The Renaissance of Neo-Gothic Style in Rumene Estate

Reconstruction of the Rūmene Manor estate, commissioned by Hotel Bergs in Riga, is one of the most remarkable historical estate reconstruction and restoration projects in Latvia today.  The project, led by Riga architect Zaiga Gaile, won the award of Best Reconstruction Project in Latvia in 2008.

Rumene Manor from the side of the pond. The postcard of the beginning of 20th century. (Kandava Museum collection, KaNM 683)

The Rūmene Manor is the rural property of Riga's five-star Hotel Bergs. It is a secluded place for recreation, corporate meetings, banquets, conferences and other events with full-service facilities. With accommodation in 14 spacious apartments, the concept of the manor corresponds to the internationally recognised categories of resort and executive retreat – the perfect location for clients who appreciate rural elegance and value the privacy provided by the manor.

Following an extensive five-year-long reconstruction, the Rūmene Manor has regained its former beauty and elegance. Kandava, the nearest town, is only four kilometres from the manor and is also becoming a tourist destination. As a result, its environment and infrastructure are continuously being improved. The roads around the Rūmene Manor are set to be upgraded as well, and new roads with bicycles paths will be built in the near future.

Well-known Latvian businessman Justs Karlsons has made the Rūmene Manor his newest real estate development project. In terms of investment and reconstruction, this project stands above all similar projects in the Baltic region. Considering Karlsons' previous achievements – the renewal of the Berga Bazārs quarter within the UNESCO-protected historical centre of Riga, as well as the development of the internationally recognised Hotel Bergs – the Rūmene Manor has likewise been reconstructed in accordance with the highest standards and with respect towards the manor’s history. The result is a truly harmonious environment. The bestowing of the Latvian Association of Architects award for Best Reconstruction Project in 2008 confirms the cultural and historical significance of the Rūmene Manor project for Latvian architecture. Not only is the preservation of Latvia's historical buildings important, but so is their adaptation to a modern lifestyle.

The history of the Rūmene Manor stretches back over 600 years. That history has now come alive with the recent publication of Inta Dišlere's research of the property. Her compilation of a list of the manor's owners since 1437 has become a unique historical document. The manor's present owners have even had the rare opportunity to hold an original signed and sealed purchase agreement from March 21, 1681. In researching the history of the manor, Dišlere pored over documents dating from the 15th to the 20th century at the Latvian State Historical Archives (LVVA), the Courland Ducal Archive at the Herder Institute in Marburg (Germany), congregation records and church archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, publications about estate-owning families and many other materials.

The Rūmene manor house was built in the Neo-Gothic style in 1876 and is believed to have been designed by Teodors Zeilers. The whole property, including 12 auxiliary buildings and surrounding territory, once covered over 700 hectares. The goal of the present reconstruction project is to gradually restore all of the Rūmene Manor buildings as well as the park, lake and landscapes to their original splendour and stateliness. The Rūmene Manor park covers almost eight hectares and includes many rare species of trees. The park is believed to have been designed by the landscape architect Georg Kuphaldt, who also designed the Arkādijas and Viesturdārzs parks in Riga.

Since the beginning of reconstruction work in 2004, a basement has been built under the existing manor house and a second and third storey have been added. The manor’s broad steps and terraces have been faithfully restored, the Stable (Stallis) and Garden House (Dārza māja) have been renovated and reconstructed, the lake has been drained and dug anew, and an extensive cleanup of the park has begun. The second floor of the manor house contains three spacious apartments whose design is based on the lifestyle once common in castles and manors, in which the group of bedroom spaces usually began with a boudoir, then the bedroom itself, followed by a bathroom and a dressing room. Such an apartment provides the freedom to work or relax undisturbed by events on the first floor. There are plans to develop the other manor buildings in a similar manner.

The reconstruction and modernisation of the Stable was completed in 2010 and the Garden House (or Servants' House) containing four apartments was finished in 2012. Thus, the Rūmene Manor now offers its guests 14 country-style double occupancy apartments. By the end of 2013, a ballroom and seminar rooms in the restored Carriage House will also be finished.

A concert hall and spa complex, complete with a Latvian sauna and golf course, are also planned for the near future.

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