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Aluksne Travel Guide: 23 reviews and 45 photos

Aluksne

is the highest geographically situated town in Latvia - about 200 metres above sea level. Archaeological findings in the settlement on Cepurite island in lake Aluksne, are proof of the area being inhabited in the Stone Ages. Aluksne was first mentioned in historical documents in 1285, but it gained town status only in 1920. The Latgalian Temple Hill, the Livonian castle ruins, and the manor house (1700 - 1800) and Jauna Pils (New Castle), are testimony to its centuries long history. The Aluksne castle gardens are notable for their artistic value and the complex scenic plan. Church minister Ernest Glueck, who first translated the Bible into the Latvian language, lived and worked in Aluksne. Oak trees that he planted 300 years ago near the church still grow there today, and nearby is the Ernest Glueck Bible Museum, the only one of its kind in Europe.

The New Aluksnes castle and the park

(on Pils St. 74) were built between 1859 and 1863 in New Gothic style by order of Baron Alexander fon Fitinghoff. The main facade with a polygonal hall is buttressed to the north, towards the park terrace, which has a wide view to the Aluksne Lake. Here the Aluksne Local History and Art and also the Nature Museum are located. The park was laid out in the second half of the XVIII century according to the idea of Baron Burhard fon Fitighhoff, then owner of Aluksne, as a romanticism style scenery park, and was the best park in Vidzeme. It is one of the richest dendrology parks in Latvia. The architectural elements of the park have been retained – the Aeol Temple, the Alexander Pavilion, the Palm House or Conservatory, as well as the mausoleum and memorial obelisk to Baron Otto Herman fon Fitinghoff. There is a Brother Cemetery in the park, opposite to the castle, where the soldiers fallen in 1919 and World War II are buried. A sculpture by Lilija Lice called "Longing" is erected by the cemetery.

German priest Ernst Glück

In 1683 German priest Ernst Glück settled in Aluksne. He established the first three schools for the children of Latvian peasants. To mark the translation of the New Testament in 1685 and of the Old Testament in 1689 Ernst Glück planted two oaks - Glück’s oaks. Every year memorial days for this great man take place in the shade of these oeaks.

German priest Ernst Glück had four daughters, ason and a stepdaughter Marta Skvaronska, later the empress of Russia Katherine I.
In 1702 all the family was taken prisoner and brought to Russia where Russian tsar Peter I first saw Marta and fell in love. In 1712 they got married, Marta changed her religion and her name became Katherine. In 1724 she was crowned, but in 1725 after the death of Peter Ishe became the empress of Russia for two years till her death in 1727.
Observant visitors of Aluksne have noticed a whell thrownup in the tree. It is Katherine`s Wheel.
The legend tells about the past times when Peter I brought his next wife Katherine to Russia. On the way the carriage broke and while the blacksmith repaired it Peter I in his anger took one of the whells and threw it up in the oak tree. In 1999 the wheel was renewed to keep this legend alive.

  • Last visit to Aluksne: Dec 2004
  • Intro Updated Dec 28, 2005
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