Country Holidays
No 50211
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Self drive tour Independent travel Latvia

Mara’s Road

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Ilmārs Vecelis takes part in the “Potter School” of the Latvian Cultural Fund and, therefore, uses ancient pottery methods that have been tested over the course of many centuries in Latgale. You can tour his workshop, attend the opening of the kiln, try your own hand at the craft, and commission and purchase finished ceramics products.

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The Malnava Estate has been producing moonshine since 1827, and visitors can tour the facility, taste the products and have some snacks. The estate, park and Hitler bunker are open to tourism, and there is information for visitors about destinations in Latgale.  

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The wooden buildings with few floors emerged in the 19th century.  Tourists can look at typical closed yards, verandas, wooden elements and decorations.  The city suffered from fires in 1866 and 1938.  The Market Square is the historical centre of Ludza, while the Ludza castle hill dominates the region.  The streets of the city were established around the hill, which had an ancient Lettigalian wooden castle late in the 14th century.  The Livonian Order replaced with the mightiest brick castle in Latgale.  It was sacked in 1654 by the forces of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich.  The castle hill offers a lovely view of Latgale and the oldest city in Latvia and its historical centre.

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Here you will find a vast collection of antique instruments.  You’ll learn about their history and about how they were manufactured.  You can play music or commission or purchase homemade instruments.  If you contact the venue in advance, the Igaunis family will organise a concert performance for you.

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This museum is devoted to the career of the ceramist Polikarps Čerņavskis. His work featured light, yellowish and very bright glazing. Guided tours of the museum are available. There are demonstrations of the use of the potter’s wheel. Ceramics can be purchased, and visitors can attend the opening of the kiln. Special works can be commissioned.
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The workshop offers ceramics products. You can watch the potter at work and try your own hand at the craft. You are also welcome to attend the opening of the kiln.

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The Volkenberga Castle was built in the 13th century by the Livonian Order, and it was practically impregnable, as it was on top of Mākoņkalns hill.  These were among the first fortifications in Latgale, and only fragments of the castle remain today.  Architect Pēteris Blūms has said that this was a special type of fortification.  Legends say that after the lord and lady of the castle died, the property was divided up among their three daughters – Roze, Lūcija and Marija.  Each sister built a new castle on the land which she inherited – Roze built Rēzekne, Lūcija built Ludza, and Marija built Viļaka.  A memorial plaque at the foot of Mākoņkalns hill recalls the visit which pre-war Latvian President Kārlis Ulmanis paid to Latgale in 1938.

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The potter uses the black (smoke) technique to create his artworks, and he uses clay from Latgale. He uses no industrial equipment in his work, and the kiln is fired with firewood. You can watch as he creates dishware on a foot-powered potter’s wheel and talks about the firing process. You can work with clay and purchase finished products.

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Monument „Carrier of the Cross”. Statue of Christ carrying His Cross is placed on a high pedestal of the pyramid shape. The pedestal was built in 1828 by dean and writer Jāzeps Kirkillo from Rezekne. In 1918, the monument was renovated. The new statue was placed in 1918. The monument was rebuilt once again in 1990.
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The Preiļi Estate is in the southern part of Preiļi. During the Soviet era, the mansion was home to a variety of institutions. A fire burned much of the upper part of the building in 1978. The mansion was never restored, and it can only be viewed from the outside. Around it, however, is one of Latvia’s most outstanding landscape parks (mid-19th century). Irēna Kjarkuža offers interesting tours of the state, with interesting legends and songs in the Lettigalian language.

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GORS, The Embassy of Latgale is located in the heart of Latgale region – Rezekne city. It is a place where the story of Latgale is both created and told. Cultural heritage and ancient values, traditions and creation, the language and events, the most significant global trends, art, culture, dance and songs converge here. A centre of culture, concert halls, film theatre, a place of residence for artists, an exhibition space for art, a restaurant for the enjoyment of life, a place for experiments with all the senses. 

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In the centre of the Old City, on the corner of Latgales and Baznīcas streets, the church was built in the style of Russian Classicism between 1843 and 1845.  The ceiling and wall paintings were recently restored, and the bell in the steeple weighs 1,667 kg.

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The Sarkaņi Catholic Church is on the western shore of Lake Cirms, and it was built of field stones in 1830. The church is famous for a painting of the Virgin Mary which is said to be miraculous. This is a popular destination for pilgrims as a result of this fact.

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The flat surface of this large hillock (247 m above sea level, ~60 m above the surrounding area) offers one of the most beautiful landscapes in Latgale, complete with Lake Rāzna. During the 13th century, the Livonian Order built the Volkenberga Castle on the hillock, and it was thought to be practically impenetrable. Fragments of the castle’s walls remain visible today.

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The stone is in the small village of Vasiļova, which is along the Daugavpils-Rēzekne (A13) road.  The Vasiļova Semi-Estate used to be leased by the father of the great Latvian playwright Rainis, Krišjānis Pliekšāns.

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Tāšu meistars Jurijs Ivanovs ar lielu centību un degsmi  pēc seniem paraugiem cenšas atjaunot labākās Zilupes novada tāšu apstrādes tradīcijas. Top novadam raksturīgi autentiski tāšu trauki ķiploku, putraimu, saldumu, sāls uzglabāšanai, paliktnīši kafijas krūzei vai pannai. Īsts meistarstiķis ir darbarīku rokturu izgatavošana. Darbnīcā varēsiet izgatavot tāšu glezniņu, tāšu tauri, uzrakstīt īpašu vēstuli kādam ļoti mīļam cilvēkam.

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The church was built of fieldstones between 1908 and 1925 in the Tudor Neo-Gothic style (designed by the Liepāja-based architect Stadmann).  It replaced a wooden church that dated back to 1621, and its steeple offers a lovely view of lakes that surround the village of Višķi.

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Located in the southern part of Feimaņi, the church was built between 1756 and 1760. The local estate was owned by the Korff dynasty, and the denomination of the congregation changed when the family converted from Lutheranism to Catholicism.  This church has the largest number of artistic monuments among all churches in the Rēzekne Administrative District, including a confessional bench, pews, an organ prospectus, silver cups and three altar wood engravings from the 18th century.  Above the gate is a bell tower with four bells.  During Holy Week, clappers are used instead of bells.  They are about 2 m long and 1 m high and are reminiscent of ancient laundry rolls.  Feimaņi is also home to one of three flag workshops in Latvia, and it has state-of-the-art equipment.  The flag of Latgale was “born” here in ideological and physical terms.

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Latgalisko tradīciju un prasmju māja “Ambeļu skreine” ir latgalisko vērtību glabātāja un popularizētāja. Interesentiem tiek piedāvātas interaktīvas aktivitātes latgaliešu kultūras garā, dažādas meistarklases.  “Ambeļu skreinē”  tiek svinēti gadskārtu svētki un  izkoptas dažādas amatu prasmes.  Te notiek danču vakari, dziedāšana, zīlēšana, tiek cepta maizīte, siets siers un tiek  veidotas tautas lietišķās mākslas izstādes.  No mājas paveras brīnišķīgs skats uz Višķu ezeru un Latgales krāšņajām dabas ainavām. 

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Between 1883 and 1891, the estate that was once owned by the Šadurskis family was rented by the father of the great poet Rainis, Krišjānis Pliekšāns.  Rainis spent his youth at the estate, as reflected in the poet’s The Land of My Youth Days.  Rainis translated Pushkin’s Boris Godunov while at the state.  In honour of the poet and his contributions in the world of literature, an exhibition, “Rainis’ High School and University Years,” was opened at the estate in 1964.  The restored cattle shed today offers a look at the work of potters in Latgale.

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The construction of the state began in the early 20th century.  The mansion was built of bricks and fieldstones between 1905 and 1911 in the styles of Historicism and Art Nouveau.  The estate was owned by engineer and professor Stanislav Kerbedz from St Petersburg, the first Russian engineer to develop principles for the architectonic aspects of bridges.  These were used during the latter half of the 19th century, and Kerbedz led the construction of the Nikolayev bridge across the Neva River in St Petersburg.  Kerbedz’s wife, Yevgenia, was well known as a lover of art, and she brought various art objects to the estate from Italy.  The Lūznava Estate was a popular place for gatherings of artists during the summers.  Among those to visit was the distinguished Lithuanian painter and composer Mikalojus Čiurlionis.  The estate is surrounded by a 23.7 ha landscape park with a system of ponds.  Near the estate is a statue of the Madonna, which was carved by an unknown Italian artist.  The statue was damaged and thrown into a pond during World War II, but it was restored in 1991.  Reconstruction of the main building of the estate was complete in 2015, and today it is a modern and international centre for environmental education and the arts.

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Here you can examine and purchase crafts by more than 40 Lettigalian craftspeople. A guide dressed in an Ancient Lettigalian folk costume will tell you about the lives of ancient Baltic tribes, the emergence of craftsmanship in the region, ancient laws related to ethics and work, and traditions. There are demonstrations of the crafts and lessons about the ancient skills. Groups can enjoy a luncheon of Lettigalian dishes, and learn how to bake bread and prepare beverages in an old-fashioned Lettigalian kitchen.

Latvian cuisine: Grey peas, dumplings in cream sauce, Lettigalian pastries and moonshine alcohol.
Special foods: Lamb testicles and cabbage soup with mutton.

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The slogan for this farm is “Here we produce real Latgale beer!” You can help to brew beer, listen to stories about traditions, and taste the finished products. The owner also offers country goodies as snacks – ones which are based on Lettigalian traditions.

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On the banks of Little Lake Ludza is a farm with a house, windmill, threshing barn and the workshop of the Lettigalian ceramicist Polikarps Vilcāns.  Various events related to craftsmanship and culture are organised there.

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The Rēzekne castle hill is an impressive hillock (15 m) on the right bank of the Rēzekne River. From the 9th to the 12th century, there was a Lettigalian castle here. In 1285, the Livonian Order began to build a two-story stone castle on the site, and its ruins have survived to this very day. Alongside the castle hill is the Eastern Latvian Creative Service Centre - „Zeimuļs”, along with a tourism information centre.

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The first Catholic church in Ludza was built in 1687 and burned down.  A new wooden Baroque church was built in 1738, and because of its colourful interior it became known as the loveliest wooden house of worship in Latvia.  The church burned down during a great conflagration in 1938.  Work on the church that is there began in 1939, but it was only completed in the early 1990s.

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At this museum, you will learn all about the baking of bread from grain to loaf, and you can make your own loaves, too. You can taste bread and herbal teas. There are theatrical performances related to christenings, weddings, birthdays, etc. Local foods such as dumplings and soups made of dried mushrooms or lake fish are served. The museum sells freshly baked bread, as well as the work of local craftspeople.

Latvian cuisine: Lake fish soup, cottage cheese dumplings and other traditional Lettigalian dishes.

Special food: Soup of dried mushrooms.

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This potter upholds pottery traditions from the village of Silajāņi. He produces glazed and unglazed products such as dishware, candelabras, etc. You will hear attractive stories about pottery, be allowed to knead some clay and work on the potter’s wheel, and be able to tour an exhibition hall with samples of the master’s work, as produced over the course of the years. You can also commission and purchase products.

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The Ludza castle hill offers one of the most interesting views in Latgale – that of the oldest town in Latvia and its historical centre, Great Lake Ludza and Small Lake Ludza, the ruins of the castle of the Livonian Order, Baznīckalns hill, churches, the regional research museum, the craftsmen’s centre, etc.
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This is the highest point in the Latgale highlands (289 metres above sea level), opening up a narrow but lovely view of Lake Rāzna and the massive forests of the highlands. You really should visit this hill when the sun is setting beautifully!
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Ēvalds Vasilevskis is founder and director of the “Potter School,” which is part of the Latvian Cultural Fund. He and fellow participants in the school use ancient ceramics methods and techniques, firing dishware in a pit-type kiln and with the smoke technique. You can examine the kiln, work with clay, purchase finished products, and take part in the opening of the kiln.

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Here you will find everything needed for horseback riding, including reins, belts, leather sacks, etc. You can tour the exhibition hall, learn about types of leather, try your hand at the process, and purchase products. The craftswoman will be delighted to talk about the Lettigalian lifestyle.

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This is the highest point in the southern part of Daugavpils.  A radius of approximately 300 m around 18. Novembra Street once housed the first Old Believer prayer house (1908-1928), the St Boris and Gleb Orthodox Cathedral (1905), the Daugavpils Mother of God Catholic Church (1905), and the Daugavpils Martin Luther Lutheran Church (1893).

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This is the centre for Catholicism in Latvia and a destination for pilgrims from all around the world.  Its origins date back to 1699, when the Dominican Order established a cloister.  One year later, it built the first wooden church.  The brick Church of St Dominic and the buildings of the cloister were erected between 1768 and 1800.  The Baroque church is distinguished by two towers that are 60 metres high.  The pulpit, organ prospectus, organ, prayer bench and pews come from the 18th century, while the side altars date back to the early 19th century.  The central altar includes the painting “The Miraculous Mother of God of Aglona,” which is thought to have healing properties.  For that reason, it is unveiled only during important events.  In advance of a visit to Latvia by Pope John Paul II in 1993, the complex underwent major rebuilding and restoration.  On August 15 each year, hundreds and thousands of pilgrims arrive in Aglona to celebrate the assumption of the Virgin Mary.  The holy stream of Aglona is 100 metres to the East of the basilica.

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Located in the centre of Atbrīvošanas Alley, this statue is a monument to the liberation of Latgale and the unity of Latvia and is officially called “Unified for Latvia.”  The bronze monument was unveiled in 1939 (sculptor K. Jansons, designer L. Tomačisks).  In 1940, the Soviet regime tried to destroy the monument, but it was restored in August 1943.  A second attempt to destroy the monument occurred in June 1950, and this time the process was successful.  After the restoration of Latvia’s independence, “Māra of Latgale” was installed for a third time on August 3, 1992, sculpted by the son of K. Jansons, A. Jansons, on the basis of old designs.  “Māra of Latgale” is one of the best examples of monumental sculpture in Latvia.  Latvian mythology personifies the goddess Māra as a provider of fertility for earth and a protection of life.  The cross that is part of the ensemble is a symbol of the Christian faith.

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The Eversmuiža Estate is in the centre of Cibla and is dominated by a 1680 mansion that was built in the style of Classicism and was rebuilt several times later.  There is a home for servants, a gatehouse and ancillary buildings that are in poor shape.  A stone wall surrounds the park of the estate.  Since the 17th century and for nearly two centuries, the estate belonged to an aristocratic Polish family, after it was owned by various others.  Today the mansion houses a boarding school and the Cibla Regional Research Museum, which offers tours.  A cultural and historical trail runs along the banks of the Ilža River.

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"The heart of Latgale", where during the 9th – 12th century stood a fortified Latgalian castle. In 1285 Livonian Order began the construction of stone castle instead of Latgalian castle. After the collapse of Livonia (Rezekne in the composition of Poland) the city languished. Economic life in Rezekne restored in the second half of the 18th century. After the construction of St. Petersburg – Warsaw highway (1836) and railway (1861), Rezekne became a holiday destination for holidaymakers from St. Petersburg. During the World War II, buildings of the city significantly suffered. Today the town is an important economic and cultural centre of Latgale region.

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The Berķenele semi-estate is a historical monument of national importance, known as the place where the distinguished Latvian author and politician Rainis (1865-1929) spent his childhood.  The house was restored in 1995, and since 1996 it has been the Rainis house in Berķenele.  Rainis recorded his childhood impressions in a poetry collection called "Five Sketch Notebooks from Dagda." Today the managers of the house offer tours, creative workshops and exhibitions.  Visitors can don the clothing worn by the lord and his servants.  Around the house is a large orchard, featuring a programme called "Route of Apples."  The house also has a lovely landscape that is interesting to see. 

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The current exhibition is in a building that used to house the Latgale Central Museum, and it speaks to the 700 years of the history of Rēzekne.  It features typical ceramics and other artworks from Latgale.  A separate exposition, “A Miracle Created by the Transformation of Clay and Fire,” speaks to the history of ceramics, and the museum also features pottery workshops where people can watch experts using ancient traditions to create new forms of pottery.  Outside of the museum is a monument to the distinguished Lettigalian poet Antons Kūkojs (1940-2007).

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The church was built between 1932 and 1938 to replace an old Neo-Gothic wooden church.  It was designed by J. Cīrulis.  Until 1994, the building housed a venue that rented out films.  Today it houses an exhibition, “From Foundations to the Steeple:  Photographs of Ancient Lettigalian Construction Jobs.”  This documents the construction of the church.  The 37 metre steeple offers a good look at Rēzekne.

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Found in the western part of Daugavpils and on the banks of the Daugava River, this is almost the only fortress in Northern Europe that has been preserved since the first half of the 19th century.  Work on the fortress began in 1810, though it suffered much damage during the war of 1812 and because of flooding in 1829.  The fortress was of strategic importance in terms of its location, not least in terms of the battle against Napoleon’s forces.  It was consecrated in 1833, though construction work ended nearly half a century later, in 1878.  The fort is divided up into squares, with the Parade Field in the centre of the whole fortress.  After it lost its strategic importance in 1897, a warehouse was installed there.  Prior to World War I, General Jānis Balodis, Colonel Frīdrihs Briedis and others served at the local garrison.  In 1912, in honour of the centenary of the aforementioned war, a monument was unveiled in the park of the fortress.  During the Soviet occupation, Red Army units took over the fortress, and a technical aviation school was established there.  Even today, the fortress is a “city in a city.”  It has a residential area, though the buildings are quite shabby.  Both inside and outside the fortress are many elements that relate to military issues.  Right now fundamental work is being done to reconstruct the buildings, water pipelines and streets of the fortress.  The fortifications of the fortress are home to one of the largest colonies of bats in all of Latvia, and it is strictly forbidden to disturb them when they are asleep.  Major restoration of the fortress has included the establishment of the Mark Rothko Art Centre.  The distinguished artist was born in Daugavpils in 1903, when Latvia was still part of the Russian Empire.

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Located 300 km to the south of the Malnava Estate mansion. The lady of the house prepare hearty Lettigalian dishes and other country goodies. In the bakery the owner bakes different types of bread, for example, rye-bread, sweet-and sour bread, as well as makes cakes on pre-order. She also offers to groups and families to bake bread, pies, cakes or pizzas together. The tasting and Latgalian dishes in nowadays’style. A walk around the park of Malnava manor and stories about the white gate. Local bread is famous in Kārsava. The bakery offers brunch on weekends, as well as markets of local crafts and other products.
Latvian cuisine: Lettigalian bacon, pearl barley porridge with side dishes, potatoes stuffed with bacon and onions, sautéed vegetables with meat, berry bread, tea with honey.
Special foods: Local Dzīļi bread with bran, raisins, cranberry jam and linen seed.

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The attractive potter is a member of the “Potter School,” and he uses knowledge from his ancestors. The “Malny Wylky” workshop offers a look at traditional pottery work, including a foot-powered potter’s wheel and a firing pit that uses firewood and the smoke technique. You can examine and purchase the finished products. Vēsma, in turn, is an oil painter and will demonstrate her artworks.

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The Rēzekne Old Believer Prayer House of St Nicholas is in the southern part of the city, at Siņicina Street 4. The house of worship was built in 1895 and rebuilt in 1906. Its tower has three silver and brass bells (restored), and one of them is thought to be the largest bell in Latvia (4,832 kg with a tongue that weighs 200 kg in and of itself). Alongside is a museum which features the cultural and religious environment of the Old Believers.

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This is a unique example of industrial heritage – the only open munition factory in the Baltic States.  It includes Europe’s oldest pellet pouring tower, and it is still used for that purpose today.  Tours are available for those who contact the factory in advance, and a guide will lead groups through the factory, the tower and the museum.  Today the factory manufactures nine types of bullets for smooth-barrel weapons, as well as bullets for pneumatic weapons.  The products are exported to Germany and other countries.

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The owners of the farm inherited it. There is a wood house with decorative trim and window shutters. The owners use milk from their own cows to produce cheeses on the basis of old and modern recipes. You can taste the cheese, milk, clotted milk, buttermilk and other dairy products, watch how they are made, and take part in the process yourself. There are also animals to view.

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Latvia’s newest national park (2007) is in the “land of the blue lakes” – the region of Latgale. One of the goals of establishing a national park was to preserve the natural treasures of the region. Lake Rāzna, which is the second largest in Latvia, is there, as is Lake Ežezers, which has more island than any other lake in Latvia. There are other bodies of water, as well as typical landscapes of hillocks and a unique cultural environment. One of the most popular destinations in the park is Mākoņkalns Hill, which offers a lovely view of Lake Rāzna. Administrators of the newly established park are working on the tourist infrastructure – trails, routes, etc. Perhaps visitors would be advised to postpone their trip to the Rāzna National Park for awhile.

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The farm has a herd of horses and buys horses which confirm to historical demands related to breeds of animals. You can learn to ride a horse in the company of an instructor and in a limited area. During the summer, there are cart rides, while in the winter there are sleigh rides. The horses are also used for weddings and other ceremonies.

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Latgale Farmstead „Mežmalas”. The owners of the farmstead created an interesting collection of the old household items, tools and equipment of the 19th and 20th century. The visitors are offered to try plainting of the scale basket. Sale of baskets and herbal tea. Enjoy walking along the energetic path through the pine forest.
Working hours: on request
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The church was built in the Neoromantic style between 1936 and 1939 on the basis of a design by the architect Pavlov.  It was consecrated before the completion of construction, this happening in 1937.  The church honours the Anguished Mother of God, and the central altar is dedicated to her.  Icons in the building date back to the early 20th century, and a statue of the Fatima Mother of God is in the yard near the entrance.

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Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church of Stoļerova. The construction works of the church were finished in 1999 by the support of dean Butāns. The building is slightly larger than the previous one; the newest (restored) church in Rēzekne district. The church has a specific icon of Our Lady that was transferred from the chapel of Rozenmuiža.
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In 1685, a military leader from Krakow, Belinsky, paid for the construction of a wooden church in the current location.  It was restored in 1749 and lasted until 1887, when it burned down during a storm.  A church with two steeples was designed in the Gothic style, and construction of it began one year later.  The church was consecrated in 1904 and is one of the most impressive churches in Latvia.  Attention should be paid to stained glass windows that feature images of St Meinhard and Albert.  Alongside the church is the centre of the Rēzekne-Aglona diocese, which is the seat of the local bishop.