This book on the churches of the former Aizkraukle and Jēkabpils Districts is the eighth volume in the series published by Neputns under the general title The Heritage of Religious Architecture and Art.
Maintaining the principle established at the time the series was conceived, namely to arranged the descriptions of churches in accordance with the administrative division into districts, which has since passed into history, this volume brings together material on the heritage of religious art and architecture in the former districts of Aizkraukle and Jēkabpils.
The book covers 43 religious buildings, which in denominational terms include 29 Evangelical Lutheran churches, six Roman Catholic churches, six Orthodox churches and two Old Believer houses of prayer.
The beginnings of Christianity in this area may be sought in the major population centres of the Latgallian, Liv and Selonian lands even before the invasion of the German crusaders and in its initial stages. The oldest church at Aizkraukle, intended both for the Christian brothers of the Order of Swordbrothers and for Christianisation of the Livs, was erected in 1207, when the Chronicle of Henry of Livonia mentions the building of churches along the Daugava. Vetseke, ruler of Koknese (†1224), is described by Henry of Livonia as belonging to the Russian Orthodox faith.
The oldest material evidence of religious architecture and art relating to medieval Christianity is preserved in Aizkraukle, where a church was built in the early 13th century next to Aizkraukle hill-fort. Archaeological excavation has been undertaken on the site of the church, also known as the Church Hill, in 1939, under the direction of Pēteris Stepiņš, and again in 2009 under the direction of Mārtiņš Lūsēns. In the course of this work, structural remains were uncovered, as well as decorative elements and gravestones.