Liepāja is one of those cities that lives on the hearts of Latvian citizens with its spirit, captivating stories, and many secrets. Our city has the unique ability to create and nurture notable and creative art, music, lyrical literature, and theatre gems, as well as many other notable achievements. Brusqueness and poignancy, as well as artistic creativity are the gems of our character. They are symbols that live through the everyday over decades and centuries. The buildings imagined, designed, and built by Paul Max Bertschy highlight the unique spirit and values of Liepāja. These buildings do not have a historic shelf life; they will never be old-fashioned – they are Liepāja’s today and tomorrow.
The legacy left by Bertschy has become more noticeable in the streets of Liepāja. His buildings now have brass plaques with his signature – Liepāja City Hall does as well. And we continue the work we have begun. In order to visit and admire Bertschy’s buildings, a tourism map with a specific route has been created, which can be found in the Liepāja region Tourism Centre.
Bertschy was the City Architect for over 30 years, during which time he planned and built the new, industrial Liepāja. His buildings, constructed mostly with red bricks, highlight the so-called red brick style. Future architects and other interested people can view the rich and systematically organized projects, sketches, and mock-ups, as well as records and journals describing the search for architectural forms, which were innovative at the time.
The architect rests in the Old Cemetery in Liepāja, but his masterpieces continue to live on, creating a significant architectural style for the city.
I wish to express thanks to the architectural historians of Liepāja and Riga, particularly Imants Lancmanis, as well as those involved in the creation of this book. Thanks also go to the Bertschy family in Germany for their support and the architect’s granddaughter, Angelika Bertschy, who participated enthusiastically in this project.
I invite you to come to Liepāja so that along with this book, you may gain new and creative ideas, or just enjoy the beauty of our city today and through time.
Liepāja city mayor