“Earlier, on the territory of the school and the stadium there was a Jewish and Polish elementary school, the duke’s horse stable, a Reformed or Calvinist church, called Kalvians in Jelgava, and a cemetery next to it. The horse stable was built in the 17th century and was a long, large, substantial building in which the Stalplača Hospital, then a women’s prison, was built at the beginning of the 20th century. Everything was destroyed during World War II. In Soviet times, it was decided to build a school in this place, which is now known as the Jelgava Central Elementary School,” historian and archaeologist Andris Tomašūns outlines the history of Jelgava.
During the earth excavation work, it was concluded that the horse stable was built on an artificially elevated place, because the area on the river bank was often flooded. “There is basic soil, then black soil, and on top of it a layer of sand about one meter thick. The foundations of the stable are about a meter thick,” explains A. Tomašūns. He points out that the bricks of the duke’s time differ from those produced today, first of all in terms of size – they are much larger. They are also valuable in various restoration works. “Such bricks no longer exist, so during restoration works, analogs are often made that resemble the bricks of ancient times,” says the historian and archaeologist.
The author of the stable idea is Rastrelli
Gints Putiķis, deputy director of G. Elias Jelgava Museum of History and Art, says that the stable building was described in quite detail by Viktors Gushins in the 5th volume of the book “History of Jelgava 1561–1795”, dedicated to the architect Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli. The book mentions that Duke Ernst Johann Biron was a great lover of horses, so it was clear that a horse stable was also needed near the castle. Since there was no place for a stable of adequate size on the island next to the castle, Jelgava Castle architect BFRastrelli offered to build a stable in the city, a little to the north of the Market Square on the left bank of Driksa. The stable was built in 1771-1773. in 2008 according to the project of architect Severin Jensen, but keeping the main ideas of BFRastrelli, which were in the original design of the stable. The building was 104.85 meters long, and 84 horses could be kept in it at the same time. The building itself was one-story, but at its ends there were two-story buildings, which were neither equal nor symmetrically arranged. After the invasion of the Napoleonic troops in Kurzeme and Zemgale in 1816, the hospital of the 5th division of the 1st Army Corps was placed in this building, but already around 1826 there was a prison in the building. It should be noted that in 1823 a horse stable was built on Pils Island, so the stable on the other side of Driksa was no longer needed. It is also known that in the 20th century, 1922-1944 year, this building housed barracks and around that time a second floor was also built for the building.
Among the household items, there is also a more valuable find
Various household items or their fragments were also found during the excavations, such as pipes, rings, coins, fragments of ceramic vessels, glass vessels. “A rare find is a commemorative medal from the Crimean War, which took place from 1853 to 1856. An interesting token from the beginning of the 19th century with the image of the French king Louis XVIII. These were used for counting before the counting dice. Also a lead seal that may have been brought here by cloth merchants in the 18th century. Fragments of ceramic vessels, from which it would be possible to restore a whole vessel, and porcelain or white clay pipes with beautiful paintings are valuable,” A. Tomašūns assesses. He says that most of the objects were found in the place where the well used to be, and most likely they were thrown into it as garbage or accidentally fell into it.
The excavation works are not over yet, so it is possible that some valuable historical evidence will still be found.
The reconstruction of the stadium should be completed in August
It has already been reported that when the stadium is rebuilt, it will be equipped with a lawn covering an area of 1288 square meters and a runway with a rubber granule covering on an asphalt concrete base. Also, the stadium will have two long jump pits, a multi-purpose sports field, as well as a playground and exercise equipment area with a gymnastics complex, four-level pull-up bars, parallel bars and a balance beam, as well as various exercise machines. Soccer goals, basketball hoops, volleyball posts with a net, a trampoline and other elements will be installed in the stadium.
In the field, not only the sports infrastructure will be improved, but also a landscaped area. It is planned to fence the basketball court, place 34 benches, 12 trash cans and canopies for waste containers, plant 187 deciduous trees and bushes, create mulched beds, install lighting, build rainwater drainage networks, water pipe networks, communication sewers, as well as create a video surveillance system with nine video surveillance cameras. It is planned that the reconstruction of the stadium should be completed by August next year.
The total cost of the project is EUR 1,170,347.86, including EUR 1,053,313.07 borrowed funds and EUR 117,034.79 municipal budget funds. As a result of the procurement, construction works are carried out by SIA “KULK” for the total amount of 1,151,931.66 euros, construction supervision is provided by SIA “BaltLine Globe” for 13,213.20 euros, and author supervision by SIA “Architektūra un vide” for 5,203 euros.