Kuldīga town hall gets exemplary restoration

After significant renovation, on Thursday the new Old Town Hall will be unveiled in Kuldīga, a scenic place in the Kurzeme region, reported Latvian Radio Wednesday.

Even though it was in critical condition before, after renovation lasting for a year it has become an example of how to restore old wooden buildings in towns across Latvia.

"Historically this place had a masonry chimney, there were even two in the building. We remade one of them. When we took off layers of the floor, we discovered the old foundation on which we laid bricks," the main restorator Juris Pavlovs told Latvian radio, showcasing the chimney that will be on show in the historical building.

"It's one of the most complex works in the object, as only the rare [craftsman] undertakes laying a masonry chimney nowadays. We found a retired 70-year-old local who had built such a chimney in his own time, and he undertook the task," said Pavlovs.

Other important works done at the place included replacing the wooden floors that had non-standard planks, wider than those used today. A new door was constructed modeled on the old one. The windows were partially replaced, and other work was done, mostly by local craftsmen using local materials. 

The old Town Hall seems to have been built in the 17th century, however little has been left from that time. It was rebuilt in the 19th century and its current restoration shows how wooden buildings were made at the time.

A year ago this building was in critical shape, as local Daiga Jansone from the Kuldīga Culture Center told Latvian Radio:

"It has become more welcoming, as there were problems with the crumbling walls. We were amazed that the building could stand only on its beams, that something didn't collapse here. [..] Now everything has been repaired, it's beautiful, and now we continue our work."

It was partially funded by the European Economic Area and the Kuldīga municipality. 

The building will be used to showcase decorative artworks. It will also house a creative photo studio and, a bit later, in the summer, an active recreation center. 

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