Latgale (Latgale) is the spiritual center of the Latvian Catholics. A lot of crucifixes, standing along the roads, indicate a deep devotion to the faith of the inhabitants of these places.

Latgale (Latgale) got its name on behalf of Latgalians – a Baltic tribe, settled in this historical area in the II-III centuries. Latgale is a land of unique nature, of confusing history and mixed population: Russians, Poles, Ukrainians and Belarusians. Latgale – the edge of blue lakes, a paradise for anglers! Here between Aglona, ​​Kraslava and Ezernieki there are several hundred large and small lakes.

25 km from Rezekne, surrounded by hills, is the second largest lake in Latvia, Razna, 45 km from Rezekne – the most beautiful Lake Ezhezers, known for its large number of bays and islets. The valley of the river Daugava, located between Kraslava and Daugavpils, with its steep banks (up to 40 m in height) and the Daugavas Loki nature park, where you can find rare plant species in abundance, is very picturesque.

Dinaburgas cietoksnis

Dinaburgas cietoksnis

Dinaburgas cietoksnisDinaburgas cietoksnis in Daugavpils is considered to be one of the main symbols of the city. This is a gem, and the most important cultural and historic monument of the second largest city in Latvia, Daugavpils. It is the only preserved in the Baltic States without significant changes in the first half of the 19th century fortress is vivid evidence of the military history of Imperial Russia. Ensemble the fortress forms the main Fortress (Citadel) and shaft, 8 bastions (pentagonal, made up of strengthening on the corners of the fortress), ravelins (three corners is consolidation ahead of the shaft between the bastions), external protective shaft, which is the road on the right bank of the Daugava River, and some bridge building on the left bank of the river. The territory of the fortress was oval in shape and divided into quarters. At their Center is a square parade ground. Around the square are areas of administrative and residential buildings. The facades of the buildings in the style of the Russian Empire style.

Despite all her seeming youthfulness, the history of the fortress is not so simple. For many centuries the territory of modern Latvia was an arena of wars between the Germans, Swedes, poles and Russians for supremacy in the Baltic States. In the middle of the 13th century, German Crusaders (Livonian brothers of the sword) to keep in check the local population of Latgalian and confront the Princes decided to create strongholds. One of these items was to become Dinaburg Castle, named after the river — Dina (in ancient times it was the path from the Varangians to the Greeks). The place chosen Knights on the banks of the Daugava River, where there is now a town Naujene that upstream of the river Daugava from Daugavpils at 19 km today. There were trade routes from Pskov and Novgorod to Polotsk and Vilna in Riga and the Baltic.

During the Livonian war, August 11, 1577, the troops of Ivan the terrible took Castle Dinaburg, but soon were forced to return it back to the poles. The Russians do not have to continue to fight for the old, dilapidated, Castle, and 19 kilometers downstream of the Daugava River, at the mouth of the river Šunica, began the construction of a new fortress called trench of Ivan the terrible. Russia lost in the war with Poland, and under a contract signed in January 1582, the entire territory of Latvia were ceded to Poland. The Poles in place of the trench of Ivan the terrible began building more powerful fortress. She was surrounded by earthen ramparts, which were bastions. During the Polish-Swedish war, in 1625 and 1635, the town and the Castle were badly damaged by Swedish troops. After the war, the fortress was restored. Gradually developing, built on a new site Dinaburg was compete in trade matters with other cities. But ongoing hostilities prevented further development of the city. In 1655, the Swedes again took Dinaburgskuû Castle from the weakening of Poland, they prevented a Russian win over Latvia. In a bit of the time indicated: books … thethe strugah past the city pass cannot be, because with the city and opposite the town on the banks of the River šancy, and corroboration of the River from the shore-half piŝalej of were shooting constantly. “

For this reason, Russia started a war with Sweden, and July 30, 1656 year the King Alexei Mikhailovich with his army, composed of Tatars, Chuvashes and noble Cavalry, after three violent assaults broke the Swedes of the Dinaburg fortress. In the year 1667, in Andrusove, a peace treaty was signed between Russia and Sweden, which Russia renounced all conquests in Latgale, and the city was returned to Poland. In February 1700 year Northern War began. The fortress occupied by Saxon troops, allies of Russia. In the year 1710 in Latgale region suffered from the plague. Railway garrison is almost completely extinct, the Fort was disarmed, the guns were removed in Vilna. In 1772, the first partition of Poland, Latgale was annexed by the Russian Empire. In 1810-m have a future construction and plan of the fortress. On the construction of powerful design was employed 15000 people.

In 1812, after bloody fighting, the French army occupied the unfinished structures at 5 months. Then construction continued, and in 1833-m Emperor Nicholas II consecrated the fortress. The year of birth is considered to be the year 1878, when construction ended. Unfortunately, quickly losing its military importance, the dinaburg fortress in 1897, was turned into a warehouse. In the 1920-1940 ‘s there were shelves of the Latvian army, during the second world war, the area was transformed by the Nazis into a huge concentration camp Stalag 340, and from 1948 to 1994 year here was Daugavpils higher military aviation engineering school, which drafted the engineering stuff for air force and air defense Aviation of the USSR. The territory of the fortress was closed, so many locals knew her only for weddings from Daugavpils beauties with the military. From 1998 on, the fortress was passed into the possession of the State real property Agency. Now in restoration work is underway and the fortress gradually it is being revived now for military purposes: in the building of Arsenal host Center Mark Rothko exhibition of original works and artists ‘ residencies.

Aglonas katoļu bazilika

Aglonas bazilika

Aglonas katoļu bazilikaTo the East of Latvia in the Prejl′skom area is the small town of Aglona. It is located in a very beautiful area, between two scenic lakes. The town is the subject of numerous legends. So locals believe that it is in this town in the 13th century, was killed and buried the famous Lithuanian King Mindaugas (Lithuanians have different opinion). The town is inhabited by mostly latgal′cami is a very friendly and open people with their decent respect for culture and traditions.

In the 15th century from Lithuania in Aglona was transported the icon of the Virgin Mary. Prior to that, she was in the town of Trakai, the former ancient capital of Lithuania. In Lithuania this Icon came from Byzantium, as a gift from one of the Byzantine emperors of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas the great. I.e., Aglona Icon of the mother of God of Ostraya Brama like Vilnius and Polish Mary the mother of God was originally Orthodox. And in our time honoured equally as icon of Aglona Catholic or Orthodox and old believers. The icon was placed in the local wooden church, which was almost three centuries.

In the sixteenth century on a hill not far from the church there was a phenomenon of the mother of God of a local resident. Mother of God predicted the prosperity of this place and that there will be very many people. Nowadays the place come as pilgrims, arriving on 15 August, and ordinary residents of Aglona. They pray at the site of the statue of Mary, asking him to bless them on good deeds.

In the second half of the eighteenth century in Eastern Latvia (Latgale) began the period known as the period of “Latgale Baroque”. Local nobles had donated for the construction of beautiful large churches, with the condition that they are “good European”. So at this time in Daugavpils was the Church of St. Peter, which is not a lot not a little like a miniature of the famous Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican. In Kraslava was built the Church of St. Louis, a miniature main church of the Jesuit church of the Gesù in Rome, del. At the same time in 1780 was built and a new majestic stone Catholic Church in aglona.

Aglonas bazilika simply amazes with the beauty. Against the backdrop of the beautiful rural landscape is dazzling white two-Tower Church. Inside the temple is decorated in a very nice style, inherent in the Baroque period. It is divided into three parts, and all three parts are available to the faithful. At the top of the temple is the our Lady of Aglona, to which every believer can come at any time. Near an icon is, if I may say so, Foyer, where exhibits here are already not one year photo exhibition “Churches of Latgale”. In this exhibition depicts the Catholic churches, as well as Orthodox churches, and the Lutheran Church worship houses staroverčeskie.

On the first floor is the main temple, which hosts daily masses, and naturally and festal divine services. It also has many other holy sites for Roman Catholics, so for example there is our Lady of the Rosary. Also recently in the main temple on the ground floor there is 24-hour Eucharistic adoration. Eucharistic adoration is constant worship of the Savior. The Savior in this case in the Catholic tradition symbolizes the cachet of St. Eucharist encased in a beautiful frame.

In the lower floor, there are burial crypt. So there lies one of the most prominent Catholic clergy of Latvia is the first Latvian Cardinal Julian Vajvod, as well as two prominent Catholic priest Latgale-Bolesław Sloskans and Âzep Rancans.

Before entering the Basilica erected a canopy and balcony, where celebratory Worship 13-15 August.

The Basilica is surrounded by a Sacred area, in which Processions on August 14, as well as believers are pilgrims from all over Latvia and many countries of the world coming for the holidays 13-15 August. In the 90-ies of the last century, Sacred Space has been renovated and decorated. In its decoration the bother now deceased sculptor Igor Vasiliev Riga, as well as sculptors and art restorers from Armenia.

The source is located near the Basilica of the holy water. This source was studied in the nineteenth century scientists from St. Petersburg, and found the water curative. So that it is useful even for non-Catholics.

Interestingly, the mother of God really kept and keeps this Basilica and this region throughout the centuries-old history. So the Basilica in aglona is not affected in any of the numerous wars, passing through the region. And during the great patriotic war this temple was saved just miraculously. July 29, 1944 year it happened. At this time, the Germans had already escaped from Latgale. And, escaping, destroying all in its path. Among other things, they decided to blow up the Church of Aglona. So they sent to the blast, which the German scrupulousness and professionalism had laid explosives. They laid the explosives, including the top floor at the altar next to the icon of the mother of God. And there was something unexplainable. Hitler’s experts dealing with explosives suddenly smoril dream and they fell asleep right in the Church, of course without giving effect to the explosives. And they slept so soundly that awakened them only our advanced parts, taking them prisoner, the Catholic Church saved the Church. Catholics believe that the Nazis brought the dream itself, the mother of God, zaŝitivšaâ ‘s shrine. Aglona Catholic Church survived in Latvia and in the hruŝëvskie days, when equally criticised and Orthodox churches, and the Catholic kostëlam.

In 1980, in honor of the 200 anniversary of the construction of the Church and in requital of respect for everything that makes his arrival, Pope John-Paul II gave the Church the title of Basilica.

Since August 1991, in a festive tradition in aglona entered penitential Procession around the Basilica, where the faithful remember 15 stops on the procession with the Saviour and read the prayer of the Rosary (our father, Catholic version O Theotokos, plus access to the Virgin Mary (Blessed Virgin, pray for us now and at the hour of our death) and pray on issues of relevance for the Republic and the world. the participants of the go with zažžënnymi candlesis it in the evening and looks very nice.

In September 1993, during his visit to Latvia, visited Aglona and the late Pope John Paul the second, at the end of a mass there. After the Basilica in aglona became a place of pilgrimage of international importance, which is in our time.