The research project

The research project

Tasks and Questions

Why is it worthwhile to deal scientifically with medieval architecture in Livonia? Against the background of Livonia´s particular historical situation in connection with its geographic location on the border, there are a number of interesting questions which are going to be dealt with in the context of the research project. Among this there counts working out the conditions under which medieval architecture was developed, the context of regional `building schools´ (such as the `Riga Building School´) or the process of the development of an architectural landscape. Finally, a critical presentation of the history of research in the 19th and 20th centuries is urgently needed against the background of national conflicts between the ethnicities (Baltic Germans, Estonians, Latvians, Russians) living there. A tri-national project is going to guarantee that the genesis, development and significance of Livonian architecture in the Middle Ages will not be viewed at from a one-sided, national point of view but from an overarching, European perspective.

Research methods and way of proceeding

The project (2020-2022) is supposed to do fundamental work for further future research of Livonian architecture in the fields of art and cultural studies, and it is also supposed to deliver interim results concerning the current level of knowledge. For this purpose, at first the ca. 350 preserved buildings in the region, which have been documented by images and written sources, will be inventoried by a catalogue. Cataloguing provides the foundation of formal-analytical analyses in the course of which e. g. the development of typological clusters will have to be investigated and presented by help of distribution maps. Based on these analyses, it will be possible to work out development trends and specific features within different architectural genres and to relate them to the architectural art of neighbouring regions as well as to the regions of origin of those who had them erected. As a next step, further studies on individual cases might attempt to compare marked typological or design-specific patterns of distribution to historical, political, cultural and economic conditions, to this way achieve models for the explanation of empirically investigated phenomena. In this context, it must be particularly investigated in how far Livonia´s inclusion into the network of trans-regional economic and political associations (the Hanseatic League, the Teutonic Order, the Roman-Catholic Church) is reflected by architecture. Apart from this, the specific conditions of a border region of the Western social system at the transition to the Russian-Orthodox sovereignty and cultural realm must be taken into consideration.

Presentation of the results

The results of the research project are supposed to be presented to the public as an online-catalogue, as a comprehensive book publication as well as by way of international congresses.