After the establishment of the Livonian state, the pope consecrated this land in honour of the holy Virgin Mary. This created Terra Mariana or Māra’s Land. The road between Ludza, Rēzekne and Daugavpils runs along an ancient trading route that once connected Vilnius and Kaunas to Pskov and, later, to St Petersburg and Warsaw.
Very beautiful and poetically picturesque with rivers and lakes that are in Latvia’s forested land and among hillocks that offer a wonderful look at the distant horizon – that is Māra’s Land, which is also known as the Land of Blue Lakes. Lake Rāzna is the second largest in Latvia, and when the weather is clear, Mākoņkalns Hill or Padebešu Hill is reflected in its water. Atop the hill are the oldest ruins of fortifications in Latgale, dating back to the Livonian era.
Rēzekne is known as the heart of Latgale, because it has always been the centre for Lettigalian culture and education. People contributed donations for the 1939 construction of a monument to Māra of Latgale. It is dedicated to those who fell during Latvia’s independence battles and the liberation of Latgale. The monument also speaks to the Catholic identity of Latgale. The monument was rededicated on August 13, 1992, the date of the assumption of the Virgin Mary. A Catholic festival at Aglona and the monument to Māra of Latgale – these are integral components of this part of Latvia. The present day is marked out clearly by the new Gors concert hall in Rēzekne, and well as the Zeimuļš student interest education centre.
Daugavpils is Latvia’s second city and an important centre for industry, culture, education and sports. The Daugavpils pellet factory is unique, and the oldest pellet casting tower in Europe is now open to visitors, as are the restored Daugavpils fortress and the new Rothko Museum.
Not far from Daugavpils are the small Birķeneļi semi-estate and the Rainis Museum. Latgale was the “land of new days” for the poet, and the museum now hosts gatherings of young artists and craftspeople. The ancient tradition of ceramic art that is typical specifically of this part of Latvia is still thriving.