Vidzeme will be remembered for you by its small towns, romantic parks, relief landscapes, sandy cliffs and beautiful rivers.
The most beautiful views of Vidzeme are found in the Gauja National Park, especially in the vicinity of Ligatne. The nature trail Līgatne passes through a zoo in the open air.
The main attractions of Vidzeme are powerful medieval castles. The legacy of the 19th century is, first and foremost, the numerous estates of the Baltic barons.
An unusual impression is left also by the secret bunker, which was built in Soviet times in the event of a nuclear war in the cellars of the Ligatne Rehabilitation Center.
In the 17th century, a landlord’s estate began to be formed on the territory of Sigulda Castle. Until now, there are several buildings that were built in the 18th and 19th centuries in the days of the von der Borchov and Kropotkin owners-the Summer Castle, the New Castle, the White Castle, the burial house, the manor house, the barn, the laundry, the cellars for storing root vegetables and vegetables.
The new palace (the Kropotkin Palace) in Sigulda was built by Princess Olga Kropotkina, born to Countess von der Borch, in 1878 – 1882 at the place of the Order Castle. The Kropotkin Palace was built in the style of the Tude Neo-Gothic from large, processed, boulders. Managed the work of the master bricklayer Jānis Mengelis.
Visiting the Kropotkins, who spent the summer months in this palace, there were many high-ranking guests from the capital.
During the First World War the building was destroyed.
In 1921 the restored Kropotkin Palace was taken over by the state. In 1923, the Society of Journalists was located in the palace. In 1930 in the windows of the palace were stained glass M. Strunka “Four Seasons”. K. Skuinya painted paintings in the building.
In 1936-1937 in the palace – the House of Creativity or the Palace of the Press – perestroika was carried out. According to the project of architect A. Birkans, the height of the tower was increased. The authors of the interior are well-known Latvian artists of Latvia: Vilis Vasarinsh, Niklavs Strunke, Peteris Ozolins, Karlis Suniņš.
During the Second World War the Kropotkin Palace was used for the needs of the Nord headquarters of the German army. After the war, the Council of Ministers of the USSR placed a rest house for officials of the highest rank in the palace.
In 1953, the palace housed the cardiological and climatic sanatorium “Sigulda”.
After the restoration of the independence of Latvia in 1991, the Kropotkin Palace left the state and since 2003 there is the Sigulda Duma, a restaurant here.
Next to the New Castle is the so-called Yellow House (it’s the Summer Castle). It was built in the style of classicism at the turn of the XVIII-XIX centuries. The wooden longitudinal building was erected under the guidance of a master from the city of Cesis, called the last larva of Vidzeme, Marcis Sarums. Here Kropotkin lived until the completion of the construction of the New Palace. Here is a small church where services for the owners of the estate were conducted.
Līgatne – the natural trails of the Gauja National Park were established in 1975 to familiarize visitors with nature, breeds of wild mammals living in Latvia, the diversity of nature and the need for protection.
On the banks of the Gauja River, in a forest-rich ravine, for more than 5 km, there are trails where animals and birds characteristic of the Latvian fauna can be observed. The visit takes an average of 2-2.5 hours.
Found on the nature trails in Līgatne, wild animals are brought from various places in Latvia. They were wounded or tamed cubs of animals that can not survive without human care and constantly find food. Roaches of the Ligatne nature trails can be observed roe deer, wild boars, bears, foxes, wolves, elks, lynxes, owls, owls and bison.
Visiting the nature trails in Līgatne, visitors are advised to wear comfortable, suitable for hiking clothes and shoes.
Caves in Ligatne
In Ligatne and its environs there is a significant amount of outcrops of sandstone, which we call rocks and rocks. Perhaps, here is the largest concentration of sandstone in Latvia, which residents of Ligatne and its environs, for many years used for domestic and industrial purposes, creating systems of caves and cellars.
Several rocks – Lustusis, Anfabrica rocks and Springs are protected natural objects of national importance. And in Ligatne and its environs there are several dozens of rocks and rocks, and the value of all these pearls of nature is no less significant, because how not to mention the rocks of Gudu, the rocks of Kuku, the Zvarte breed and others.
Very interesting discoveries are associated with caves and cellars in the rocks. And immediately it is worth recalling that this is not a scourge of Soviet times, the tradition of using the advantages given by nature in Ligatne has a more ancient history.
Here is what Aivar Balodis, a researcher of Ligatne’s history, writes about this:
“Every respected person thinks that with cellars Ligatne is more than clear, here we are talking about cellars carved in sandstone rocks.The pink, golden and gray sandstone rocks were formed 350-370 million years ago.They were formed by the descent of particles of sand, silty and clayey rocks that settled, compacted and cemented, formed today visible sandstone and dolomite or sedimentary rocks. ”
Visiting caves and cellars Ligatne is accessible to tourists only with the help of a guide!
Especially secret object of Soviet times, code-named “Boarding house”.
On the territory of the Līgatne rehabilitation center at a depth of 9 m under the ground there is a well-equipped bunker with an area of 2000 m2, the brand of secrecy from which was removed only in 2003. The bunker was built in the 80s of the last century for the needs of the political and state elite in the event of the country’s nuclear war. The secret shelter of the first secretaries of the Soviet Communist Party, the bunker was one and strategically important places in Soviet Latvia in the event of a nuclear war. The most powerful autonomous economic structure with all the necessary and the newest equipment of that time. Up to now, it has been possible to preserve all authentic underground equipment!