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Kuldīgas St. Catherine`s Church

Location: N56° 58` 12.4", E21° 58` 21.8"

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Kuldiga St. Catherine’s church, named after St. Catherines of Alexandria, for the first time in documents was mentioned on the 18th October of 1252. The first church was built from wood, several times renewed and rebuilt. The nowadays church was built in 1567 after the order from Kurzeme and Zemgale duke Gotthard Kettler about the construction and reconstruction of churches.

In visualization protocol of 1606 it was written that the duke Wilhelm “started to build the church but destroyed it again” few years ago. It had been a wooden church with two towers. The building was on fire for several times, but always was renewed. On the 7th November of 1610, the next duke of Kurzeme and Zemgale – Jacob –was baptized in Kuldiga St. Catherine’s church. St. Catherine’s church was the first church of Kuldiga court which was the first capital city of the duchy. Duke Jacob inherited the throne in 1642 but actually ruled in duchy since 1638. Kurzeme and Zemgale duchy existed for 233 years – from 1562 up to 1795.

In 1615 there was a fire in the city – both church towers burned down and the bells melted, but the church stood untouched. Congregation immediately ordered new bells. In 1645 church got one tower and a gallery. After congregation request, duke Jacob ordered to renew the castle and in 1665 the construction was done. In 1669 there was a fire again – bells melted down, the excellent church clock burned down together with organ and the stools, but the altar and pulpit was saved. In 1670 city magistrate sent the congregation leader Stephan Gumper to the Hanseatic League cities to receive donations for church reconstruction. In 1670 in Lübeck new bells were shed, in 1672 church was totally renewed. In dome type tower a new clock was installed. The clock was bought with donations from some rich widow. In visualization protocol of 1704the church is describes as the “stone church with red roof.”

In 1748 bigger reconstruction and repair works were done, and the building received baroque tower spire and a new tower clock.