Country Holidays
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Koguva village on Muhu island is an outstanding example of peasant architecture in Estonia. Farmsteads with dry stone walls are protected as an architectural monument. The museum complex comprises a wealthy seaside farm Tooma (Juhan Smuul, an Estonian author, was born here) with all its outbuildings and tools, a former village school and a textile exhibition.

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Ekenäs Old Town with its wooden houses spreads out to the seashore. The street names tell the story of the life of the townspeople and how they got along hundreds of years ago. Here, the streets have stayed the same since the 16th century. Street names such as the Hatter's Street (Hattmakaregatan), Linen Weaver's Street (Linvävaregatan), Cloth Weaver's Street (Handskmakaregatan), Smith's Street (Smedsgatan) and Tanner's Street (Garvaregatan) reveal that Barcken's peninsula in Ekenäs once was populated by skilled craftsmen.

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Smarde is an ancient place, mentioned in the 13th century documents. Today it is a small village with railway station and shops. Northeast of Smārde - former peat extraction places are located in Smārde marsh. During World War I the front line was near Smārde, the vicinity of which is witnessed by the memorial sites.

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The Slutiški village is a very ethnographic village with a layout and buildings typical of the Latgale region, complete with decorated windows and facades. The Slutiški Old Believers House features a museum focusing on the cultural environment and traditions of the Old Believers. One of Latvia’s most unusual landscapes can be seen from the ancient banks of the Daugava River.

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One of the youngest Latvian towns, in 2013 it will celebrate its twenty year anniversary. A number of significant scientific institutions in a Latvian scale is located in Salaspils (in Soviet times it was built as a science centre) - Institute of Biology, Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, Institute of Physics, National Botanic Gardens, former Salaspils nuclear reactor and the Forest Research Institute "Silava". Over the last decade the infrastructure has been developed, as well as wide areas of private houses are developed. In 1996 a new Catholic church was built in Salaspils. Most of the town residents commute each day to Riga for work.

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The second biggest city in Lithuania and from 1920 – 1939 - a temporary capital. The Old Town, The Town Hall (16th century), St. Peter and Pavil cathedral - basilica (15th century), Thunder building (15th century), Laisves alley, Ciurlionis Art and Devil Museum.

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In a document from 1387, the village is named Minor Irva.  Until the mid-20th century, Mazirbe was the largest Livonian village on the coast of Kurzeme.  It was a fishing village and a centre for fishing.  The village had a church, school, pharmacy, forestry company, several stores, a post and telegraph office, train station, barber shop, bakery and photo workshop, as well as a brick kiln.  During the 1930s, a local fishing co-operative built a fish processing plant here.  The Livonian Association was established here in 1923, and the Livonian People's Centre was opened in 1939.  Oppoite the centre is the Stūrīši homestead (the home of the Taizel dynasty), where you can learn about everyday household objects and, by ordering it advance, taste local foods.  The first chairmen of the Livonian Association, Kārlis Stalte and Māritņš Lepste, lived in Mazirbe.  Cultural worker Kārlis Stalte (1870-1978) spent man years as the verger and organist of a church in Mazirbe.  Mārtiņš Lepste was a Livonian language teacher in the 1930s.  The former Maritime School building can be viewed from the outside.  Some 2,000 students attended the school between 1894 and 1914.  During Soviet years, the army had a base here.

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Ein einzigartiges Örtchen beiderseits des Flusses Minija, wo der Fluss eine „Hauptstraße” ist. Litauens Venedig.

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From the 6th century until the 8th century instead of the current Grobina the largest known Scandinavian trade and warrior colony in the Baltic States was located. Settlers from the inlands of Gotland and Sweden established their settlement at the hillock that was then located at the bank of the navigable Alande River. It is believed that the Cours Castle – Seeburg mentioned in the chronicles of the 9th century was located exactly here. After the loss of the order castle in the 13th century Grobina became the centre of the region. The most ancient construction of the city was formed around Lielā Street, as well as around Saules and Parka Streets.

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A small settlement on the banks of the River Daugava, between Aizkraukle and Jaunjelgava. Skriveru region is associated with the life and work of popular Latvian author A. Upitis. Near Skriveri lies the oldest arboretum in Latvia. Its establishment in 1891 was started by the owner of Skriveru manor Maximilian von Siverss. In the park there are about 400 plant species, varieties and forms. One of the finest views of the Daugava will open from the so-called Krauklu Mountains – steep upper part of the right riverbank, which is an ancient hill fort.

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Formed on the left side of river Emajõgi, in the valley of Doma Hill. The centre of The Old Town of Tartu is Town Hall Square with Town Hall and the fountain "The Kiss of the Students" (symbol of the city).

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This is an ancient Liv village, known as Mustanumm is the last village in the south-easterly direction, and during the mid-20th century, just a few Livonians lived there.  Of 307 inhabitants in 1935, only 15 were Livonians.  At the beginning of the 19th century, there were six farms and a lagoon here, but at the end of the century there were 63 farms.  The valley of the Baķupīte River and the sea had remnants of pilings that provided evidence about a Medieval port.  Legends say that the sea robber Trommel had a castle on the left bank of the river during the 14th century.  Sailing ships were once built in the region, as well. Two locations of cultural and historical importance in Melnsils are the ancient cult location that is the Baķi castle hill, and the castle hill of a sea pirate Trommel.

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 A long village stretching along both banks of the Lūžņa River.  In 1937, there were 36 houses and two boat piers here.  During the 1860s, ships were built here, but during the Soviet occupation, there were military bases there.  During the 1930s, the village was visited several times by the Finnish linguist Lauri Ketunen and Estonian student Oskar Lorits.  They were working on a Livonian dictionary.  Another resident of Lūžņa was the first Livonian artist, Jānis Belte (1893-1946).  The "Dēliņi" fisherman's homestead has been transferred to the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum and can be seen there.

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The largest town in South-Eastern Latvia is on the banks of the Daugava River, which is the border between Latvia and Belarus at this location.  The border runs down the middle of the river.  Piedruja has two parts – Piedruja and Aleksandrova, which are separated by a central street (the V 631 road).  Piedruja emerged from the Druja town that was on the left bank of the Daugava.  During the 17th century, the two parts were owned by the Stapekha dynasty of Lithuanian aristocrats.  It is worth strolling through the town, because the low-level wooden houses are reminiscent of buildings that are exhibited in open-air ethnographic museums.  Piedruja is neat and tidy, with two churches and the Daugava rock that are part of a local hiking trails.  Aleksandrova has a tourist accommodation, “Piedruja,” which offers special soirées in the Lettigalian, Russian and Belarusian style.  Please be aware that you need a temporary permit to enter the border zone.  The Border Guard facility is in Piedruja and at a place where there was a Daugava crossing point comparatively recently.

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Kuldiga is deservedly considered the most beautiful small town of medieval times in Latvia. Instead of it already in the 13th century the Bandava centre of the ancient Cours land was located. In 1242 construction of stone castle was begun at Venta Falls by the Livonian Order. Populated area formed beside the castle, which was the first to acquire the rights of a city in Kurzeme (in 1378). Significant was also its participation in the Hanza Union. From 1561 until 1795 Kuldīga was the capital city of Kurzeme Dukedom. Naturally, in the first half of the 17th century it experienced rapid economic growth, which was terminated by the beginning of the Northern War and plague epidemic. The pride of Kurzeme residents and the lack of larger industrial objects was the reason, why during the Soviet times larger masses of immigrants did not flood the city, therefore today Kuldiga is one of the most Latvian cities in Kurzeme. It is worth to visit Kuldiga and stay there for more than one day, because there is plenty to do here. Nature fans may observe the flying fish, but for researchers of cultural history a really vast field of work opens here.

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Third biggest island in Estonia. Full of beautiful grown junipers, little dolomite outcrop on the coast of the sea and fishermen villages on the coastline.

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Jaunciems has always been a small village, and only a few homes are populated today. Nearby there are leisure locations on the right bank of the Irbe River. Jaunciems is linked to Sīkrags by the former tracks of the narrow-gauge train. There is also a bridge for hikers and bicyclists.

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This is an urban construction monument that was created between the 17th and 19th century, and it is of national importance.  The street layout around Jelgavas and Rātūža streets forms closed blocks of buildings.  There are Lutheran, Catholic, Orthodox and Baptist churches in Jaunjelgava.  One of the most outstanding architectural monuments is City Hall, which was built in 1912 and features Art Nouveau forms.  None of the city’s five synagogues has survived.  The historical centre of Jaunjelgava features a promenade that runs along the banks of the Daugava River.  This is a popular place for strolls, leisure and swimming.

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The Lutheran Church of Krimulda is considered one of the oldest churches in Latvia. It was originally built in the 13th century, soon after the conquest of Kubesele and later rebuilt many times. Near the church a meditation labyrinth "Lily Flower" is set up. When Liv chief Kaupo fell during the battle at Viljandi in 1217, according to the legend, the ash was buried at the church. A small hill adjacent to Runtinupite (Runtins) is popularly known as a grave site of Kaupo, at its right bank is located ~7 m long, artificially dug Kubesele or Runtin cave. On the left bank of Runtinupite columns the Kubesele hill fort. Kubesele nature trail starts at the church. This trail leads to the Gauja River, where the Great (Runtina) stone lies. Here can be seen anchor pads installed by Gauja raftsmen. Krimulda medieval castle (4 km east of Krimulda Church) was built the second half of the 13th century in the place where the right bank of Gauja valley is split by deep ravine of Vikmeste. Castle (residence of Riga dome capitol - Riga's Archbishop Council) was an imposing building, whose big inner yard was included by 1.5 m thick defensive wall. In 1601, while retreating, Swedish military leader Heinrich Lieven blasted Krimulda castle. Now at the hill fort, grown with the forest a small castle ruins can be seen. Nearby is located air cableway and starts Krimulda mountain road. Located nearby Krimulda manor was first mentioned in writings in the 15th century. Present manor castle was built in the 19th century in neoclassical style (owner - First Lieven). During the twenties of the 20th century, the castle after its alienation became a property of the Latvian Red Cross, which established here children's sanatorium. Nowadays the castle houses rehabilitation hospital "Krimulda", but from the farm buildings, manor stables, barn, servant, manager houses and the so-called Swiss Cottage and Park have been preserved. Thematic tours are offered here. If we go down the Gauja by boat, then we will be able to take a close look at about 15 m high Velnalas cliffs. They can be well seen also from the opposite - left bank of Gauja (resting place is established). In the middle of the cliff about 19 m deep and 4.7 m high Krimulda Velnala cave is located. If we go from the Velnala cave cliffs along the lower part of the right bank of Gauja in Turaida direction, you will see Pikenes cliff, rich with sandstone outcrops. At its foot ~ 1 km long Pikenes beaver trail is established. The Little Devil's Cave (5 m long) is on the side of the trail, with the Gudribas (Wisdom) spring that springs out of the cave, as well as Aunapieres cave which is the same length as Devils cave. Small oxbow lakes also can be seen.

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Ģipka is a village that once was the site of the first maritime school in Kurzeme.  It was opened in 1869, just a few years after a similar school in Ainaži.  This was a Category 2 maritime school, which trained helmsmen for long-distance trips and captains for short-distance trips.  The school was moved to Mazirbe in 1894.  Before the maritime school, the building housed a different kind of school, and a second floor was added in 1867 specifically for the maritime school.  Today this is a residential building.  During 28 years, the school trained more than 200 professional sailors, and it was of great importance in facilitating ship building in shoreline Liv villages. (Source: Roja TIC)