rectangular layout with a prolonged catholicon covered by an octagonal structure making up about 1/5 of the building's height.
  • Anita Bistere, State Inspection for Heritage Protection, Maza Pils iela 19, Riga LV-1050, Latvia
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