Ancient trade routes distributed not just products, but also knowledge, culture and everything that was new and unknown. Pastor Ernest Glück, for instance, may have already started work on a translation of the Bible into Latvian when he travelled from the Daugavgrīva fortress near Rīga to Alūksne. There he finished his masterpiece and planted two oak trees alongside the manse that are still there. Glück also established the first school in Vidzeme for Latvian children. He was a pastor, translator, author and teacher. Thanks to him, the Hernhutian movement of brethren flourished in Vidzeme after the Great Northern War. It directed spiritual and political development and brought Latvians closer to their national awakening.
Of great importance in the Path of Light is Piebalga, which became very important in terms of culture in Latvia. Culture, science and even politics took on new meaning and sounds. This is where Kārlis Skalbe, the Kaudzītes brothers, Jānis Poruks, Antons Austriņš and other major figures from the national awakening lived and worked. The very spiritual aura in this place has not disappeared to this very day.
The fantastic Cesvaine castle has been renovated, and the narrow-gauge railroad between Gulbene and Alūksne is still rolling alone. The ruins of the Marienburg castle in Alūksne conjure up visions of the hidden wealth of the Order of Templates and the young woman who was bricked into the castle’s walls. No less intriguing is the story of Marta Skovronsky, who would rise to become Empress Catherine the Great of Russia.
The Madona Regional Research and Art Museum offers a look at the past and present, while the Ate windmill at Kancempji offers a look at more than 4,000 unique items from the history of our countryside, complete with buildings that are more than 100 years old.