Nature objects

Nature objects

Here is collected nature objects: lakes, trees, big stones and one of the famous.

Devil’s Lake (Velnezers)

A transparent lake, which is said to have no bottom, is one of the lakes of Latgale (“the land of blue lakes”) that is surrounded by the largest number of legends. Velnezers (also called Certoks, Cortoks, Certaks) is located 12 km away from Aglona, in Aglona municipality, Skeltova civil parish, in the Graveri pine forest delve. Velnezers, being located in the middle of a bilberry forest, is one of the most transparent lakes in Latvia, it attracts people with a peculiar blue-green colour of its waters, its transparency and the strange legends that have surrounded it since ancient times. The depth of Velnezers, which is located in a funnel-shaped delve, reaches 17 meters, and the transparency of its waters in some areas is up to12 metres.

No river or spring flows in or out of this lake. Neither bulrushes nor water lilies grow there. Birds and wild animals avoid Velnezers, too. People say that there are plenty of snakes in the lake, and the fish is rarely caught, except fat perches. According to one of the versions, Velnezers resulted from the fall of some space object.
Adress: Skeltovas parish, Aglonas district;
Phone: +371 29118597; +371 65322100
GPS: 56.08394, 27.11660

The Holy Spring

A sulfur spring with healing qualities was discovered in the monastery garden in the 19th century. The white fathers built a small hospital where one could take healing baths. The spring was named after St. Anthony. At the close of the century the spring lost its healing qualities, but the tradition of taking some water from Aglona during pilgrimage lives on. Nowadays the water in the spring is clean and tasty, and the spring is still popular among pilgrims. The name “Holy Spring” is, however, conventional and is not connected with religious cult.
Adress:Cirisu Street 8, Aglona, Aglonas district ;
Phone: +371 653 81109, +371 29188740,
GPS: 56.1271, 27.0166

“Cirisu Lake” Nature Park – NATURA 2000 Territory

Particular parts of the nature park’s territory are under state protection since 1931. The best part of the nature park is occupied by Cirisu Lake(6.3 km?) and Ruskulu Lake(0.12 km?) difficult of access, the waters of these lakes is rich in aquatic plants. The average depth of Cirisu Lake is 5 m, and the deepest spot is 10.5 m. The lake has 8 islands. The largest island is Upursala (the SacrificeIsland) or Kalna sala (16 ha) which has a peculiar shape reminiscent of sickle moon. It elevates 20 m above lake level. The rest of the lake’s islands – Osu or Jokstu, Liepu, Alksnu, Maza Alksnu, Laivinu, Akmenu and Jauna islands – also have the nature reserve status. In 2004 regulations “On Individual Protection and Use of the Nature Park “CirisuLake”” were approved (Latvia Cabinet of Ministers’ Regulations No. 94). There are certain restrictions on use of the territory, and only environment friendly tourism can be developed there.

A great diversity of plant species can be found on the small land territory of the park – more than 600 flowering plants and fern species; there are 1500 species altogether in Latvia. One can come across more than 10 endangered and protected plant species.
The local fauna is notable for its great diversity. A number of specially protected animal species were found in the park. The circumstances are favorable for birds’ migration and nesting. There are more than 10 fish species in CirisuLake. Ruskuli Greater stone and Latgalian castle mound – Upurkalns are located in Upursala, on the territory of the nature park.

Upursala has been an ancient cult place of major importance since the 1st millennium AD. One of the legends says that girls (later – livestock) were sacrificed on Upursala. Priests were watching the direction of smoke: if it rose in the direction of the Voguli village, the sacrifice was accepted; if it turns in the direction of Aglona – the sacrifice was rejected.
Adress: Aglona, Aglonas parish, Aglonas district;
Phone: +371 29118597; +371 65322100

Fintmuiza Oak

Secular trees are an important part of nature’s beauty and Latvian landscape. Secular trees are not only marvelous tourist objects, but also real “natural laboratories”: birds hatch their eggs in the hollows of the trees, and insects rustle there. The secular oak of Fintmuiza symbolizes the destiny and the endurance of the Latvian nation. The oak’s approximate age is 220 years. Any tree which reaches a certain circumference is considered a secular tree. For example, the an oak or a willow must be at least 5 meters (on the level of a man’s chest) large for them to be considered secular trees; for birches, firs, pine trees, black alders it is 3 meters; for lindens, elms, mountain elms and ash trees –4 meters.

There are two secular oak trees on the territory of Fintmuiza manor park. The larger of the two oaks is more than 5 meters circumference.
Adress: Fintmuiza, Aglonas parish, Aglonas district ;
Phone: +371 29118597; +371 65322100
GPS: 56.1237, 26.9216

The Great Kameneca Stone

It is an archaeological monument. The height of the stone is 1.5 m, its width –2.7 m, the length –3.2 m, and its circumference on the ground level is 15 m. The recorded legends attest that there was a chapel on it; the chapel seated several tens of people. Other legends relate that a lightning had struck the stone into two parts and that later peasants took the spall of one part of the stone and used it as foundation for buildings and for the construction of a neighboring mill. The words “Kameneca” was derived from a Polish word “Kamieniec”. This stone has given the name to the manor house and the village, which was renamed Jaunaglona when in 1927 nuns arrived and founded a monastery there.

Adress: Jaunaglona, Aglonas parish, Aglonas district ;
Phone: +371 29118597; +371 65322100
GPS: 56.1631, 27.0060

Madelanu Castle Mound

Madelanu Castle Mound is considered to be one of the most beautiful castle mounds in Latvia. Its relative height is 20 m. The plateau and the southern slope of the castle mound were worked not so long ago, that is why no fortification is seen in this part of the castle mound anymore. Two terraces can still be seen only on the northern slope. It is supposed that terraces once encircled the whole castle mound. The first inhabitants settled here 3000 years ago. Hearths, pottery, stone and bone tools, bone embellishments, amulets made from the teeth of animals were found from those times. A rare place in Latvia is as rich in archaeological finds as Madelanu Castle Mound is.

The flourishing period of the settlement was in 12th – 13th century when Latgalian feudal lords with their subordinates lived there. First constructions were built near fortifications. Later when the number of inhabitants increased the middle of the castle mound was also built up.

According to the chronicler J. Riviuss, Mindaugas (the King of Lithuania) and his sons Ruklis and Rupeikis were killed in Aglona in 1236 and buried there. Midaugs was married to Marta, the daughter of Madelanu Castle’s head.
Adress: Madelani, Aglonas parish, Aglonas district ;
Phone: +371 29118597; +371 65322100; +371 26463455
GPS: 56.1222, 27.0430

Ruskuli Greater Stone

(Earlier called Devil’s Kiln)
It is an archaeological monument. The stone’s circumference on the ground level is 5.80 m, its length –3.80 m, the width –2.20 m, and the height –2.10 m. 5 identical small cone-shaped hollows are carved in the highest spot of the stone; the diameter of the hollows is 5 cm, and their depth is 2.5 m. Stones having such grooves are regarded as ancient sacrifice places – cult stones. It is considered that distributive border of such hollow stones is in the middle part of Latvia. Ruskuli Greater Stone is the farthest monument of this type found in the South of Latvia so far. A campfire site was found near the stone during archaeological excavations of 1979; it is more than likely that the campfire has been related to the use of the cult stone in ancient times.

Adress: Ruskuli, Aglonas parish, Aglonas district ;
Phone: +371 29118597; +371 65322100
GPS: 56.1246, 26.9601