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Feldmanis R., Čoldere D. Katlakalna baznīca. Rīga – 1994. – 22.lpp.


Atop of the pine-overgrown dune on the peninsula called Akmeņsala (Stone Island), which is formed by the rivulet Olekte, stands the most beautiful church in the vicinity of Riga – Katlakalna Evangelic Lutheran Church – revealing a spectacular view over the river Daugava.

As early as the 17th century a wooden church was erected in Katlakalns, yet later, in year 1732, a new, also a wooden, church stood in its place. The present stone church was consecrated on July 9, 1794.

Katlakalna Evangelic Lutheran Church was designed by architect Christoph Haberland and was built from 1794 to 1792.

Christoph Haberland was born in Riga in 1750, although originally his parents come from Annaberg in Saxony. Christoph Haberland pursued his grandfather's and father's profession - at first, working in a lime burning factory, but later, working together with construction master Johann Peter Leicht constructing the new Riga Town Council building and thus acquiring the professional skills of a bricklayer. In 1768 he was admitted as an apprentice in the Bricklayers Guild. As many historians assert Christoph Haberland spent eight years of his life abroad – in Dresden and Berlin, where he improved his knowledge of the craft.

In 1778 Christoph Haberland became a citizen of Riga and one of the construction masters of the town, but from 1789 he held the post of Riga's chief architect.

Among Christoph Haberland’s creative works one can include the church in Alūksne (1788), St. John’s Church in Valka (1785), the wooden Gertrude’s Church in Riga (1779) and numerous other dwellings in Riga.

Katlakalns Church is the architect’s last creative work. It excels with the beauty of its forms and uniquely original construction. The stone dome, measuring 18 meters in diameter, vaults over the rotunda, thus reminding of the Rome Pantheon in miniature. The inner and outer structures of the church remind of classicism. To decorate the church, Christoph Haberland applied his beloved architectural elements - rustic stonework in the corners and the classical arrangement of paired pilasters. The trends of the Baroque style have influenced the portal's arch.

The unique architectural solution of Katlakalns Church can best be felt visiting the inside of the church. The sanctuary is vast; there is an enhanced impression of unity and light. The main altar is situated opposite the entrance and can be seen from all sides of the circular space. The altarpiece, which is situated between the columns, is a variation of the Biblical story of Christ and Peter in the stormy sea, much beloved in the fishermen and seafarer districts.

The benches in the church are arranged in concentric circles around a smaller inner circle of the altar. Eight pairs of pilasters divide the building's walls into sections and support the entablement decorated with a laurel wreathe. Further, observing the dome, one can find these pilasters transformed into flat ribs, which later form a circle with a chandelier in the centre.

One of the most richly decorated silver objects used in the services today is the vine chalice of the Communion made by the Riga silversmith Christopher Dey. It was a donation from the Riga Town Councillor Gotthart von Vegesack in 1739. Relevant to the style of the church are two three-branched candlestick, which were forged by the St. Peterburg's craftsman Johann Wilchelm Ludwig. Among more common objects one can find a vine tankard, a massive crucifix and a chandelier. 




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