Exploratory expeditions in Gulbene region in 2020

Although 2020 came with a change, in the summer it was possible to organize and go on expeditions again. This time we went to study Gulbene parks, as well as cultural and historical heritage in Ranka, Stāmeriena and Jaungulbene parishes.













The project “Cognitive Expeditions 2020” has been supported by the State Cultural Capital Fund.










We started by visiting and getting to know GULBENE PARK - the first expedition took place on June 19.
























Together with Ilze Maris Janelis , a researcher of Latvian manors and parks, architects, authors of the books “Old Country Parks” and “Latvian Manor Gardens and Parks”, we went to get to know Gulbene parks.

The length of the route is about 6 km.

On a hot summer afternoon, the participants of the expedition gathered at the Gulbene bus station to go to the nearby Emze park. Ilze Māra Janele's account was heard there about the importance of parks in the times of the manor, when walks through it contributed to deep reflections on the eternity of nature and the smallness of man.












Emze in the park.





















Emze pond.

Emze pond is designed in the form of the letter "M", as a baron's dedication to his wife. This is also the origin of the word Emze - derived from the German word combination Marija See, M-See (Lake Maria).










Looking at the old land plan of Vecgulbene manor, one could imagine how the walking paths used to be and where there could be benches for rest.










Emze pond.




























From Emze Park we went to Spārīte Park along the paths.










Lake Asari in Spārīte Park.










Holy Lake in Spārīte Park.










The park researcher expressed her observations and recommendations on the establishment and improvement of parks. We discussed how to make parks attractive - both by preserving the cultural and historical environment and adapting them to the needs of modern people.










After visiting the recently landscaped part of Spārīte Park, we went further - over the former Gulbene airfield to Vecgulbene castle park. During the reign of Baron Wolf, it was the most beautiful with ponds, hills and several groups of sculptures.




























Vecgulbene castle park.

At the end of the expedition, we rested at the Red Castle, where, sitting at the beautiful metal tables, we could watch the bends of the Cross in the Rudolf Park surrounded by trees.










The second expedition - on July 18 in RANKA PARISH.






















We went on this expedition under the guidance of Juris Paulovičs, the owner of the Ķelmēni farm.

The length of the route is about 6 km.

First we visited the beautiful Ranka manor, which is an architectural monument of national significance. It was formed in the middle of the 18th century. In 1923, the State Rank School of Housekeeping was founded in the manor house. In the second half of the 20th century, the castle suffered two fires, leaving only ruins. In 2003, the manor became privately owned, now a park has been established, a stone bridge has been built and renovation works are being carried out on the buildings of the manor territory.

At Ranka manor, we listened to the story of the manor's history, looked at the buildings restored with understanding and love, as well as walked around the large manor park.




























Ranka manor of Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Chapel.



















Next, we went smoothly through the alley in the direction of Gaujarēviļi, to the former Ranka cardboard factory.










Bridge over the Gauja.

Juris Paulovičs, the owner of the Ķelmēni farm, who once worked there, told us about the history of the Ranka cardboard factory.

Ranka cardboard factory was founded in 1897. The factory produces glued cardboard and packaging boxes. Around the factory was a village with a house, a club, a canteen, a library and a shop. However, the cardboard factory no longer exists since 2000.










In 2017, celebrating 120 years since the beginning of the factory, an information stand has been set up here, where it is possible to get acquainted with the history of the cardboard factory, as well as the paper and cardboard production process.


















There, in Gaujarēveļi, you can also see an old cardboard press made in 1896.










Gaujarēļi. Former club.










View of the farm "Ķelmēni".

On the bank of the Gauja there is an organic farm "Ķelmēni", which is recognizable by the bread baked there, which is popular among buyers. Bread has been baked in "Ķelmēni" since 1993. It is made according to ancient recipes of local housewives and is baked day and night. We got a lot of impressions and saw active people living and running in the countryside.



















On the farm "Ķelmēni".










On January 1, 1987, the Ranka cardboard factory club-complex (club, canteen, library, shop) built by the factory workers and specialists was opened.










At the moment of rest we visited the guest house "Mīlmaņi".










Rēvļi (Elizabeth) Primary School.

At the end of the expedition we went to the former Rēveļi Primary School, where Daiga Melberga, the head of the Ranka Parish Cultural and Heritage Center, welcomed us. Together we played a game of travel wisdom, testing our knowledge of Ranka Parish.



















Meeting place near the former Rēvļi school.

The third expedition - on August 14 in STĀMERIENA PARISH.












This time the tireless participants of the expedition went to explore the Kalniena side of Stāmeriena parish.

The longest expedition route is about 15 km.

Under the guidance of Sarmīte Dundure, the state inspector of the Vidzeme regional branch of the National Cultural Heritage Board, we first went to see the Jaunķempju castle mound, which was opened in 2019.



















Jaunķempju castle mound.

Jaunķempju castle mound is well preserved, about 15 meters high hill with a rampart, terraces and a 60-meter-long plateau.










Further along the dusty highway we went to Punakrogs, where Iveta Erica from the Gulbene Regional Library, an explorer of local history, introduced us to interesting facts about the history of this building.





























Not only distant travelers were served there, but the yard was dyed with yarn and the lead was cut. Later, the local agricultural association turned Punakrogu into a pot hall "Potrimps". In the 1930s, it became a guard house.










Going further towards Kalniena, at Lake Ludza we visited the ancient cemeteries of Skolu - a place where a unique relic of Latvian history has been found in archeological excavations - Stāmeriena villa. It is woven from blue wool, decorated with 24 fire crosses and bronze rings. Its origins date back to the late Iron Age (13th century).










School ancient burial ground.










Lake Ludza.

Time passed in Kalniena without noticing, where Inga Lapse, tourism information consultant of the Tourism Information Center “Stāmeriena”, introduced us to the history of Kalniena Castle and other manor buildings built in the classicist style.

Kalnamuiža is a cultural and historical heritage of national significance with 19th century buildings, which have partially survived to the present day - manor house, conservatory, Vešušis, servant's house, ranger's house, carriage, pub, pharmacy house, park with ponds, terraces and small architectural forms, barn and other farm buildings. Kalnamuiža has always been a border between different administrative territories, and there has always been a hill that distinguishes its inhabitants from the rest. The owner of Kalnamuiža, Gaston von Wolf, also owned Jaunkalnamuiža, which is located 5 km from the center of Kalniena - it was burnt down in 1905, but was later partially restored, and is now inhabited again.










Former store building.











On the left side there is a “wooden workshop” or carpentry - part of the building has survived from the Kalnamuiža pub, which was significantly larger during the manor.










Entrance to the manor house with an arch.










Kalnamuiža. Cancer.










Kalnemoise or Kalniena manor house.










Kalnamuiža. Conservatory.










Before boiling the rest of the road, we rested in the outdoor reading room of Kalniena Library in Stāmeriena Parish.

Then we went to Jaunkalnamuiža, on the way we came to see the renovated Kalniena station, as well as stopped at the birthplace of the poet Vija Poļaka-Rikveile "Verdenas".










Kalniena station.











As the poetess Vija Poļaka-Rikveile wrote in her life story, her father had fought in the First World War, returning to Latvia, and also fought in freedom fights. This was evidenced by the awards: the Order for the Fight at Verden in France, the Medal of Freedom Fighter in Latvia. After 1920, as a participant in the freedom struggle, he received land for a new farm next to his father's land in Kalniena.





















The fourth expedition - on September 19 in JAUNGULBENE PARISH.






















In the mood of a golden autumn, we went on the last expedition of the season together with local researcher and stone explorer Ivars Logins. We drove to Jaungulbene parish, where the participants of the expedition looked at and explored the Liedes mountains - this time completely different than usual.

The length of the route is about 8 km.

Liedes kalns is a special place - a castle mound, a settlement and a sanctuary. As Ernests Brastiņš, a researcher of castle mounds, wrote: “These mountains are a strange wonder of nature: they are located in a flat area, in a straight line in the Liedē valley, like loaves of bread with small gaps. From the bridge, where the Jaungulbene highway crosses the Liede River, these are 9 pieces in winter. to the east. From the bridge, counting in this direction, the second hill is called "Castle Mound", and the third is called "St. Mary's Hill". The two mountains are the same in appearance and oblong. ' (Source: latvijas-pilskalni.lv)

There are also various stories and legends about these mountains, such as the fact that in Swedish times they were made of hats, or the story of the golden calf.
































































We turned to the ancient history, looking at the stones found in the mountains - we were educated by stone explorer Ivars Logins and like-minded people. Looking at the stones, we wondered why they were there, what did they ever mean or point to? We tried to imagine, to conjure a picture, how it could have been here in ancient times, when people's homes were located here.

After spending a lot of time in the mountains of Liede, we went on. Our road led through the park of Jaungulbene Castle, stopping at a significant stone on the side of the trail.










Stone in the park of Jaungulbene castle.










Jaungulbene castle park. Devil's Gate.










On the way to Obrava half manor.



















Obrava half-manor.

In Obrava we were greeted by the active and enterprising landlord Ilva Šimone-Žvīgure. We heard stories about the history of Obrava half-manor. It was built in the 19th century. at the end as one of the ten half-manors of Baron Otto von Tranze-Rosenek.

We found out that the half-manor building complex houses the birthplace of the sculptor Indulis Rankas "Salasakas".

The area is currently being cleaned up. The activities of the farm are agriculture and rural tourism.

After a moment of rest in the Obrava half-manor, we went to Lake Ušura, where the 20th century. Archaeological excavations led by Jānis Apals took place in the 1960s, opening the lake's residence in Līņsaliņi. The excavations in Lake Ušura were stopped because the archaeologist started exploring the Āraiši lake castle, which was better preserved.

Baron Tranze-Rozeneks, on the other hand, went to Lake Usura to drink his morning coffee at his Coffee House. The pedestrian bridge across the lake was supposed to be the shallowest place, where there were even piles.











Lake Ušura - one of the deepest lakes in Latvia. It has an elongated shape and a depth of 40 m in the southern part. The average depth is 6.8 m











At Lake Ušura.

At the end of the expedition, we listened to the stories of Gulbītis' buildings, as well as looked at Rija Hill.










Gulbītis primary school.

The school on the side of the road - originally part of a building - was built in 1885 for the needs of the pub - has been used for apartments since 1905. In 1928, the reconstruction of the school was started. The extension was started later, in 1931, when the 4-class premises were improved. There are also 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, 1 three-room and 2 two-room apartments for teachers.











Swan. Former poor house, later a boarding school, now municipal apartments.










Jaungulbene Folk House.

Jaungulbene Folk House is located in the former house of the Singing Society (built in 1878). The baron has dedicated timber to its construction.










Swan. Auxiliary building for the horse stable, the building is currently not in use.










Jaungulbene. Mount Riyadh.

There are 15 environmental objects on the ancient Rija Hill, which reflect the work ethic of Latvians. The “Hill of Honor” for the work ethic of Latvians was opened during the County Festival in Jaungulbene in the summer of 2016.



















Jaungulbene. The ruins of the ancient Riga on Mount Riya.