Country Holidays
No 50212
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Self drive tour Independent travel Latvia

Light's Road

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“Kalna Kaibēni” is on Kaibēni Hill (226 m above sea level) and 7 km to the West of Ineši. Nominated as Latvia’s oldest memorial museum (1929), this is a place with buildings from the 18th and 19th century. Inside you will see exhibits which speak to the lives and contributions of the schoolteachers and authors Reinis (1839-1920) and Matīss (1848-1926) Kaudzīte. The authentic farm includes a garden which the two brothers planted themselves, and the wooden sculptures which were produced by Krišjānis Kugra present characters from the brothers’ famous novel “Age of the Surveyors”.

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Here you will find everything that you need for a proper Latvian sauna – bowls, scoops, tubs large and small, switches, linen products and log saunas as such. You can tour the workshop, try out your own hand at the work that the owners do, and commission or purchase their products.

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This is one of the rare cases in which we know precisely when the trees were planted. It was in 1685 and 1689, and they were planted by the priest of the local congregation, Ernest Johann Glück (1654-1705) in commemoration of the fact that he had completed the translation into Latvian of the Old Testament and the New Testament respectively.
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Located at Pils Street 25A in Alūksne, this is a building that was initially a trade pavilion and was built in the early 20th century.  The Ernst Glück Bible Museum was established in 1990 as the only museum of its type in Latvia and the Baltic States.  Glück (1652-1705) was a pastor and educator who was the first to translate the Bible into Latvian.  The exhibition features various editions of the Bible from 1694 to the present day in 38 languages, along with books of sermons and other examples of Christian literature.

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Ethnographic and household storage in Sarkaņi offers craft tools collection, furniture and household collection, 19th and the end of the 20th century living room furnishings, and the exhibition dedicated to Madona countrymen. (Source: Madona TIC)

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The museum was opened in 1977 in an old farmhouse with a reed roof.  The museum features distinguished people from the surrounding area, events there, and the region’s history and traditions.

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The church was built from 1801 until 1804 by Fridrihs Veits from Cēsis.  At the centre of the altar is a painting, “Christ on the Cross,” which dates to the latter half of the 19th century.  The bell was cast in 1895, and the organ was built in 1914.  In front of the church is a 1930 monument to those who fell during World War I and Latvia’s liberation battles (sculptor Kārlis Zāle, architect Aleksandrs Birzenieks).  Restoration of the façade and interior of the church was finished quite recently.

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The first church in Vecpiebalga was built in 1345, and the next one was built between 1839 and 1845 by the Livonian builder Mārcis Sārums.  The church was destroyed in 1944 and restored between 1995 and 1997 (architect Ausma Skumiņa).  The altar painting is titled “Christ Walking in the Land of Piebalga.” Outside the church is a rock to commemorate those who suffered from political repressions in Latvia.

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You can visit the workshop, watch the craftsman at work, try your own hand at the process, and purchase clay objects, including garden ceramics. There is also a lovely garden to view.

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The owner of the Stāmeriena Estate was Baron Johann Gottlieb von Wolff, and his wife, Sofia Potyomkina, was a member of the Russian Orthodox faith, so work on the church began in 1902.  It was consecrated two years later.  The crosses on the steeple of the church are known for mountain crystals that were presented by the Wolff dynasty.  Contact the church in advance for a tour of its interior.

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A renovate estate complex of the 19th century in the historical centre of Gulbene town. The hotel offers 14 rooms with conveniences, 9 hostel rooms and the guest house „Siernīca” with a fireplace room. A conference room and equipment, a fireplace room for 40 persons, a festivity room, cafe and bar. Outdoor tent for festivities.
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The narrow gauge rail line between Alūksne and Gulbene  has tracks that are 750 mm wide and was once part of a rail line between Stukmaņi and Valka.  Today it is the only passenger train on a narrow gauge railroad in Latvia, offering services every day.  The Alūksne station was opened in 1903, and 33 km line with 10 stations and other stop scan be covered in approximately 90 minutes.  A festival is held each year  -- one that is very popular among fans of small trams.

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Information about this stream dates back to the mid-18th century, but people used it much earlier than that.  People donated money to the stream after washing or drinking the water.  During the first half of the 19th century, the baron of Tirza and the local church waged a battle against pagan traditions, though not very successfully.  There is now a canopy over the stream, and people still drink its water.

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The estate is in the centre of Ineši, 5 km to the south of Vecpiebalga.  The estate dates back to the latter half of the 17th century, when an ornate castle for the noble Sheremetyev family was built here in the style of Classicism and on the banks of the little Orisāre River.  The castle was built down during the 1905  Revolution, but restored four years later.  Around the castle is a lovely landscape park.  The castle served as the prototype for the Slātava Estate in the famous novel “Age of the Surveyors” by the Kaudzīte brothers.  In 1992, the Piebalga Administrative District Museum was opened in the wine cellar of the castle, which is home to the Ineši Parish Council and a porcelain painting studio.  Organised tours of the estate and its surrounding area are available.

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The Old School of Druviena is alongside the Druviena-Liezēre road. The historical school building became home to a museum in 1964. The school is closely linked to the great Latvian writer Jānis Poruks (1871-1911), and a memorial room to him has been installed in the building. On the second floor, you can look at a classroom, sit on an old-time school bench and try to imagine yourself as a schoolchild long ago. Interesting exhibits include boxes in which children brought food from home – the same ones which were used by two of Poruks’ most popular characters, Cibiņš and Buņģis.

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The Cesvaine Castle is one of Latvia’s most beautiful castles. Built in the style of Eclecticism, it is said to have been presented by its owner, Adolf von Wulff, to his wife. The castle was built between 1893 and 1896. On the banks of the Sūla River alongside the castle is the Cesvaine Park, including the afforested Cesvaine castle hill.

The castle is closed until November 2018. Excursions are only outside!

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You can visit the workshop, watch the craftsman at work, try your own hand at the process, and purchase clay objects, including garden ceramics. There is also a lovely garden to view.

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To the North of the Cesvaine Castle is a park that is crossed by the rapidly flowing Sūla River.  The Cesvaine castle hill is on the northern bank of the river, is around 15 m high and is covered by trees today.  The grave of the owner of the castle, Adolf von Wolff, is there.  It is said that he wanted to have his casket dragged to the gravesite on a sled.  He died during the summer, but that was done anyway.  The park features a wide diversity of trees and bushes, some of which the owner brought home from his extensive travels.

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Lejasciems is unique in that people from all over Latvia congregate there during the mid-summer to take part in a cemetery festival.

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The potters engage in traditional pottery from various eras, and they also study ancient forms, materials and methods which ancestors centuries ago put to use. You can tour the facility, examine the kiln, work with clay, purchase ceramics products, and inspect a collection of ancient tools and ceramics. You are invited to attend the opening of the kiln, as well.

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This saloon is located 5 km from Madona and at the edge of a highway in the forests of Smecere – the 37th kilometre of the Pļaviņas-Gulbene road. The building in which the saloon is housed was built in the 17th century, and today it is home to a modern leisure complex made up of a three-star hotel, a saloon and cafe, and a music club. 

Latvian cuisine: Chanterelle sauce, grey peas with bacon, barley porridge with meat crickets, oatmeal with jam, potato pancakes, bull testicles, roast deer, buck, moose of beaver, stuffed piglet.
Special foods: Trout from the local fish farm.

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The monument is on a hillock along the lovely shores of Lake Alūksne and alongside Pleskavas Street (P 40).  The monument was unveiled on June 20, 1923, by Latvian President Jānis Čakste and was designed by the sculptor Jūlijs Miesnieks.  It features a shield with crossed words, and the text reads “For fallen soldiers from the 7th Sigulda regiment, 1919-1920), and on the other side there is a text “Better to take my head than our fatherland.”  The monument was torn down during the Soviet occupation (1953) and restored in 2009.

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Organic farming principles which maintain the biological diversity of the surrounding region will be explained to visitors during a tour which also offers consultations on environmentally friendly farming. Organic produce is available for purchase, and visitors can relax on the waterside - fishing, enjoying a sauna and making use of local accommodations. A herd of wild cattle can also be observed.
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The castle was built during the first half of the 19th century in Tudor Neo-Gothic forms.  The first owner of the castle was Baron Johann Gottlieb von Wolff.  During the 1870s and 1880s it was rebuilt in the style of French Neo-Renaissance.  The castle was burned down during the 1905 Revolution, but it was restored with certain elements of Art Nouveau forms.  Tours are available of the interior of the building.

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"Piebalgas medus" atrodas Vecpiebalgas novadā, nogriežoties no autoceļa Cēsis–Vecpiebalga–Madona (P30). Biškopība, apiterapija un stāstījums "Par un ap bitēm". Biškopības produkcijas degustācija un iegāde. Apmeklētājiem ir pieejama sveču darbnīca. Īpaši ar to, ka dravo tikai ar Latvijas stāvstropiem.

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The castle was commissioned by Baron Alexander von Fittinghof and built between 1859 and 1863 in the late Tudor Neo-Gothic style.  It is one of the most important monuments to this style in Latvia and has an ornate limestone façade.  The 7th Sigulda Infantry Brigade was housed in the castle from 1921 until 1940.  Today it is home to the Alūksne Museum with a permanent exhibition and an “environmental labyrinth.”  One of the most unusual exhibits is a set of fluorescent minerals that can be viewed under lights with various spectrums.

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The Livonian Order built a fortified castle on the largest island in Lake Alūksne – Marijas Island (Pilssala Island) in 1342.  It was linked to the land by a 120 m drawbridge.  The castle had several forecastles, and it was regularly modernised and expanded until the end of the 17th century.  It was one of the largest Livonian Order Castles, with similar ones found in Vastelina and Izborsk.  Defensive barriers were put up around the castle, which survived until the Great Northern War.  Its central part was blown up by the defeated Swedish military in 1702, after which Russians completely sacked it.  All that is left are the castle ruins on the island, which is now linked to Alūksne and Temple Hill by two wooden bridges.  An open-air stage alongside the castle ruins is used for various public events.

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This is one of the oldest museums in Vidzeme and features interesting discoveries from the Middle Ages and the Iron Age, some of which were found around Lake Lubāna. Employees organise thematic exhibitions related to the culture and history of the administrative district, as well as art exhibitions.  The museum is in the historical buildings of the former Birži Estate.

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The road leading to this estate is reminiscent of a narrow mountain road with a deep river valley alongside it.  The estate used to be known as the Libe Estate, and the buildings that are seen there now belonged to a nobleman, Magnuss.  The mansion has a Neo-Gothic glass tower which is known as an architectural curio among specialists.  The Sarkaņi Parish Council sits in the mansion.  The granary is the work of a local enthusiast, Andris Trečaks, who has collected a series of ancient objects.  Outside the granary is a very broad view of the “lower” Lubāna flatlands, resembling a painting with an empty frame.

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Temple Hill is steep (with artificially created steepness) and about 30 m high, and it is opposite Marijas Island.  It is an ancient Lettigalian castle hill, 80 m long and 40 m wide, with several artificial ramparts.  One of the oldest objects found in the region is an axe from the 2nd to 3rd millennium BC.   Archaeologists believe that the island was populated at that time.  There was a Lettigalian castle on the hill during the 10th and 11th century, but it was sacked by the Holy Crusade.  The surface of the castle hill was transformed comparatively recently in 1807, when a granite rotunda was built there in honour of Russian Field Marshall Sheremetev and Swedish captain Wulff.  The view of Lake Alūksne and the town is one of the most beautiful ones in all Vidzeme.  The Sun Bridge (1937) is also worth a look.  A wooden viewing platform is nearby.

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The church was built during the rule of Baron Otto Hermann von Fittinghof and built between 1781 and 1788 by the architect Christoph Haberland.  Built in the style of Classicism, the church has elements of the Baroque style and a set of colourful rocks in a mosaic on the façade.  The organ was built in 1855 by August Martin, and the bell was evacuated to Russia during World War I.  The congregation replaced it with a much older bell (1530).  The altar painting, “Baptism of Christ” was pained by an unknown artist and was restored in 2000.  During the mid-19th century, there were many Estonians in the congregation, so worship services were held in Estonian, too.  The church was restored in 1934, and now it dominates the city with its 55.5 m high tower.

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This museum is along the road from Jaunpiebalga and Vecpiebalga and was opened in 1969.  It focuses on the life and work of two distinguished Latvians – the composer Emīls Dārziņš (1875-1910) and the poet and writer Jānis Sudrabkalns (1894-1975).  It features items related to the lives of the two men.  Music by Dārziņš can be heard in the museum, tours are offered to individual visitors and groups, and thematic and musical events are held at the museum.

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This is a homestead that is three km from the centre of Vecpiebalga and is in a lovely place – the Incēni hill.  There is a museum here featuring the author of the legendary fairy tale “Pussy’s Mill” by Kārlis Skalbe (1879-1945).  The poet and prose writer built the building in 1926 and spent summers there from that year until 1944.  The museum was opened in 1987.  The western slope of Vaktskalns hill right alongside the museum offers a lovely view of Lake Alauksts.  The cremated remains of Skalbe and his wife, Lizete, were reinterred at the location in 1992 from Sweden, where the poet died.  There is a unique monument to them in the form of a stone boat.

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The location requires a drive through the Pērlis forest and sparsely populated areas.  Silmači features an open-air stage, which was built in the 1980s for just one performance that was staged by the Latvian National Theatre during the Summer Solstice celebration in 1986.  Ever since then, Rūdolfs Blaumanis’ famous play “Tailor Days at Silmači” has been performed here during the season.  Alongside the stage is a museum that features information about the single performance in 1986.  An original manuscript of the play (1902) can also be viewed.

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Muzejs Egļavā stāsta par mežsaimniecību Latvijā pirmskara un pēckara periodā. Eksponēti ir ne tikai mežsaimniecības darbarīki un piederumi, bet gan apskatāmi ir arī bijušā Balvu rajona teritorijā tapušie tekstīliji, keramikas un kokamatniecības paraugi. Bijušajā mežniecības mājā pieejamas guļamistabas viesu izmitināšanai.

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This landscape park dates back to the latter half of the 18th century, and its initiator was the owner of the Alūksne Estate, Baron Otto Hermann von Fittinghof.  The largest park has important small buildings – the Alexander Pavilion, a temple honouring the Ancient Greek god of winds, Aeolus, the Palm House, a 1799 granite obelisk, the mausoleum for the noble family, a fountain basin that is made of a single piece of granite, as well as a set of granite benches.  This is known as one of the most beautiful parks in Vidzeme.

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Kakaiši is found 1 km to the South-West from Vecpiebalga, in the tiny village of Kakaiši. The Latvian writer Antons Austriņš (1884-1934) was born there and went to school in Vecpiebalga.  Austriņš is best known for the short story collection “Puiškans” (1931).  The museum features various rural objects, things associated with the author, and exhibits such as his collected works and other books that are worth visiting in the company of a guide.

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Near Karva along the old Alūksne-Ape road, the monument was unveiled on November 12, 1937.  It was designed by the architect Verners Vitands and contains the text “Soldiers from the Valmiera Brigade who fell during Latvia’s liberation battles in 1919; I rested my head on the moss and defended my fatherland.”  The monument was torn down in 1975 and restored in 1944.

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Possibly the highest bee apiary in the Baltics, about 300 m above sea level. Organic beekeeping products are harvested in Gaiziņkalns and its surrounding area. We offer excursions in the farm, bee apiary workshops, tasting of beekeeping products.

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“Vēveri” is located 7 km to the North of the centre of Vecpiebalga and offers a look at typical and authentic farms and craftsmen’s operations from the Piebalga landscape in the 19th century. You will wee ancient tools and household objects, as well as a recently restored windmill.

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The 11 buildings of the museum feature farm equipment, horse-related equipment, several dozen internal combustion motors, as well as tools used by craftspeople and farmers during Latvia’s first period of independence. The annual harvest festival brings together as many as 2,000 visitors. A harvest festival features special porridge. Groups can take part in a bread programme, watching the production of bread from dough to loaf.

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The craftsman produces pottery typical of Vidzeme, but with the range of colours that is typical of Latgale. These products fit in very nicely with the lovely landscape of Racupkalns. You can take a tour, watch the master at work, and work with clay yourself. You can also watch as he opens a Lettigalian ditch kiln. You can commission and purchase the products, as well.

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The monument is next to the Vecpiebalga Cultural Centre. Its architect was Ausma Skujiņa, and the sculptress was Maija Eņģele.