CIRCLE OF SELONIA - Latvian Tourism Development Agency

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CIRCLE OF SELONIA - Latvian Tourism Development Agency

CIRCLE OF SELONIA1519Longer distances of the routeare heading along asphalt roads,but access to ancient cult sitesmostly is available along graveland forest roadsLength of the route ~ 170 km1 MEĻĶĪTĀRU TROUGH STONEAizkraukle parish, Aizkraukle countyA short distance before bus stop “Augstkalni” thereis a quite big country road deriving to the left from themain road Rīga – Daugavpils crossing the railway at“Papardes” home. The stone is visible ~ 3 km behind therailway on the left side of the road, in moraine plain, onthe side of former Trough swamp (now – meadow)56º 39’ 613 25º 12’ 168Meļķītāru trough stone is known as an ancient site ofdonations, children were christened by this stone. Inancient times the Devil is said to have drawn waterfrom the nearby lake, poured it into the trough andwashed himself. He had done this until the wholelake had been drawn dry. The Devil had gone to anotherplace leaving the Trough Stone and the Troughswamp behind. Another legend tells the Devil wantedto bake bread and therefore carved a trough inthe stone; but when he brought flour for the leaven,a cock had crowed – and that was it. It was also toldthat once in the ancient times the Devil had pulledthe landlord of the nearby home under the stone,but once he was let to go no one was able to recognizehim anymore – so long time had passed.2 PASTMUIŽA DEVIL’S STONEKoknese parish, Koknese county2 km from Koknese, between “Rijnieki” and“Kalnakrogs” homes, 300 m from “Senči” home, 450 mto the right from Riga - Daugavpils main road. Thestone is located on the side of the old main road, 35 mfrom it, 55 m NE from the flooded the River Daugava,in an open and wide meadow; Rīga–Daugavpils mainroad is visible over the meadow in distance56º 37’ 624 25º 27’ 326One of the most widely-known mythological stonesin Latvia. Although the object is traditionally calledin singular, there are two different stones consideredone yet. Different legends with similar storylineare associated with this stone. “Devil wanted to takea stone from the River Daugava and block the RiverGauja, but a cock had crowed in Pasta manor andthe stone had fallen out of the Devil’s hands. Thestone, split into two parts, bears fingernail marks ofthe Devil. The stone can be found also nowadays,and it is located not far from Pasta manor.” Anotherlegend tells the Devil brought a stone to blockthe River Daugava, but cock crowed and the Devilkicked the stone in two parts.ALONG THE BELT OF ZEMGALE FROM IECAVA TO AUCELonger distances of the routeare planned along asphalt roads,but access to ancient cult sitesmostly is available along graveland forest roadsLength of the route 165 km8 IECAVA GOD’S GARDENPārupes iela, Iecava, Iecava countyOn the left bank of the River Iecava,opposite from the Lutheran church, in the areaamong private houses 56º 35’ 828 24º 11’ 333The little God’s Garden is a place on the side ofIecava valley, with a vacant area of 50 x 100 m.In 1812 the killed Prussian and Russian soldiers wereburied in this field. However, the name of the site isoften translated as an ancient cult site. Local peoplehave established a movement implementingprojects regarding improvement and preservationof the God’s garden. Wooden ladder has been madedown the slope to the River Iecava, view area andinformation stand have been also established.A legend tells that there was an idea to build thefirst Iecava church in this location, but the suppliedlogs were put on the other side of the river wherethe church now stands.81 29 HILL OF WITCHES OF BRUKNADāviņu parish, Bauska county Road signs leadingto Bruknas manor must be followed. The hill is locatedon the opposite side of the front façade of the manor,~ 500 m across the swamp 56º 27’ 831 24º 26’ 660Hill of Witches of Brukna is located in the middle of theswamp opposite from Brukna manor, and there aredifferent legends and stories about that. “In the ancienttimes in the place of moorland stood a beautifuland strong castle. The castle belonged to a very richking. This king had a daughter, named Spīdola. Thefather of Spīdola was a very rich and famous man, butthe daughter resembled a real witch. Every night thedaughter ran to hell to see devils. King never knew ofthe mischiefs of his daughter and loved his own childvery much. Once late at night guests arrived to theking, so the king went to wake his lovely kid up, butthe bed was empty. Father thought Spīdola was kidnapped,so he called together his army to chase thedaughter. The king was standing deep in his thoughts,but suddenly the cock sang, and daughter appeared.Father asked where she had been. Seeing her secretrevealed the daughter told everything. She allegedlysaid: “Dad, I have contacted with the devils all thistime, and we decided to exterminate your people, aswell as everything belonging to your nation.” Fatherreplied in anger: “Oh, I wish my indecent castle was nolonger on the face of earth!” That’s what actually happened:the castle with all the people sank993 PĻAVIŅU PETER’S STONEKlintaine parish, Pļaviņu countyOld main road derives 1.5 km from Riga – Daugavpilsmain road before Pļaviņas and 100 m before“Stabulnieki” home. The stone is located on the side ofthis road, 80–100 m from the new main road56º 36’ 247 25º 40’ 283The stone is surrounded by different legends. Peopleof vicinity call this the stone of [Russian Tsar] Peter I. Alegend tells that during the Northern War the RussianTsar put a silver knife and fork under the stone afterhaving lunch. Sign of property of Riga archbishop isstill visible on it – bishop’s cross and stick. The stoneis considered the most ancient dated landmark inLatvia. It was concluded that Pļaviņu Peter’s Stone isregarded as one out of four Lokstene landmarks withthe coats of arms of Riga archbishop and his vassalVrangelis chiseled before 1437, but not earlier that atthe beginning of the 14th century. The stone is calledalso the Stone of Stukmaņu Pēteris.4 ZASA PARK DEVIL’S STONEZasa parish, Jēkabpils county100 m N from Zasa Secondary School, 20 m from thenew sports hall, on the side of the park56º 17’ 633 25º 58’ 752A legend tells that in the ancient times the Devildecided to mock at Zasa steward while wanderingaround. The Devil took a big stone from the RiverDaugava and dragged it along Meņķu mill acrossLinaites swamp (opposite side from Līvāni). Thestone was big and heavy, the Devil’s feet sankdeeply into the ground. Having thrown the10 11immediately. Now there is moorland where the sunkencastle once stood, and bushes and berry fields grow inthe moorland. The castle once had so beautiful name,that nobody has guessed it yet. If anyone would manageto guess the name of the castle, it would standagain on the face of earth, but the lucky guesser willbecome the governor of the castle. Hundreds of yearshave allegedly passed, but nobody has managed toguess the name.10 ADŽŪNU STONES WITHROUNDED CONE HOLLOW“Pūpoli”, Uzvara, Gailīšu parish, Bauska countyIn the backyard of farmer’s yard and the Museum ofFarm Machinery, by the kiln-house and granary56º 18’ 714 24º 16’ 574Stones with rounded cone hollow are a special valueof Zemgale and Latvia, because, unlike in Lithuaniawith more than 600 stones with rounded cone hollowfound, there are just 10 stones with rounded conehollow in Latvia, and they are all located in Zemgale.Stones with rounded cone hollow are mostly locatedin the backyards of private houses or other placesunavailable for public, thereby the best way to seethe stones with rounded cone hollow is visiting theFarmer’s yard and the Museum of Farm Machinery inGailīši. Stones with rounded cone hollow once werebrought from the vicinity of Adžūni.There is a reason to consider secondary use of thesestones (similarly like with grain quern) for cult purposeshas overshadowed the former economic use in separatecases. However, the use for economic purposes hasremained in people’s memory very well.11 WINE HILLRundāle county On the side of the left fundamentalbank of the River Lielupe, 650 m S (upwards) fromMežotne castle mound 56º 26’ 132 24º 02’ 561In the past Wine Hill was used as a cult site ofMežotne castle mound.3stone into the swamp, the Devil clove it in two halves.The Devil dragged half of the stone to Zasa manor.Trying to fool the steward, the Devil threw the stoneinto Dzirnupīte to block it. However, thrown fromdistance, the heavy stone never reached the river; itlanded on the point of intersection of undergroundwaters, where it is now. Due to unknown reasonsthe Devil was frightened to come closer to the river,therefore the heavy stone was never thrown into theriver. Another legend tells that once the Devil gotangry to Zasa miller, also a lord, and wanted to takerevenge. So the Devil decided to block the River Zasa(Dzirnupīte) and flood the vicinity. The Devil draggeda big stone from the River Daugava to Zasa. By themorning the Devil was disturbed by cock’s song. Devilthrew the stone at the spot it is located now and ranto hell.5 DRONKU DEVIL’S STONERubene parish, Jēkabpils county200 m W from road Kaldabruņas–Riteniški, 150 mSWW–W from the small Dronku graveyard, on the sideof the forest 56º 08’ 315 26º 04’ 329There are two interesting footprints in the flat surfaceof the stone; according to a legend, these footprintswere left by the Devil. Two adjacent footprints leftby the Devil while standing on the edge of thestone together form the outline of Latvia; nearlyalways water collects in these footprints. Depthof the foot – up to 15 cm. The other footprintis located on the W edge of the stone, andusually no water collects there. Water collectedin the Devil’s footprint is regardedas healing.12 VILCE DEVIL’S RAVINE WITH THEDEVIL’S BRIDGEVilce parish, Jelgava countyIn nature park “Vilce”, around 0.5 km W from Vilcemanor. Devil’s Ravine is the side ravine of the left bankof the River Vilce, and the Devil’s or Baron’s bridge islocated in the middle part of it, around 140 m away fromriver Vilce 56º 25’ 159 23º 32’ 488Vilce Devil’s Ravine is located in the territory of thenature park “Vilce”. There are several legends aboutDevil’s Ravine: “A farmer went to work to the manorin the times of corvee. It was still quiet dark. A mandressed in black came to meet him by a ravine witha bridge over it. The farmer thought it was a stewardand kissed his hand. When the man passed by, thefarmer noticed the man had two different legs – onefrom the hen, other – from cow. So the farmer hadkissed the Devil’s hand. The bridge is called theDevil’s Bridge since then.” Another story tells thatonce a taskmaster killed a farmer by Vilce ravine andburied him right there. Some other people have seena shadow running through the forest and disappearingin the ravine. Everybody allegedly avoidedwalking there at night and went round that site in asafe distance. Different accidents also happened bythe ravine, for example, once a farmer hit a tree in thedaytime and broke his carriage.4125 76 SALTUPJU HOLY SPRINGAknīste, Aknīste countyBy “Mīkļi” home, on the left bank of the River Susēja.The spring can be found by following the road signs56º 10’ 277 25º 44’ 112Saltupju Holy Spring flows to meet the sun, and differentlegends and stories are told about that. If eyesare washed with spring’s water in the Easter morning,they would be clear for the rest of the year. Coins ofdonation were thrown, and in the ancient times differentcult rituals were performed in the spring. Thespring discharges into the River Dienvidsusēja. Bed ofthe spring is coloured brightly orange giving it a specialmagic. There is a hollow stone in the spring by thesmall bridge, and this hollow stone was used as a sacrificialstone in the ancient times. Walkways and recreationsites are established in the vicinity of the spring.7 RITE MĀRGA HILLRite parish, Viesīte county500 m NNE from Stupeļu castle mound and 400 mWNW from “Panteļi” home56º 10’ 466 25º 28’ 2141313 DEVIL’S DEPTHS IN VILCEVilce parish, Jelgava countyIn nature park “Vilce”, in the N end of the park, inthe very lower River Vilce by the estuary in the RiverSvēte, below the old bridge of the road Bauska–Dobele56º 25’ 821 23º 31’ 519Soldiers of Swedish king threw the stolen gold inthe depths of the River Vilce. When they returnedfor the gold, recovery was impossible, because therewas no riverbed in that particular place. Nowadaysseveral interested people have tried to find the treasureapplying smart methods, like pumping of waterwithout blocking of the water flow, measuring of theriver depth from helicopter using weight; however,none of these methods ever allowed reaching theriverbed and take out the treasures.136“There’s a saying that sacrifices for Gods weredone and maidens were guarding sacred firehere on altar in the pagan times. One of themaidens sinned and did not look after her dignity.She was burnt according to the holy law” (Alegend written down by A.Bīlenšteins). In the summerof 2011, the hostess of “Ziemeļi” home JanīnaBičole told the following legend: “A maid owned acastle in Mārga castle mound. Suitors came, but themaid already had a friend. However the suitors foughtwith each other and eventually burnt the castle down.Daughter of Old Stupelis named Mārga was burnt alive,but her friend and baby survived. Old Stupelis stayedin his caste mound. Mārga’s father-in-law found abig silver brooch by Mārga hill, and this brooch asthough was given to some museum. It was beforethe age of collective-farms. There is allegedly aspring in Garais hill, and a coffin with treasures isallegedly dug there. Two ladies-charmers lived bythe hill – Bičole Marija and another one nearby.So they both practiced magic to each other”(Legends written down by Andris Grīnbergs).1414714 ĶEVELE SPRINGSVītiņu parish, Auce county5 km NW from Auce town, 3 km W from theAuce–Biksti main road, at the slope of the hill,0.5 km N from “Dzirnavnieki” home, 200 m Sfrom the pit. Road signs show the way to thesprings. 56º 28’ 962 22º 49’ 384Ķevele springs or Karaļa springs flows out ina stone masonry, merge together and flowaway along a small ravine into the forestas a quiet big brook. It is assumed thatwater of every spring is with its specifictaste and power to heal certain disease.The springs are surrounded by differentlegends and stories. During the NorthernWar, Swedish king Carl XII was allegedlyhealed with spring water, when the courtdoctors were helpless.15 BAUSKA PETER’S STONEKalēju iela 2, Bauska56º 24’ 420 24º 10’ 863At the beginning of the Northern War, theRussian Tsar Peter I and August II The Strongthe King of Poland allegedly had breakfastand even competed on this stone. Accordingto some other legend the stone was put intoa cart and brought over by devil1616 BĀRBELE SULPHUR SPRINGBārbele parish, Vecumnieku county2 km S from the centre of Bārbele, on the rightbank of the River Iecava56º 26’ 068 24º 35’ 497Bārbele Sulphur Spring has been mentioned asa healing place already in texts from the 18thcentury, although the place likely was knownmuch earlier. Water was always used for healingpurposes, so this is also an ancient cult site. In differenttimes it had been facilitated in various ways.It is facilitated also nowadays. The spring flows outof a 6.8 m deep well, once drilled for improvementpurposes of the place.1717 EZERNIEKI DEVIL’S STONESēlpils parish, Sala county150 m SSW from “Ezernieki” home, in a wet andsmall forest, 75 m from the road and 30 m from theedge of the field. A small trail leads to the stone56º 34’ 826 25º 42’ 142Legends tell the Devil had sat on the stone leavingwells, combing and lousing himself. There areseveral, different by size, hollows on the surface ofthe stone. There are two smaller cups, 2 and 4 cmdeep next to a large jag. There are two flat hollows,possibly of artificial origin are near. The Devil’sStone is regarded a cup-marked stone – there arefive small cupmarks on its surface.1818 VAIĶI (NAPOLEON’S, PETER I)STONEVīpe parish, Krustpils countyIn the meadows belonging to “Vaiķi” home, 55 m tothe right (direction river) from the Rīga–Daugavpilsmain road and around 300 m from the right bank ofthe River Daugava56º 25’ 526 26º 04’ 554A legend tells that the Devil had left the stone here.Other legends tell that the Russian Tsar Peter I andNapoleon had lunch at the stone.19 AKNĪSTE (RADŽUPE, DEVIL’S)CAVEAknīste, Aknīste countyIn the lower reach of the right tributary –the River Radžupe (21 km long) – of the RiverDienvidsusēja, on the left bank, 1 km NE from townAknīste, opposite from “Kaļķucepļi” home, around2 m above the water level of river56º 10’ 183 25º 46’ 176During WWI and the Soviet repression periodpeople hid in the cave. The name Devil’s Cave is amodern one.20 ĢEVRĀNU DEVIL’S STONERubene parish, Jēkabpils countyThe stone is located 150 m NE from Ģevrāni, onthe right bank of the River Cīruļupīte, in an open area,4 m from the bank of the river56º 07’ 270 25º 59’ 960A legend tells that once in ancient times a vast foresthad been located here and the now small riverwas also a big one. From time to time lone huntersand fishermen had wandered in the forest, butthere were no inhabited houses in the forest. Oncea foreign plunderer got lost in the forest. Suddenlya powerful storm with thunder and lightning brokeout and even the true master of the forest - theDevil - was afraid. The Devil got together withthe foreign plunderer and they both tried to savethemselves by crossing the river. Once they got tothe middle of the river, it thundered and both ofthem had been turned into a big stone. Since thattime the stone is very haunted. As time went bypeople had logged the forest area by area, and atlast the stone was all alone in the river inlet. Peoplethought the haunting was over, but – dream on!The evil ghosts kept on haunting and scaring peopleeven more. During their days off people little bylittle brought branches and firewood around thestone. Once they set fire, all locals came to watchthis. The fire had twisted around the stone andspirits in the shape of domestic and wild animals,and people ran away from it to the forest. When thefire went out, people saw footprints of humans andanimals left on the stone. Openings of doors andwindows were also visible, they faded gradually.From that moment on people started calling thestone – Devil’s Foot.20

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