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KAZDANGA (KATZDANGEN)

          Kazdanga, an inhabited site 58 km from Liepāja and 9 km from Aizpute, is well known for its pretty, picturesque park. It is the biggest (173 ha) and most valuable (127 exotic species) dendrological park in Latvia.
          Also of note is the Kazdanga Manor building ensemble, especially its main component, the palace (1800). The client Baron Karl Gustav von Manteifel entrusted the overseeing of the construction work to the architect Johann Georg Berlitz (1753-1837). The composition of the palace and particular architectural forms used are highly similar to the work of the architect who popularized Palladianism in Russia, the Italian architect Jacomo Kvarnegi (1744-1817). The monumental three-story building was created in accordance with the typical Palladio architecture layout: a ground floor, a first or representational floor and an attic floor. The building’s façade incorporates Palladio motifs. The façade of the palace is oriented to the main avenue of the park. In the centre of the summer house side of the park is a round cupola hall, the vertical layout of which occupies the entire representational and attic floors. The composition of the palace also includes the so-called cavaliers’ lodge laid on a horizontal axis on the other side of the ancillary building.
          Unfortunately, in 1905 the grandiose structure was heavily damaged by fire. Baron Karl Wilhelm von Manteifel concluded a contract for the palace’s reconstruction with the firm Zaleka in Tiring. The author of the restoration plan Paul Schultz-Naumburg (1869-1949) began the work with great reverence for the achievements of his predecessor, but the restoration was interrupted by World War I. It was completed in the 1930s, with the restoration plan adapted to the building’s new function as the Kazdanga State Agricultural High School.
          In front of the palace the people of Kazdanga have erected a monument to a man of letters from their district, Mātera Juris (1845-1885). It was created by the well-known sculptor Teodors Zaļkalns(1876-1972).
           Kazdanga is famous for its variety of brown cherries and ancient fish breeding traditions. In 1880 fish breeding in ponds was begun for the first time in Latvia here.

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