At the closing stage of this year's trail run series, we will return to the largest and oldest National Park in Latvia! We will leap into the Gauja National Park for the third time already- this time, having got acquainted more closely with the nearby neighborhood of the rehabilitation center "Līgatne", we will return to the beautiful area of Līgatne town and its surroundings in the walled estuaries and sandstone outcrops in the tracks of Gauja and the picturesque curves of Līgatne river. And, of course, it is not for nothing that Ligatne is called a city of caves - they are everywhere here! In total, Ligatne has 333 cellar caves and 15 cave gullies.
Start/Finish:: Rehabilitation Center Līgatne, Līgatne region. Google Map HERE!
Competition Program:: HERE!
Detailed distance maps:: HERE!
Data files for LVM GEO for mobile app::
Ligatne is located in Vidzeme, on the left bank of the River Gauja, in the very center of Ligatne region. The name of Ligatne originated from the mouth of the river Līgatne, on which the city is located.
Typical landscape here is marked by a curved riverbank with sandstone outcrops and caves formed in rocks. It is a city with an abundance of colors of nature - green, lush forests and meadows, glittering golden, gray and reddish rocks and a bluish gray flow of the river.
Ligatne is located in the territory of the Gauja National Park, which is characterized by a diversity plant and animal species. In the park you can find old rocks, boulders, caves, grottoes and rapids, as well as exciting routes for walking.
Although we will not run the famous Līgatne nature trails, which is the most popular tourism object in the vicinity (this object is worthy of separate, tranquil and leisurely walk ), there will still be no lack of things to see and get to know! In addition to the sandstone outcrops, basements, rapids and the Gauja and Ligatne rivers, we will also get acquainted with the unique 19th century Ligatne paper mill and the village of wooden constructions, built as the most modern village of workers in Europe in its time, passing by "we will take a peek in" the Soviet secret bunker, which once hoped to hide the Soviet elite from nuclear war, and, of course, we will not leave the race without a sprint stage that will lead us to the the Ligatne skiing hill! No one has been really skiing here for a couple of years, but the slope is challenging nonetheless!
During the preparation and the development of the race we were greatly helped by Armands Beitiks and Artis Ločmelis. They have been indispensable guides in our exploration of the Ligatne area to create new exciting distance trails for the race. It should be noted that the locals themselves have also been of great assistance - we have met so many positive people, whose property we crossed in the search for better grounds for our trails. Such warm hospitality had not been seen for a long time! Here in Ligatne, even dogs are better than anywhere else!
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