CONSERVATION

The remains of the oldest part of the Bauska Castle's complex – the Livonian Order Castle built in the middle of the 15th century – are only defensive walls and tower torsos (they do not have roofs and coverings among storeys). However, the logic of the layout of defensive walls and towers can be clearly seen even in the building's ruins. Loopholes, airways, window and door openings, seats and consoles of ceiling beams, remains of vaults, staircases and heating systems, wall finish fragments and other details have survived. The castle ruins are valuable as a part of landscape.

Structures of the roofless stone walls are damaged by climatic conditions and breakdown of materials. Since the mortar of stone walls loses its binding capability and the upper part of stone walls crumbles or peels off, the masses of bricks and stone crumble away. Salt deposits caused by the humidity are the reason for damage to the external layer of bricks. The natural process of the building's deterioration is facilitated by the damage done by humans – theft of construction materials, application of inadequate work methods and materials for fixing of stone walls. The ruins can lose their historical story-telling value and become dangerous for visitors.

Upon the order by the Bauska Castle Museum in 1999 a Czech studio "Girsa a.t." engaged in restoration of historical structures in cooperation with the museum and the Czech restorer Miloš Gavenda, developing a concept for conservation of the castle ruins and a conservation technology project. This solution offers to preserve the landscape and historical value of the ruins and visual signs, as well as to stop the deterioration process and ensure stability of the stone walls by minimally interfering with the object's substance.

 In the conservation process of the Bauska Castle lime mortar technologies that is an old and historically-based approach are used. Additional stone-laying is done by using dolomite stones, boulders, large-size restoration bricks that do not differ from the authentic materials. The type of finish for stone walls is selected based on original samples found in the respective venue. The upper part of restored stone walls is covered with turf and a clay floor layer ensuring good protection against the impact of precipitation. In conclusion, the walls are covered with a hydrophobic substance.  

The conservation of stone walls is carried out by the team of the Czech company "Miloš Gavenda – restaurator" cooperating with employees of the Bauska Castle Museum. Thus, the acquisition and heritability of historical trades and technologies is ensured. The fragments containing information about the finish of premises, location of corners, openings, coverings and rebuilding are very precisely recorded. Restorers apply the following methods rarely used in Latvia: colour retouching, patination and improvement so that the additional stone-layings and the restored pointing do not suppress the original.

The funds for implementation of the first stage of conservation works have been obtained by the castle museum participating in the call for proposals of the European Commission programme "Culture 2000". The museum received for implementation of this project a Laureate Diploma in the competition "Europa Nostra Awards 2004" in Bergen, a Diploma in the event "The Best in Heritage" organised in 2006 by the European Heritage Association in Dubrovnik, as well as the Annual Prize for restoration in 2002 awarded by the State Inspectorate for Heritage Protection.

Created – Hofmanstudio