Country Holidays
No 50214
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Self drive tour Independent travel Latvia

Baltic's Road

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This is one of few open air objects to honour the globally unique Baltic Way demonstration, during which several million residents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia joined hands in an unbroken chain that stretched from Tallinn all the way to Vilnius.  The monument is at the former border crossing point at Unguriņi on the border between Latvia and Estonia, and it was installed on the 20th anniversary of the demonstration on August 23, 2009.  It was designed by the metal artist Andris Dukurs.

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The oldest elements of the Oleri Estate date back to the 17th century.  Initially there was a wooden mansion with an ancillary building.  The new centre was built in the late 18th century in the style of Early Classicism.  After agrarian reforms, the mansion housed an elementary school, and during the Soviet occupation and until the 1970s it was a school for children with mental disorders.  The mansion suffered in a fire in 2000, after which it was restored.  A local organisation was of great importance in this regard.  The mansion is known for its Classicist paintings, with a unique “Painting Gallery.”  The mansion is surrounded by a lovely park.  The Oleri Estate is known for hosting chamber music concerts.  The local Oleri swamp has a wooden pathway and a little viewing tower.

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The Bīriņi palace was built in 1857-1860 as a family property of Counts von Pistolkors. The palace was designed by Riga architect F. W. Hess. Information can be found that in those times it was the most luxurious and modern historicism building in Vidzeme. The ensemble of the Bīriņi palace includes a wide park and forest of the19th century with plantings of alien species, an artificial lake Bīriņi, a family vault built in 1814 with a tomb monument to Counts von Mellin (aproximately in 1835), a watermill, manager's house, stables, etc. Obelisks to A. And N von Pistolkors are erected near the palace. Until today, there have been preserved valuable indoor decorative finishes of the second half of the 19th century. The Birini palace was rebuilt in the start of the 20th century after the project of Architect R. H. Zirkwitz. From 1926 to 1995, a sanatorium functioned there. Today, the palace complex is used for various events, there is located a hotel, restaurant and museum.

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The Great and Small Baltezers lakes, which are in a forested and sandy area, feature a unique system in Latvia – a water delivery zone with artesian wells and water filtration layers.  The system was in place in 1904, when the Baltezers pump station was opened.  In 1998, the Rīga Water Delivery Museum was opened in the station, providing information about the 400 years of water delivery in Latvia, including various mechanisms, ancient wooden pipelines, etc.  Around the museum is a boiler house, along with a machinery house, accommodations for workers, and mechanical workshops.

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Guest house in an old mill built ~180 years ago is located 7 km from Rujiena on the bank of River Ruja. Guesthouse offers not only cozy rooms for its guest but also banquet hall and excursions. Grains are still milled and wool processed in the mill.
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The museum is in the mansion of the Dole Estate, which was built in 1898 for the Loeuwis von Menar dynasty.  The collection presents Daugava as an important water route, with the apparel of Baltic and Liv tribes, everyday objects, etc.  Outside the movement is equipment to catch lampreys and a reconstructed weir to catch salmon.  Alongside is a 17th century cannon from the Duchy of Courland that was found in the Misa River and was cast in Baldone.  Nearby are four cannons from the Russian tsar’s army.  Those were found on a building lot in Salaspils in 2007.

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The Eleja creamery offers tastings of cheeses from the farm that is run by the Mālkalns family (apply in advance for the tastings!).  There are seven kinds of cheeses, including smoked and matured cheeses.  There is French cheese that has been prepared in partnership with a French cheese-making specialist, M Eribert.  Blūdži is in the Sesava Parish, 7 km from Eleja, and welcomes small groups.  The farm bakes bread, processes vegetables (tomato juice) and prepares other country goodies.

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The Lejenieki homestead is 1.1 km north of Bangas.  Vilis Plūdons (1874-1940) was an outstanding Latvian poet, a representative of the style of National Romanticism, and a schoolteacher.  His real name was Vilis Lejnieks, and he was born in at the Lejenieki homestead in the Bauska region.  His father was Jānis Lejnieks.  As a boy, Vilis was enchanted by fairy tales told by his granny and by folk songs that she sang.  Plūdons is buried nearby in the family cemetery.  Lejenieki offers an exhibition about the poet’s life and work.  The local sauna features sculptures of rabbits, thus recalling Plūdons’ poem, “Rabbit Sauna.”

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Tourists can learn about the history of the estate and the brewing of beer, beginning with raw materials and ending with finished products. The visit is enriched by tastings of live beer and stories about Latvia’s traditional holiday beverage. Alongside the brewery is a store which sells live beer, homemade goodies and selected souvenirs.

The “Valmiermuižas alus virtuve” saloon popularises Latvian beers and uses beer in various dishes. A modern approach to homemade products is used to prepare foods and beer-based snacks. There is a beer garden during the summer, and the saloon merges traditional things with modern ones.

Latvian cuisine: Smoked pork, filet of pike from Lake Burtnieks, green pea mash, with loganberries, quince, pumpkin birch juice and mushroom sauce as accompaniments.

Special foods: Slice of pork marinated in unfiltered winter beer.

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The Dole is the largest island in the Daugava River, surrounded to the Northeast by the rapid waters of the Daugava and to the Southwest by calm and gradually overgrown waters from Dry Daugava.  The island is a specially protected nature park, established in 1986 to protect the landscape and cultural and historical values of the island in the wake of the construction of the Rīga hydroelectric power plant, as well as rare and protected species of plants and animals.  The island is also meant to provide education and leisure for visitors.  Best known on the island is the Daugava Museum, which is in the mansion of the old Dole Estate.  The museum features some 13,000 exhibits that speak to the history of the island and the river – Baltic and Livonian apparel, tools and household objects.  The exhibition also presents the Daugava as an important waterway and the related history of forms of transport and rafters.  In the park is an open-air exhibition with reconstructed lamprey eel traps and a barrier to fish salmon, along with a set of fishing tools.  A dolomite cliff is alongside the museum on the steep shore of the Dry Daugava.  The ruins of the Vecdole castle can be found on the south-eastern end of the island, near Bēči.

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Tiek uzskatīta par vecāko alus darītavu Ziemeļeiropā. Tā tika uzcelta 1878. gadā, un tās pirmais īpašnieks bija grāfs Emanuels fon Zīverss (Sievers), Cēsu pils muižas saimnieks. Savukārt 1922. gadā alus darītavu pārpirka Cēsu uzņēmēji un sāka tur ražot arī vīnu, sulas un minerālūdeni. Uzņēmums "Cēsu alus" šeit alu un atspirdzinošus dzērienus ražoja no 1976. līdz 2001. gadam, bet šobrīd tas ir pārcēlies uz jaunām telpām.  Šobrīd ēkā tiek organizētas dažādas izstādes, kā arī ēku var apskatīt no ārpuses.

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This is one of the few workshops in Latvia where things are woven with birch bark. You can look at the objects and discuss the experience of the craftspeople. They will help you to produce simple objects out of birch bark, and those will be excellent souvenirs.

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Jānis Čakste (1859-1927) was Latvia’s first president (1922-1927), and he began to build a house for himself in 1924.  In 1999, in honour of the 140th anniversary of the president’s birth, an exhibition was unveiled about his life, work and family.  Čakste’s office can be toured, and artists from Jelgava exhibit their works at the museum, as well.

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The viewing area on the Ērgļi (Ērģeles) cliffs offers an impressive view of Latvia’s most monolith sandstone cliffs (up to 22 metres high) – this is the highest location in the Gauja River valley. Please be very careful and don’t go anywhere near the edge of the cliff!
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Located in the northern part of Valmiera, the Valmiermuiža Estate mansion (Neo-Baroque Style) was built between 1764 and 1771 by Prince August Friedrich of Schleswig, Holstein and Soderburg.  Over the course of time it has been owned by other people.  According to modern evidence, the mansion was a one-story building with a Baroque tower and a two-story addition in the early 20th century, which made it appropriate as a summer home and hunting lodge.  The building burned down in 1918.  Two years later, Valmiermuiža became a prison camp for captured soldiers.  Later the addition to the mansion was restored and used as an elementary school.  In 1936, the building became a prison, and it was once again a prison camp for captured soldiers during World War II.  Later the building burned down again, and the ruins were removed.  Still surviving is the Valmiermuiža tower, with ceiling paintings that are a cultural monument, as is the surrounding park.  The Valmiermuiža brewery is alongside the historical monument, thus providing second wind for the whole region.

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Located at the Rūjiena High School, this Kārlis Zemdega sculpture was installed in 1936 in honour of a local teacher, Jūlija Skuiņa, who drowned in 1936 at the age of 24.  There are various legends about her death, one of which talks about a tragic love story involving the Rev Roberts Slokenbergs.

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Šis ir viens no retajiem ceļiem, kurš saglabājies kā notikumu liecinieks. Ceļš ved no Krimuldas uz Siguldu. Jau vācbaltu apgaismotāja novadpētnieka – mākslinieka Johana Kristofa Broces 1794. gada zīmējumā "Siguldas un Krimuldas pilsdrupas" redzams lauku ceļš gar Krimuldas pili, pa kuru iet zemnieks un darba ratus velk zirgs. Lai braukšana pa Gaujas senlejas nogāzi ar zirga pajūgu būtu droša, ceļu izveidoja līkloča formā, tā uzbrauktuvi padarot daudz lēzenāku. Domājams, ka ceļš atjaunots 19 gs., kad Krievijas cars Aleksandrs otrais un viņa sieva ieradušies uz vizīti siguldā. Pāri ceļam bijuši vairāki mazi tiltiņi, ko iedzīvotāji dēvējuši par velna tiltiem. Tagad serpentīna ceļš kļuvis par romantisku pastaigu vietu.

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The aerial tram across the Gauja is the only vehicle of its type in the Baltic States. It was installed in 1969 with the help of engineers from Georgia. The crossing is 1060 m long, and the cable which crosses the river is just one cable without any supports. The tram rides about 40 metres above the river, and it offers an outstanding look at the local landscapes. During the evening, the tram is used by Bungee jumpers.

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This beautiful castle (1797-1802) is seen as the most brilliant example of Classicism in Latvian architecture.  It, like the Eleja Castle, was designed by the architect of the royal court in Russia, Giacomo Antonio Domenico Quarenghi and the architect Johann Georg Adam Berlitz.  The ornate interior was unique for Kurzeme at the time when the castle was built.  Empress Catherine II gifted the castle to Charlotte von Lieven (1742-1828) after Charlotte served as governess for the empress’ grandchildren.  An agricultural school operated in the building from 1921 until 1941, and it was very much damaged and pillaged during World War II.  Restoration began later, when the Mežotne experimental selection station was housed in it.  The lovely building houses a hotel and can be toured.  Around the castle, which is on the banks of the Lielupe River, there is one of the most beautiful English-type gardens in Latvia – perfect for a stroll.

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The Museum is situated in the place, where during the times of World War II the battles between the soldiers of Latvian and Soviet armies took place.The main subject of the museum is the history of Latvians during World War II and the battle of More.

On the second floor of the museum the guide will tell you about the history of crafts and will show you the exhibition of household objects. Every year there are new exhibitions of the local craftsmen’s products . The visitors can buy souvenirs, jewellery and other crafts and goods.

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The history of Līgatne cannot be separated from the paper factory which was once the only factory of its kind in Latvia. Tours are available in the company of a guide. During the late 19th and early 20th century, the company built homes, a school, a birthing centre, a hospital, a club, a guesthouse and other buildings for its employees, and most of these buildings have survived to this day. There are more than 200 interesting underground passageways which are still used as warehouses for various items, including vegetables.

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This 1939 monument was designed by Kārlis Zemdega and is dedicated to Agriculture Minister Arturs Alberings from the first period of Latvian independence.  The monument shows a young man with a grain basket.  The monument disappeared during the Soviet occupation, and a gypsum statue of a Pioneer was installed instead.  In 1977, children found some parts of the old sculpture buried in the ground, and 10 years later someone found the head of the monument.  After a restoration, the Sower sculpture is now in its historical location – in the Terneja Park alongside Rīgas Street.

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The Vienkoči Park features one-log objects manufactured by its originator.  You can examine mock-ups of the Nurmiži Castle and other buildings including the Sand House, and you can also take part in thematic events.  Men can produce equipment to drain birch juice from trees, wile women can try their hand at jewellery making from natural materials.  People manufactured one-log objects during the Mesolithic Era, and one-log boats have been used since the 9th century (several of them can be seen at the park).

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A newly renovated Vidzeme farm for those who love comfort. Several halls with fireplaces, a sauna, a pool, catering service, a pond and the forest. A country house in a landscaped setting by a pond and near forest. A wooden bathtub with a wood stove outdoors!

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Rest and relaxation 11 km from Cēsis near to the Lake Auciems. Large facilities for families with children. An opportunity to look at chickens, rabbits and Hereford cattle. The Žagarkalns ski facility is 8 km away.

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The Lielstraupe Castle is the only building in Latvia which contains a Medieval castle and a church.  Work on the castle began in 1263.  The building suffered great damage during the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as during the riots of 1905.  The complex was restored in 1909 by the architect Wilhelm Bockslaff.  There are several artistic monuments in the church – the organ loft from the 17th century and the pulpit paintings of the 18th century.  In 1944, two stained glass windows produced by the artist Sigismunds Vidbergs were installed at the church – Golgotha and Birth of Christ.  The tower contains a clock produced by a local clockmaker, and there is a sun dial on the wall of the church.  Visitors to the park of the castle will see the wooden bell tower which dates back to 1744.  A memorial plaque to men who fell during World War I and Latvia's liberation battles was installed in the church in 1938.  A drugs treatment hospital was installed in the castle in 1963.  The church is open during worship services, and the rest of the complex can only be viewed from the outside.

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This is a unique exhibition of woven chairs, chair-making instruments, photographs, and other objects related to chair-making traditions from the late 18th to the mid-20th century. Ceramicist Īrisa Vainovska will talk about the pottery arts, offering decorative plates, interesting wind pipes and souvenirs.

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In 1615, Courlandian Duke Friedrich Kettler (1569-1642) allowed Bauska to build a new city hall.  At the beginning of the 17th century, Market Square in Bauska featured the largest city hall in the entire duchy.  A lack of money led to the dismantling of the hall’s tower in 1852 and its second floor in 1871.  A new city hall was built in 2011, and now Bauska can be proud of a new and outstanding tourist destination that can also be entered.  The restored city hall offers a chance for people to weigh themselves and measure their height with old-time measurements.  Each person who does so receives a certificate to attest to his or her height and weight.

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Parkā blakus pusloka tiltiņam ir novietotas trīs milzīgas dzelzs atslēgas, kuras balsta akmens mūris un metāla arkas. Tās simbolizē trīs vēsturiskos centrus un to vienotību – Siguldu, Turaidu, Krimuldu. Dobēs pie šī objekta sezonāli zied dažādi kultūraugi. 

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The history of Cēsis begins at the Riekstu hill, which is 18 m high and the surrounding area.  There was a wooden castle built by the Vendian tribe that stood there from the 11th to the 13th century.  The hill is in the central part of the castle’s park, and it offers a fine view of the park, a pond and the ruins of the Cēsis Castle.  A long staircase leads to the hill.  The Cēsis Castle was built in the early 13th century as the residence of masters of the Livonian Order, and it was one of the most fortified forts in the Baltic region.  Alongside is the New Cēsis Castle, which was built in 1777 in a place where gate fortifications had been before.  The building houses the Cēsis Museum of History and Art, and an annex contains the Castle Visitor Centre and the Cēsis Tourism Information Centre.  From the tower of the castle, we get a good view of the castle ruins, St John’s Lutheran Church and the northern stretches of the city.  Opposite the new castle is the stable of the Cēsis Castle Estate and a wheelhouse (both from the first half of the 19th century).  Today these house the Cēsis Exhibition Hall.  Other buildings include a granary, a hut for coachmen and an old brewery.  On the other side of the street is the romantic May park, which was installed during the 1830s.  Streets in Cēsis include Lielā Katrīna, Mazā Katrīna, Mazā Kalēju, Kalēju and Lielā Līvu streets and Līvu square with wooden buildings from the late 18th and early 19th century.  Torņa Street stretches along the walls of the Medieval castle.  Outside the church is a sculpture, “As the Centuries Pass By,” and legend has it that anyone who rubs the lantern of the Old Time Man can see the future.  One of the most impressive buildings in Cēsis is St John’s Lutheran Church, which was built in the late 13th century by the Livonian Order.  The Roman-style three-segment basilica has elements of Gothic design and a 65 m steeple that was installed in 1853.  The building was reconstructed several times during the 20th century and contains grave plaques relates to masters of the Livonian Order and local bishops.  The pulpit dates back to 1748, the oak altar was manufactured in 1858, and the altar painting “Crucified One” was painted in 1862.  The windows of the altar part of the church contain artistically valuable stained glass.  The organ was manufactured in 1907 by the E.F. Walker firm, and it is one of the best concert organs in Latvia.  The solar clock with the number 1744 is in the south-wester corner of the church.  It is worth scaling the viewing tower of the church.  At its foot is Rose Square, which was a market square from the mid-13th century until 1927 and was restored in 2008.  This is the central square in the city.  During the Middle Ages, a punishment pole and the city well were here.  Rīgas Street has been the main street in the old part of the city from the very start, and here we find most of the architecturally distinguished buildings from the 18th and 19th century – the former city hall, the Fābers house and the Princess house.  At one end of the street is Liv Square, where there a church, cemetery and the Rīga gate in the city’s walls existed in the 13th century.  Today the square is decorated by a lighted fountain at a place where a well was found in the 13th century.  On the other end of the street we find a reconstruction of the foundations of the Rauna gate from the 14th and 15th century, offering a good look at Medieval walls and the size and strength of the gates.  It is commonly claimed that the national flag of Latvia was born in Cēsis, but it must be emphasised that the flag that is mentioned in chronicles was designed in Cēsis in 1279 as the ideological prototype of the current Latvian flag, while the story of the first national flag actually comes from Valmiera, where it was sewn in 1916.

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This is one of the most beautiful and popular tourism locations in Vidzeme. The cliff is 45 metres high, and the height of the lovely open-faced portion is around 20 metres high. You can look at the wide and deep Amata River valley and its forested banks.
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The carpenter’s workshop offers special excursions and events for grown-ups and children;  there are some thematical programmes available. Under the guidance of a craftsman it is possible to work with traditional wood-working tools and get to know ancient games. In the end you will have a chance to try special „strengthening” tea and have a picnic in a romantic Bonfire house. It is possible to buy wooden souvenirs as well as order them.

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Cēsis is in the centre of the Gauja National Park, but it is not part of the park as such. There are many interesting places in Cēsis to visit and examine. The oldest part of the town is of key interest. The origins of Cēsis can be found at Riekstu hill, which is 18 metres high. Between the 11th and 13th century, there was a wooden castle here built by the Vendians. The hill is in the central part of the castle park, and it offers a good view of the park, pond and the ruins of the Cēsis castle, which can be accessed via a long cascade of stairs. The Cēsis castle (see below) was built in the early 13th century as a residence for masters of the Livonian Order, and it was one of the strongest fortresses in the Baltic territories. Alongside it is the New Cēsis castle, which was built in 1777 where the gate fortifications once stood. The Cēsis Museum of History and Art is in the building, alongside which is a visitors centre and the Cēsis Tourism Information Centre. From the tower of the castle, there is a fine view of the castle ruins, St John's Lutheran church and the northern part of the town. Opposite the New Cēsis castle are stables and a wheelhouse (both from the first half of the 19th century). The Cēsis Exhibition Hall is there today. You can look at the exteriors of the granary, the hut for coachmen, and the old brewery. On the other side of the street is the romantic Maija park, which was installed in the 1830s. The park is popular among parents with children, because there is a playground there. From this area, you can walk down some of the old streets of the town – Lielās Katrīnas, Mazās Katrīnas, Mazā Kalēju, Kalēju and Lielā Līvu streets, plus Līvu Square. The wooden buildings along the streets date back to the late 18th and early 19th century. Torņa Street, which weaves its way along the defensive walls of the Medieval castle, offers a look outside the church of a sculpture by Matiass Jansons, "As the Centuries Pass". Legend says that if you rub the lantern carred by the Old Man of Time, you can see the future. One of the most impressive buildings in Cēsis is St John's Lutheran Church, which was built in the late 13th century for the Livonian Order. It is a basilica built in the Roman style and with Gothic elements. The tower, which is 65 m high, was built in 1853. The building was reconstructed several times during the 20th century. Inside the building are grave epitaphs for masters of the Livonian Order and for bishops. The pulpit was installed in 1748, the oak altar followed in 1858, and the altar painting "The Crucified One" dates back to 1862. The stained glass windows around the altar are of great artistic value. The organ was built in 1907 by the E.F. Walker Company, and the instrument is one of the best concert organs in Latvia. A sun clock featuring the year 1744 is at the south-western corner of the church. It is worth climbing the church's tower. At the foot of the building is Rose Square, which began as a market square in the mid-19th century, remained in place until 1927, and was restored in 2008. This is the central square in the town today. During the Medieval Era, there were stockades here, along with the city's well. Rīgas Street has been the main street of the old town from the very beginning, and it is here that you will find the most architecturally outstanding buildings in town from the 18th and 19th centuries. They include the former Cēsis City Hall, the Fābers building, and the Princess building. At one end of the street is Līvu Square, where, during the 13th century, there was a church, a cemetery and a gate in the town walls. Today the square features a lighted fountain which is on the site of a 13th century well known as Lejas Šķimbēgs. At the other end of the street is a reconstruction of the foundations and surface elements of the Rauna gate that was a part of the town walls in the 14th and 15th centuries. The site offers a good idea about Medieval fortifications and the size and mightiness of gates therein.

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The monument is in the Bērtuļi cemetery and has a brass plaque that reads “With deep thanks to fallen heroes of the Latvian people.  The 10th Rūjiena Vanagi district.”  On the other side of the monument, the words “God, Fatherland, Nation” are engraved.  The monument was restored in 1989.

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The windmill was built between 1867 and 1869 after a design first produced in the Netherlands.  Its name is that of its first owner – Riba.  The windmill is one of the best preserved architectural monuments of its type in Latvia, and it offers an educational exhibition, “The Path of the Grain.”  It talks about the development of agriculture in Zemgale and about grain farming and the baking of bread.  Guided tours are available.  The windmill is part of the Rožmalas leisure complex, which features a hotel and a restaurant.

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Andris Roze is one of very few kokle makers in Latvia who manufactures the instrument and helps others to do so at master’s classes.  Roze also manufactures other traditional musical instruments, demonstrates them, offers consultations about them, collects them and gathers together historical information.  He works at the Drabeši Crafts House, where people can learn traditional skills such as weaving, processing of leather, felting, pottery and construction of musical instruments.

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The Lake Castle of Āraiši is of pan-European importance. It is a reconstructed Lettigalian lake castle from the 9th or 10th century, and it is the only place in the Baltic States at which visitors can learn about how people lived more than 1,000 years ago. The castle offers various thematic events.

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Pirmie dokumenti par Kokmuižu atrodami 1601. gada zemes revīzijas pierakstos. Tur sniegtā informācija vēsta, ka Kokmuiža pastāvējusi jau 1560. gadā. Taču 1880. gadā vācu muižnieks sākas celt kungu māju neobaroka stilā. 20. gs. sākumā tā tika izpostīta, bet 1937. gadā to pārveidoja par skolu.

Kokmuižā kādreiz atradusies alus darītava. Tas bija laika periodā no 17.- 20. gs. Tā bija viena no slavenākajām alusdarītavām visā Vidzemes guberņā.

Mūsdienās var izstaigāt muižu pats vai gida pavadībā. Var aplūkot kungu māju, staļļu ēkas, muižas pārvaldnieka namu, bibliotēku, ekspozīciju, abas klētis un alus darītavas pagrabu, kā arī sfērisko saules pulksteni.

 

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Work on the Valmiera Castle began in 1283.  The castle was burned down in 1702 during the Great Northern War, and the city’s walls were torn down in the late 17th century.  Ruins of the castle and remnants of other Medieval fortifications have been preserved.

 

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Located in Rāmava in the Ķekava Parish, the estate dates back to the 15th century.  In 1723, it belonged to a pastor from Rīga, Depkin, who gave it its name.  The two-story mansion at the estate was built in the style of Classicism in the 19th century and has been restored.  It is one of the best-preserved estates in the Pārdaugava region of Latvia.  The estate once had some 10 buildings, but only the mansion and the surrounding park remain.  The Baltic German writer, publicist and aristocrat Garlieb Merkel  spent much of his life (1808-1850) at the estate.  The Rāmava Estate offers accommodations (12 larger and smaller rooms for overnight), seminar facilities, a campsite and a venue for celebrations and photography sessions.

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Gebaut am Ende des 13. Jh. als eine dreischiffige Basilika im romanischen Stil mit gotischen Elementen. 1853 wurde der 65 m hohe Turm aufgebaut (Aussichtsplatz). In der Kirche befinden sich die Grabsteine der livonischen Bischöfe, Kanzel (1748), Altar aus Eichenholz (1858), Altarbild (1862), Buntglasfenster und eine der besten Orgeln Lettlands (1907).

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The Turaida Museum Reserve is found at the place where the deep gullies of a number of small streams split up the right bank of the ancient Gauja River valley. The Turaida Museum Reserve features monuments of Baltic importance, and their history dates back more than 1,000 years. Among the treasures are the Turaida Estate (21 buildings), the grave of the Rose of Turaida, the Turaida Lutheran Church (one of the oldest wooden churches in Latvia, 1750), and the Turaida Castle. Nearby is Folk Song Hill, where various thematic events are organised.

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Approximately 6 km to the south-west of Iecava is the home of the father of author Edvarts Virza (born Jēkabs Eduards Liekna, 1883-1940), Billītes.  The author and his wife, Elza Stērste, moved to the house in 1901.  Virza was one of Latvia's most outstanding 20th century authors, poets and prose writers, as well as publicist and translator.  He wrote many poems at Billītes, and in 1933 he produced his masterpiece, "Straumēni," which depicts the life of a Latvian farmer.  A museum dedicated to Virza is at the house today.  It was opened by his children and grandchildren.  Contact the museum in advance for a tour.

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The venue features tools, farm machines, mechanisms and everyday objects that are typical of Latvia’s countryside. These are both in the yard and in the buildings of the enterprise. You can help to bake bacon rolls and loaves of bread in areal country oven. The owners will be happy to provide you with an informative tour.

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Another monument designed by Kārlis Zemdega, this one was installed in 1937 and was initially known as a monument to soldiers who liberated and fell in Rūjiena.  The monument survived the Soviet era only because a statue of Lenin that was across the street was on a high pedestal and thus overshadowed the monument to the trumpeter of Talava.

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For more than a century now, the Gūtmaņa cave has been a popular tourist destination. It is the widest (12 m) and highest (up to 10 m) cave in Latvia. It is more of niche, actually, because its depth is just 18.8 metres. The cave is an interesting geological monument, as well as an important cultural and historical place with lots of legends, among which the most popular one centres on a woman called the rose of Turaida. It seems, however, that of the greatest historical values are the engravings on the walls and ceilings of the cave. The oldest date back to the late 17th century. A stream flows out of the cave, and it continues to shape it. People believe that the water from the stream has medicinal properties.

Nearby there is Tourist Information Centre Gutmanala. Office hours: 01.05.-30.09. from 9.00 – 19.00; 01.10.-30.04. from 9.00 – 18.00. Prices for parking: 1 car EUR 2,50; 1 minibus EUR 5,00; 1 bus EUR 7,00.

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A monument to those who liberated Northern Latvia in 1919 was designed by Teodors Zaļkalns and is along the Inčukalns-Valka road.  The monument contains text by Edvarts Virza:  “As long as grain is sown in these fields, you will be praised and honoured.”  The monument features a farmer with a sword and a horse.

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Academy of joviality „Liela muiza” which deals with making barrels, hot barrels, furniture, stairs, doors, and other household goods, in the summer season offers possibilities of lodging  in the guest house. On the first floor there is a hall for celebrations for 30-35 people, a firewood oven and well-equipped kitchen (rooms for rent and bath-house are offered all year round). Lodging is located on the second floor – 1 room for eight people and 5 double rooms.
Guests can watch the process of barrel making from the beginning till the finished product, as well as take part in barrel making process themselves.
 

 

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Sarkanās klintis savu vārdu ieguvušas pateicoties sarkanajiem iežiem. Tieši sarkanā ir mīlestības krāsa, tāpēc sarkanās klintis ir romatiska pastaigas vieta mīlniekiem. Smilšakmens klintīs redzamas plaisas, kas sašķeļ sarkanīgos iežus, radot neparastu dabas mākslas darbu. To virsma ir diezgan izrobota, kas veido klintīs nelielas alas un nišas. Sarkanajās klintīs ir arī daudz dažādu avotiņu. Pazīstamākais no tiem ir Rūcamavots. Tam ir šāds nosaukums, jo tas, nākot ārā no zemes, izdod nelielu rūkoņu.

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Gaujas tilts Siguldā ir vienīgais tilts Latvijā ar šādu unikālu tehnisko risinājumu. Pirmo reizi tilts uzcelts 1937. gadā, taču kara laikā tas tika sagrauts. 1950. gadā to atjaunoja. 2017. gada vasaras beigās noslēgsies tā rekonstrukcijas darbi. 

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The stadium was opened in 1938 and has been rebuilt several times since then.  Outside the stadium is a memorial stone to honour of Jānis Dāliņš (1904-1978), who set several world records in race walking.  He won a silver medal at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932.  The first Three Star Olympiad was held in the stadium in 1993.  The stadium is of national importance as an athletics stadium that hosts international competitions and various athletic activities.  It is known as the most youth-friendly facility of its type.

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From the tower of St Simon’s Lutheran Church, you can see the central part of Valmiera and the banks of the Gauja River. During clear weather, you can see Zilaiskalns Hill. The church contains some cultural and historical treasures, as well as one of Latvia’s most resonant pipe organs.
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Bread at Donas is baked according to ancient traditions. The dough is scalded in a trough, kneaded by hand and then lovingly shaped into loaves that are baked in a real wood stove on maple leaves. You can prepare your own loaf and take it home with you. Nothing is tastier than a warm slice of bread with milk and honey. You will also enjoy other Latvian country treats such as dried meat patties and sausages made of grits. There are also 17 different types of cheeses.

Latvian cuisine: Grit porridge, sauerkraut, country steak haché, 21 kinds of cheeses, milk, honey, herbal teas, country bread.

Special foods: Donas sourdough bread.

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Sauna Museum is a private open-air museum founded in 2008. It is located 40 km from Riga by the Murjāņi - Saulkrasti road. The exhibition consists of six historic and one newly built sauna. They all work, but the hosts recommend to enjoy the black sauna.

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Ģeoloģiskā taka sastāv no trīs saistītiem posmiem: „Melturi – Kārļu zivjaudzētava”, „Kārļu zivjaudzētava – Zvārtes iezis” un "Zvārtes iezis - Veclauču tilts". Amatas senleja veidojusies vienlaikus ar Gaujas senleju leduslaikmeta beigu posmā un pēcleduslaikmetā, ledāja kušanas ūdeņiem plūstot uz Gaujas ieleju. Gaujas NP teritorijā Amatas senielejas dziļums sasniedz 50 metrus un platums palielinās līdz apmēram 1-1,5km. Augstas kraujas (vairāk ne kā 40 metru), kurās redzami augšdevona Pļaviņu svītas dolomītu un augšdevona Amatas un Gaujas svītu smilšakmeņu atsegumi, mijas ar mežiem apaugušām, 3-16m augstām stāvām terasēm. Amatas senieleja ir nozīmīga ne tikai ar savām dabas ainavām. Tās krastus grezno dolomīta un smilšakmens atsegumi, kas atklāj zemes vēstures lappuses 350-400 miljonu gadu tālā pagātnē, kad Latvijas teritoriju klāja jūra. Velobraucieniem taka nav piemērota!
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The windmill is on a hill and offers a lovely view. This is one of the few Dutch-type windmills (built in 1852) to still be in operational order, and guests can help to grind grain. On the last Sunday of every July, the windmill organises a celebration in honour of St Jacob and of bread baked from freshly harvested rye.

Latvian cuisine: Miller’s lunch – wheat flour porridge with meat sauce, crepes, kefir, herbal teas.

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The workshop offers a look at lanterns, candelabras, hinges, fireplace tools, stair railings and gates that have been manufactured there, as well as several exhibits from the 18th century. You can produce your own nail, and the blacksmith will also “test” young couples. He also accepts orders for products.

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The craftsman manufactures barrels, hot tubs, furniture, stairs, doors and other useful objects. You can take a tour, learn about the relevant skills and experience, and help in manufacturing something that will be of use in the household. You can watch how barrels are made from start to finish, and also try your own hand at the craftsmanship.

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This is a farm which popularises Latvian lives, organises traditional rituals, and provides guests with tasty country foods such as porridge, dumplings, pierogi and pastries made of grain and roughly ground flour that are produced at the farm itself. You can purchase teas, herbs and country goodies.

Latvian cuisine: Soups, porridges, desserts, pierogi, sheet cakes and country tortes.

Special foods: Dumplings made of roughly ground whole wheat flour with cottage cheese and bacon.

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This market sells produces from local farmers and home manufacturers who offer traditional and seasonal food which they grow and prepare themselves. You can purchase vegetables, fruit, fresh and smoked meat, cheese, bread, country tortes, homemade wine and various household and gardening objects.

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On the left bank of the ancient Gauja River valley, between the Paparžu ravine and the ravine along which the Sigulda-Turaida road passes through the valley there are the ruins of a castle built by the Order of the Brethren of the Sword.  Construction on the castle began in 1207, and three decades later, in 1236, the castle was rebuilt for the needs of the Livonian Order.  The Sigulda Castle suffered much damage during wars in the late 16th and early 17th century.  During the Great Northern War, it was burned down and never restored.  What is there today is the south-western segment of the castle's convent building, as well as the tower of the main gate.  Beyond that is the internal forecastle, where there is an open-air stage for the annual Sigulda Opera Music Festival and other public events.  There are also impressive views of the ancient Gauja River valley, Krimulda and Turaida.  Reconstruction of the ruins is currently ongoing, and after the work is completed a second tower on the left side of the stage will be available to visitors.  The plan is to install crossings around the walls of the convent building.  Presently the ruins are available on a 24/7 basis and free of charge, but after the restorations are completed in 2012, admission will be charged.

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The memorial museum for Edvards Veidenbaums (1867-1892) was established at his homestead, “Kalači.”  The great poet and translator lived there from the age of five and also died there.  Alongside the museum is an exhibition hall that offers thematic exhibitions.  A monument designed by the sculptor Laimonis Blumbergs is in the garden of the museum and was installed in 1961.  There is also a granary in which Veidenbaums lived during the summer.  The poet was buried in the local Liepa cemetery.

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One of the most important military and political elements of the Livonian Order, the Bauska Castle was built between 1443 and 1456 at the place where the Mūsa and Mēmele rivers flow together.  The castle had five towers and walls that were up to three metres thick.  Between 1580 and 1596, the forecastle was replaced with a residence for the duke of Courland, and its walls were finished with the sgrafito technique.  The castle suffered damage during wars in the 16th and 17th century, but it was always restored until 1706, when the Russian military blew it up during the Great Northern War.  Today the castle houses a museum, with a viewing platform in its south-eastern tower.

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Klinšu smilšakmens ieži veidojušies, ūdens straumēm sanesot smilšainas, mālainas iežu daļiņas. Tās lēnām nogulsnējās un sablīvējās, topot par vareniem dabas veidojumiem! Līgatnes pagrabu alas savām rokām radījuši senie iedzīvotāji. Šī neparastā vieta ļāvusi daudzām paaudzēm izdzīvot, jo alās bija iespēja uzglabāt nepieciešamās pārtikas rezerves. Alām ir nemainīga temperatūra, kas padara tās par drošu pārtikas produktu un dzērienu glabātuvi.

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The watermill processes wool with equipment that is 100 years old and is used to produce handmade blankets and pillows that are stuffed with sheep wool, as well as souvenirs that can be commissioned and purchased.  The watermill offers tours and fresh-baked bread.  A wool pulling and wrapping machine that dates back to the 19th century and was manufactured at the Šūberts Rudītis & Co company in the 19th century is still used, as are a unique weaving apparatus from Germany and a grain mill.

 

Latvian cuisine: Marinated herring with vegetables, porridge, mashed potatoes a la Vidzeme (with fried onions), pancakes with jam made of Latvian berries and honey, homemade bread.

 

Special foods: Water pretzels and local soup with six types of fish.

 

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The farm breeds more than 150 sheep. There is a location to feed lambs, and the owners organise animal auctions and “Sheep Days” events. You can take a tour of the farm and purchase pedigreed sheep and sheep-related products.

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The palace was built as the summer residence of the duke of Courland, Ernst Johan Byron, and it was designed by the outstanding Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The construction of the palace ensemble took place between 1736 and 1740. The decorative finishing of the interiors was carried out from 1765 to 1768 by the sculptor Johann Michael Graff and the painters Francesco Martini and Carlo Zucchi. The significance of the palace lies in its authenticity as it has not been modified through rebuilding since then. Intensive restoration works started in 1972 when the Rundāle Palace museum was established. The restoration was completed in 2018.

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The Mežotne castle hill is on the left bank of the Lielupe River and opposite the Mežotne Castle. This was one of the largest Semigalian fortified castle hills during the 9th to the 13th century, and an ancient town alongside the hill covered 13 ha of land. The castle hill has been improved. A pontoon bridge across the Lielupe allows hikers and bikers to reach the castle (between May and October). Vīna Hill is approximately 500 m to the South of the castle hill, and a wooden pathway leads to it.

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The café is located at the 11th kilometre of the Vidzeme Highway (A2). It is possible to see the Bread museum. Guests can take part in baking rye bread every weekend. The café has a Latvian interior and serves products from local farmers and home-based producers of ingredients.

Latvian cuisine: Chicken liver salad, lamb soup, dumpling soup, cold soup, baked catfish, sautéed pork, potato pancakes, pancakes with jam cottage cheese buns, stacked rye bread.

Special foods: Home baked rye bread.

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This is a sandstone cliff with several arches, pillars and niches.  The set of caves (Little Hell, Devil’s Kiln, Devil’s Cave, Liepmuiža Cave and Liepa Cave) are a bit more than 20 m, with a ceiling height of 3.5 m and a width of 5 m.  A powerful stream flows from the cave, which is thought to have been formed around 7,000 years ago.  The cave is much damaged, because white sand was dug from it in the early 20th century.  Great Ellīte is an ancient cult site.  Today the site has been much improved.

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The memorial to the day when people in the Baltic States joined hands in an unbroken chain stretching from Tallinn through Rīga and on to Vilnius on August 23, 1989, is at the 25th kilometre of the Rīga-Bauska highway, near the little Ķekaviņa River.

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Bauska's name in historical sources for the first time is mentioned in 1443. This is the time when on the peninsula between Musa and Memel confluence construction of last Livonian Order castle on the present-day territory of Latvia was begun. At the castle – in Ķirbaksalā populated area so-called Vairogmiests developed. During the 17th century rapid boom of the town was observed. Here were working goldsmiths, silversmiths, carpenters, potters, shoemakers and other craftsmen. In later centuries the city suffered from wars, plague and Napoleon army. Today Bauska old town with reconstructed City Hall and the restored Bauska Castle is one of the most interesting Latvian historical town centres. Bauska is known for its annual events - Ancient Music Festival, Bauska town festival, country music festivals, and other events.

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The farm produces hemp from which it produces hemp butter, roughly ground seeds, as well as hemp oil. The granary, which is 101 years old, features antique instruments once used to process hemp fibres. Visitors can taste and purchase delicious products and take an exciting tour which speaks to the history of hemp farming.

Latvian cuisine: Rough and fine hemp spread, hemp sandwiches, pressed and toasted hemp crumbs, hemp oil.

 

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Exploring of Sigulda can be started with a visit to Sigulda castle ruins. The construction of the castle was begun by the Knights of the Sword Order in 1207, but in 1236 it was rebuilt for the needs of the Livonian Order. Sigulda castle suffered much from the wars in the second half of the 16th century and in the beginning of 17th century. During the Northern War, it is burned down and is no more restored. Today south-western building of the convent and the tower of the main gate, behind which is the inner forefront of the castle with open air stage, which offers impressive views over the Gauja valley. Currently the reconstruction of castle ruins is in progress. Construction of New castle (owner - Prince Kropotkin) in the South of the Sigulda took place from the 1878 until 1881. From 1923 - 1940 the building was the Palace of Writers, but during the Soviet years - Cardiology sanatorium. Since 2003 Sigulda district council is located there. The manor complex includes wooden house (middle of 19th century), which was Kropotkin's family home, barn (turn of the 18th - 19th century), gardener's house (19th century) and a stone fencing (19th century.) If we make our way from New Castle in a north-eastern direction, after almost 2 km we will reach Vejupite ravine. There you can see the shallow (3.6 m) but high (6.1 m) in Peter's Cave and deep Pucu ravine with Krauklupite. At the conjunction of ravines of both streams rises a Satezele hill fort (plateau 90 x 75 m), where in the beginning of 13th century was the oak castle of Liv land chief (eldest) - Dabrelis. Near can be found Krauklu gorge - ravine of Vejupite left bank, with 11 m high sandstone walls and 5.2 m deep Krauklu cave. At the conjunction of Vejupite ravine and Gauja valley columns Paradise (Gleznotaju) Hill - a very picturesque place, painted and photographed since old times! The Paradise Hill can be reached with a electric vehicle. In the west part of Sigulda is located Ferris wheel (works during the summer) and Air cableway (streetcar) - the only this type of vehicle in Baltics (built in the 1969). Its self-supporting cable extends in 1060 m length and without any support joins the Gauja River valley banks between Sigulda and Krimulda ~ 40 m above Gauja River. Here you can enjoy excellent views! In the south-western part of Sigulda one can walk to mighty Beites precipice, which is split by the deep ravine of stream. On the west side of the ravine lies Keizarskats, which is located ~ 67 m above the Gauja level and offers good views of Krimulda and Turaida castle. Sight place was arranged here already in the 1862 when Russian Tsar Alexander II visited Sigulda. In the eastern part of the ravine wooden Keizarkrēsls (Emperor Stool) is located.

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The Amata is one of Latvia's swiftest river, and water tourists congregate there each spring to engage in extreme activities. From the Rīga-Veclaicene highway, the Amata flows into a deep valley, with an average drop of more than 3 m/km or, downriver, as much as 8-10 m/km. Water tourists usually use the segment of the river between Melturi and the Zvārte cliff or the Veclauči bridge that spans the Līgatne-Kārļi road. Please remember that the Amata is not a friendly river for beginners. After lengthy rainfall, the river can be navigable during other times of the year, as well. The surrounding valley is attractive because of impressive sandstone and dolomite cliffs, among which the best known are the Vizuļi cliff (which can be the site of beautiful frozen waterfalls in winter), the Ainavu cliff, the Ķaubju cliff, the Dzilna cliff, the Zvārte cliff, and the Lustūzis cliff. Between Melturi and Veclauči, there is the Amata geological trail, which is marked with orange paint on tree trunks. There are three segments to the trail – from Melturi to the Kārļi fish farm, from the fish farm to the Zvārte cliff (both segments can be extreme!), and from the Zvārte cliff to the Veclauči bridge. You can hike the trail at any time except when there is deep snow. The most impressive views will be found when the trees are bare. If you boat down the river, you will not have time to look at or photograph the cliffs, because all of your attention will be focused on the river itself and the obstacles therein.

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The café is at the “Miķelis” leisure venue on the banks of the Mūsa River. Visitors can tour a typical farm from the 19th and 20th century, as well as the Machinery Museum. 

Latvian cuisine: Cold soup, Valmiera salad, roast Baltic plaice, potato pancakes, stawberry soup with ice cream.

Special foods: "Special Bauska foods," "Miķelis" pork chop.