Jelgavas pils

Jelgava Palace

Елгавский дворец.

Jelgavas pils (Mitava pils) is the most significant historical monument of Latvia. This is the largest palace of the country and the whole Baltic region, the winter residence of the Kurzeme duke Ernst Biron. Like the Rundale Palace, the Jelgava Palace was built according to the project of Baritolomeo Rastrelli. Initially, the palace consisted of 3 buildings, standing in the shape of a horseshoe, but in 1937 on the site of the former stables of the palace was built the fourth building, which closed the yard. In the palace built in 1738, Biron himself hardly lived because of the disgrace that began after the death of Anna Ionannovna. But it is known that in 1779, when the construction was already fully completed, his successor, Peter Biron, hosted the famous Count Cagliostro in the palace. The interior of the palace, which, according to Biron’s order, F.H. Barizien, IM Graf and the Italian painter d’Angioli were working on, was destroyed in 1918, when the Jelgava Palace was looted and burned by the retreating parts of Bermondt-Avalov. The palace suffered heavily during the 1944 military operations. Restoration, which was carried out in 1956-64, almost did not affect the interiors.

About the original interiors Jelgavas pils, there is no detailed information. Apparently, when decorating the facades, festons, masks and stucco details were used for the Rundale residence. In the decorative design of these palaces you can find much in common. The largest historical interest is the burial vault of the Courland Dukes, located in the southeast of the basement floor in 1820. It contains three dozen sarcophagi made for the Dukes of the Ketler family from 1569 to 1743. Today in the palace is the Latvian Agricultural University and Jelgava Museum of History and Art. G. Elias. In 1740 in the basement of the palace a tomb was built for representatives of the dynasties of the Ketlers and Biron, which is also available for inspection.

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