After the party at Šlokenbeka manor, at the the sixth race "Stirnu buks 2017" goes to explore the oldest and the biggest national park in Latvia - Gauja National Park. We have been there already last season – in Sigulda, but this time we will enjoy a different place - the beautiful nature, wooded valleys of Gauja river and sandstone outcrops in Līgatne. No wonder that Līgatne is being called the town of caves – those here are everywhere! Overall there are 333 cellar caves and 15 cave passages.
Start/finish: Līgatne district Cultural and tourism center, Līgatne district. GoogleMap here!
Race schedule: HERE!
Detailed distance maps: bit.ly/GaujasSenlejasBuks
GPX files of distances available here (click on "Save link as"): “Vāvere – GPX”, “Zaķis – GPX”, “Stirnu buks – GPX”, “Lūsis – GPX”.
Līgatne is located in Vidzeme region, at the left bank of Gauja river and in the very centre of Līgatne district. Here you can see winding banks of Gauja with sandstone outcrops and caves. Līgatne is a town rich in colour – deep green forests, golden, gray and reddish cliffs and bluish water flowing in the river nearby.
Līgatne is situated at the territory of Gauja National Park, which has a large variety of plants and animals. In the park you can see long-standing rocks, cliffs, caves, grottos and rapids, as well as exciting walking routes.
Although we won’t run through the most recognizable tourism object in Līgatne – Līgatnes dabas takas (Līgatne nature trails), which is an object for a separate and unhurried walk – there are plenty of other things worth seeing! Besides sandstone outcrops, cave cellars, forests and glens of rivers Gauja and Līgatne, we will get to know the unique wooden building village, which was built in the 19th century for the workers of the local paper-mill and in those times was the most modern worker’s village in Europe. We will also run past the secret bunker of the Soviet Union, which was ment to hide the Soviet elite in case of a nuclear war. But the sprint section will take the runners up the Līgatne skiing hill – although no one is skiing here for a few years now, the hill still is challenging!
In getting tho know the forests of Līgatne and its neighbourhood, Stirnu Buks had a great help from Armands Beitiks and Artis Ločmelis. Also the locals are very cooperative – we haven’t seen that much of positive people in a long time: they didn’t mind that we ran through their properties while searching the perfect tracks! Even the dogs here are more friendly than elsewhere!
These caves are artificially made starting from 18th century till 1973, when Gauja National park was founded and cave digging was forbidden. Caves in Līgatne are found in various places and hills, many of them are not being used. There is a stable temperature in caves throughout the year, it is a very good place for vegetable, fruit and other food product storage. In the times of tsar there paper was stored as well. These caves are very fragile, therefore one must take a good care of this small and unique world.
In the end of 19th century and in the beginning of 20th century, heads of the paper-mill did everything to provide good living conditions for their workers. Then the social level of local’s wellbeing was one of the highest in Europe: they got separate flats with wood heating, they didn’t have to pay for the firewood, water and electricity, there was a separate school, ambulance, maternity home and cultural center built in 1897. Worker’s houses are inhabited also today, besides these are the oldest wooden row houses in Latvia.
Do you want to spend a night here? Rīgas kalna apartamenti I Līgatnes papīrfabrikas vēsturiskā ciemata apartamenti
In the neighbourhood of Līgatne you can see several sandstone outcrops, which have been formed in the banks of Gauja and Līgatne rivers. These are cliffs and rocks rich in color, with an unusual form. Here you can see the most sandstone outcrops in Latvia.
Lustūzis, also called Alu iezis (Alu rock), is a very scenic sandstone outcrop at the right bank of Līgatne river and at the very centre of Līgatne town. At the other side of the bank there is also a viewing platform where you can enjoy the beautiful view. In this outcrop there are 28 man-made cellars, where vegetables and fruits are stored. At the top of Lustūzis you can get by wooden ladder – from there a wonderful view opens up to Līgatne and the paper-mill.
At Soviet times this secret object was known by a cover name – „Pension”. The 2000m2 large bunker is hidden 9m below ground in the territory of rehabilitation centre „Līgatne” and the seal of secrecy was taken away only in 2003. It was constructed at the 1980ties for needs of the political elite to administrate the country in case of a nuclear war.
Līgatne ferry is the only crossing in the Baltics driven by the strength of river currents, which allows experiencing a leisurely trip to the opposite bank of the Gauja river. Līgatne ferry will take you across the Gauja with a platform of an unusual design, which consists of two parallel steel boats and a board connecting them. The wide ferry platform is moved by the force of the stream of this picturesque river. For the first time in history documents such ferry was mentioned in 1350, when the archbishop Fromhold of Rīga together with other properties leased also the Vendu ferry over the Gauja near Cēsis.
This reddish sandstone outcrop is located at the left bank of Līgatne river, at the slope of hill Rīgaskalns. At the foot of the cliff dark cave cellars come into sight, but for a long time they haven’t been used for what they were meant for – for storing vegetables and other goods. By the cliff there is the former Līgatne mill lock; recently across the lock a new and modern fishpass was built – a place where to watch the migration of salmon and other fish of salmon species.
Steep wooden stairs bring you to the top of the cliff, from where a wide view to the nearest area can be enjoyed.
The beginning of this 31km long river is found in Mežole highland. It is the most rapid tributary of river Gauja and beyond the highway Rīga – Veclaicene it makes a steep valley with 45 – 60m high banks complemented with many sandstone outcrops. The power of current and the clean water was one of preconditions why the paper manufactory was built in 1815, which was the basis of the later development of the Līgatne paper-mill.
The mill is founded in 1815 and since then is has been working without lasting interruption. The times of prosperity were by the end of the 19th century. Together with the mill also the village grew and developed.
Tours: Guests of Līgatne are offered to get to know the history of Līgatne as well as have a look at the remarkable places at the town centre and also to discover facts about local’s historical lifestyle during a tour in the old paper-mill village.
Organisers: Līgatne torism centre, Facebook profile.
During about 4km long walking trail you can try to see some of Latvia’s characteristic animal species. In wide pasture-grounds, which are made as close to natural conditions as possible, live moose, deer, roes, wild boars, bears, foxes, raccoons, bobcats, rabbits, hedgehogs, squirrels and various kinds of owls. In the middle of the trail you can climb on a 24 high view tower. From there you can have a look to Gauja National park, Gūdu cliffs and river Gauja, but during a clear weather the Turaida castle comes into the sight.
Here you can try wines, which are made from berries, fruits, flowers and herbs growing in the territory of the Gauja National park. There are dry, semi-sweet and sweet wines, which are naturally fermented and stored for about a year. In small amounts we make also jams, for example, cloudberry, wild strawberry and raspberry jams. Most unusual is pine cone jam, made from the new cones.
In this park you can find out about wood craftsman profession, green lifestyle and the history of Līgatne neighborhood, as well to feel inspired by interesting wooden sculptures and objects. There is a Woodcrafts museum in the territory of the park and it is arranged as an old workshop and here you can get to know how household things and other wooden goods were made. The idea of park is based on the green thinking – here nature materials are used in many forms and there is a special place for an untouched and wild nature.
Here you can meet the only birch-bark weavers in Latvia, which are masters of this folk craft. There is an unique collection of birch-bark items as well – it is made from more than 100 years old birch-bark goods. Masters will explain and show, how to make more than 50 goods, which you can use in household and, if you wish, you can make a souvenir by yourself.
"Ikneši", Līgatne municipality, Līgatne district
Phone: +371 26310401