THE HERITAGE OF DAUGAVPILS SACRED ARCHITECTURE AND ART IN THE SPECIFIC CONTEXT OF URBAN AND REGIONAL CULTURAL HISTORY (Daugavpils 18.-20. gs. sakralas arhitekturas un makslas mantojums pilsetas un novada kulturvestures savdabibas konteksta)
Sacred buildings have always had a particular role in shaping the specific features of urban environment. Churches and their fortunes are not just testimonies of recent or ancient history of the town or city. They create significant accents in urban space, often being the dominant architectural elements of historical centres or particular districts. Important art collections also have been accumulated in churches and prayer houses over centuries and decades, and their interiors have been decorated by professional artists. So churches represent not only a certain typology of functional solutions derived from confessional requirements, changes of aesthetic appearance conditioned by historical styles or evolution of the architect's individual style but manifest a wider perspective of interrelations. The heritage of sacred architecture and art can reflect the typical features of the regional culture and this perfectly relates to the city of Daugavpils, its churches and prayer houses. The history of Daugavpils abounds in dramatic events and its historical architectural heritage as well as some important buildings today are things of the past, still the specificity has survived. Churches have been destroyed, restored and rebuilt several times along with the city in general, sacred architecture still being the organising core of the city centre. In fact, one can speak about two cities - one being the pre-18th-century town, today found only in researchers' reconstructions, the other created in the 19th century. Only written evidence is found on the oldest, initial period of building in Daugavpils. The 18th-century heritage is elucidated by a wider scope of historical sources. Buildings are gone; only outlines of foundations remain also from the most prominent sacred building of this period, Daugavpils Jesuit Church and monastery. It was damaged during World War II and destroyed afterwards.
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