Dmitry Efremov

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  1. Stāmeriena Palace (Latvian: Stāmerienas muižas pils; German: Schloss Stomersee) is a palace built in Historicist style from 1835 to 1843 in the historical region of Vidzeme, northern Latvia. Its first owner was Johann Gottlieb von Wolff (1756-1817) and subsequently his descendants. In 1905, during the Russian Revolution, the manor was burned down, but was later renewed by Baron Boris von Wolff (1850-1917) in 1908. Although it was rebuilt in different style it is considered one of the brightest architectural achievements of his time in French Neo-Renaissance style in Latvia. Stāmeriena palace was one of the few manors which were not nationalized after Latvian agrarian reforms in 1920s. So the von Wolff family continued to live there through the 1930s until 1939. The palace was presented as a gift to Andrei Pilar von Pilchau, the first - and homosexual - husband of the palace's owner Alexandra von Wolff-Stomersee. The Sicilian writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa lived in the Stāmeriena palace for a few years in the 1930s as he married the palace's owner Alexandra von Wolff-Stomersee (1894-1982) in 1932. After the second world war a technical school of agriculture was located in the palace. Later it was used as the administration building of the local state owned farm (sovkhoz). After the 1992 palace stood empty for six years but in 1998 it became a private property and since then the palace and landscape park around it are being restored and are open to visitors.
  2. Yeah last time I tried fly slower and it looks much more dramatic! Thanks!
  3. Varakļāni palace was designed by the Italian architect Vincenzo Macotti at the request of the estate's owner, Count Michael Johann von der Borch. Construction was begun in 1783 and completed in 1789. The palace was one of the first buildings in the classicism style in Latvia. It is an architectural monument of national importance consisting of 3 parts, which are connected by galleries. In the central part of it, there is a tower with a gallery, which burned down at the beginning of the 20th century. The palace has two storeys in the middle part of it and in the wings of it. The building housed the Varakļāni secondary school from 1921 to 1960. The palace and grounds are currently administered by the town of Varakļāni.
  4. The nature reserve was created in 1982. Its purpose is to protect the eponymous bog, one of the largest in Latvia and the Baltic states. The nature reserve covers an area of 19,779 ha (48,870 acres), of which 13,681 ha (33,810 acres) is composed of Teiči bog. In this wet area, veritable little lakes have formed in places and there are in total 18 such lakes within the area, but in other places raised patches of firmer ground form little islands in the bog. The reserve is home to a number of rare or threatened species, including 38 protected species of flowering plants and ferns and 24 protected species of moss. It is an important habitat also for animals, including invertebrates. It is an internationally important locale for both migratory and sedentary birds. Specimen of most of the birds known to inhabit Latvian wetlands can be found here, some in large numbers — for example cranes and geese. On one of the islands in the nature reserve, Siksala, a small group of Old Believers live. Ethnic Russians, they arrived on Siksala island in the 17th century, escaping religious persecution, and still maintain their village.
  5. The surrounding area of Nogale historically belonged to the episcopal diocese of Courland, in what was once called Erwahlen. The last bishop, Herzog Magnus, also acted as a feudal lord. At the beginning of the 17th century, the manor of Nogale belonged to the district administrator Friedrich von Brunnow. The family acted as key landholders for approximately 100 years, until the property was sold to Magnus Georg von Fircks by Niklas Georg von Brunnow in 1710. The von Fircks barony then owned Norgale Manor for almost 200 years. The widow of the Baron Ernst von Fircks, born as Baroness Marie Behr, then sold the property to Otto von Transehe, who owned the manor until 1910. The Baroness Marie von Nolcken then took over the property until it was expropriated in 1920. The mansion designed by the architect Theodor Seiler in the Neoclassical style, and is set in the middle of a scenic landscape. Due to the heavily-wooded and game-rich surrounds, it was also known as the hunting lodge of Baron von Fircks. Furthermore, its magnificent structure and features meant the mansion was also called “the Rundale of Courland”, in reference to its likeness to the stately Baroque palace. The two-storey, 12-axled house stands on a high base level and has an imposing ionic portico on the park side. Also extending to the park is a small pavilion. The courtyard-facing side features a 3-axled portal with columns and gives an unusual visual effect due to the separate uniaxial façade of the left side. The interior of the house is still remarkable today, most likely due to the restoration that was first undertaken in the 1980s. Neo-Baroque paintings cover the walls and ceiling, with Majolica ceramics, ornately decorated fireplaces and stoves also featured. From the garden terrace you have a spectacular view of the lake, which covers over 2 hectares and is over 20 m deep. In the approximately 3-hectare sized park, the centuries-old oak trees are particularly noteworthy.
  6. Each autumn and spring one can see an exciting phenomenon here, as the fish try to clear the rapid by jumping over it. About 300 years ago, Jacob, the Duke of Courland, invented a way to catch with baskets placed along the rapid the fish that came upstream to breed and jumped across the rapid. Due to these fishing devices invented by Duke Jacob, Kuldīga used to be called to be a town where you can catch salmon in the air. One could catch as many as 80—100 salmon a day.
  7. The complex contains three buildings. Large Sphere building was used depending on the day and event time as a dinning place, movie Theatre, place for disco or conference center. Second one was used as a hotel and a third, large building used to be a brilliant hotel for a soviet people, but seems it was never finished. Near the complex, you may find a ski track. Seems it was a pretty nice place, until it gets abandoned after the of USSR.
  8. The complex consists of the Swedish Gate, Priekule Manor building and the manor viewing tower. Korff barons ruled in Priekule since the 15th century. At that time the manor itself and the manor fortifications were built to defend against pillagers. The drive-through Swedish Gate was built in 1688 and its central part was decorated with the Korff Family coat-of-arms, silver bullet and maskaron carved in Gotland sandstone. Two threatening stone guards stood in the niches built in both sides of the passageway of Priekule manor gate. There was a belief before World War II – those kissing the gate guard’s bellybutton will be happy in the future. Today the Swedish Gate is guarded by wooden soldiers made by a local craftsman, but the belief about kissing the bellybutton still exists. Priekule manor was built in the 18th century and experienced extensive reconstruction in the second half of 19th century supervised by the famous architect Paul Max Berchi; parade stairs, second floor hall exit-balcony and the manor viewing tower were built within the reconstruction. In 2014, during the Fest of Icarus, “The Genealogy tree of barons von Korff 15th–20th century” was opened in the gateway of the Swedish Gates. Today the manor is the home of Priekule Secondary School.
  9. Lielauce manor in 17th century was owned by Duke of Courland and Semigallia Friedrich Kettler who in 1624 together with all his court lived in the manor. Current manor building is built in the beginning of 19th century when it was bought by von Medem family. At the end of the 19th. century property was bought by count von Pahlen as his summer residence. During Christmas of 1900 manor building was heavily damaged by fire. In 1901 restoration works started. As a result building got more Neo - Classical appearance. After Latvian agrarian reforms of 1920 manor building was used as a school. Today building is owned by Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies. Interiors are preserved in several rooms.
  10. According to myth, the Bay of Paleopkastrista is where Odysseus first encountered Nausicaa, the beautiful young princess of the island. The beautiful, heart-shaped bay is certainly an appropriate meeting-place for the pair, as many scholars believe the couple represents one of the earliest depictions of unrequited love in literature. Odysseus is drawn to the beautiful woman, and she even states that she would like to have a husband like the Greek warrior, yet never expresses any interest in Odysseus himself. Despite her father’s approval of a potential marriage between the two, they never have a romantic relationship, and Nausicaa is the only woman that Odysseus never tells his wife, Penelope, about when they are finally reunited. In addition to its Homeric history, the village of Paleokastritsa also features a 13th-century monastery, which now houses a museum. Located 25 km (15 miles) northwest of the island’s major town, Paleokastritsa one of the best-known sites on cosmopolitan Corfu, due to its history and unparalleled natural beauty.
  11. Porto Timoni is a unique beach, hidden and not very known, below Agios Georgios Pagi village and Afionas. Actuallly, there are two different beaches which are separated by a small strip of land. The small one is Limni and the big one is Porto Timoni. As a matter of fact, this location is wonderful as grassy, dense hills end on these two beaches, one with reqgular blue waters and the second with deep blue waters. These coves as you will find out have distinctive water temperatures. To go to Porto Timoni you have to follow the path that, starts from the small square of Afionas. The duration of the passage until the shore finish in around 20 minutes but, it is necessary be cautious as the road, even though it is a walk, is brusque and in many spots craggy. The three things you will discover in Porto Timoni are the closed bays, very clear waters and a few bathers. Clearly this is a quite unknown beach and thus you need to have a bottle of water and all the necessities in order to stay there. You could stay on the path towards the lip of the peninsula that, reaches to the church of Agios Stylianos which is built in a small cave.
  12. Cape Drаstis (Akra Drastis in Grеeк) is the northwеsternmоst pοint of Сorfu island. But what mаkes it a sight is thе weird shape of thе cliffs with tiny seа сaves and pеculiаr fоrmatiοns with a few sаndу strips betwеen them. When climatе сonditiоns аllοw, Cape Drastis cаn be visitеd by boat. The small bеаches betwеen the сliffs havе fine sand which resеmbles clаy and the sеa bottоm is shаllοw but due to the strоng winds whiсh οftеn blow in this part оf the island, it is nοt recommеndаble fоr kids. You can аlsо gο to Cape Drastis by саr and sеe it frоm abοve - уou nеed tо fοllow а narrоw rοad which stаrts from Pеrοulаdes village аnd сontinuеs fоr 500 meters. It will take you tо thе pοint аbove the capе but gоing dοwn is not pоssible as the сliffs аrе vertical and slοpe strаight down tо thе sea. Wind should be cоnsidеred herе, tοo, and it mаy be a bit unpleasаnt tо gеt a сlοser view whеn it is blowing hard in уоur fаce. The viеw however is wоrthy. From clоsely thе сape lοoks liкe а giant turtlе head with а few smallеr turtle fоrmatiοns swimming аround it. Betwеen Cape Drаstis and Sidari thеre is а small cove with bоat tο rеnt which you саn use tо visit the capе. The covе has nо sаnd but the rοсks around it are tеrrаced shape liке Canаl D`amоur and suitаble fοr sunbathing and swimming when wеаther is calm. Source: https://www.feelgreece.com/en/cape-drastis © FeelGreece.com
  13. Skrunda railway bridge is a three span metal bridge crossing river Venta in Skrunda with the static scheme of 31.68 m + 62.16 m + 31.68 m and with a full length of 153 m, built in 1928. The original metal span construction was designed as per regulations issued in 1907.
  14. The Russian State Ministry of Maritime Affairs bought the Liepaja lighthouse project from the English company Chance Brothers (Great Britain, Birmingham). After two years of construction, which began in 1866, the lighthouse was opened and the light on its tower lit up on July 20, 1868. Workers from the A. Meinards factory in Liepāja took part of the wreck of a ship that was later used to build a lighthouse tower. The lights of the lighthouse were made in Great Britain at the Frankel factory, and it was a masterpiece in the field of optics of its time, which was unparalleled in the Baltics. The headlights were surrounded by conically ground glass circles, which periodically reduced and intensified the light. During the First World War, Russian troops took the lighthouse mechanism with them when they retreated. In turn, in 1915, during the German occupation, the Liepāja lighthouse got a new light and became the first lighthouse in Latvia, where electric lighting was started to transmit signals. At present (the lighthouse lamp made by the Berlin company Julius Pintsch in 1915) is in the collection of the Liepāja Museum. Originally, the lighthouse was continuously painted red, and it was until the end of the 19th century when it was painted in the red-white-red circles we are familiar with. During the First World War, the lighthouse was badly damaged during the shooting of the German Navy cruiser Augsburg - 16 shots were fired at the lighthouse tower. The lighthouse was rebuilt in 1922 and, as can be read in the press of that time, iron plates were used in the rebuilding, which were cast and melted from the bullets of Swedish ships and cannons found on the shore of Skede. After the Second World War, the lighthouse was reconstructed and a hectophone (sound signal transmission device) was installed in the late 1940s. The signal intervals were regulated by a special relay, which transmitted the Morse signal, which denoted the letter L (Liepāja). In 1948, a circular radio beacon began operating, broadcasting the letters LB (Liepāja lighthouse (Baka from latvian - Lighthouse)). It should be noted that during the hurricane in the autumn of 1967, the fog sirens suffered greatly and were not rebuilt later, as they greatly disturbed the peace of the surrounding population. When turned on, they could be heard even in Grobiņa. Today there are no special supervisors in Liepāja lighthouse, as it used to be - it is controlled remotely and is fully automated.
  15. The first lighthouse was constructed by Swedes at the turn of the 18th century, right where the present-day mouth of the Daugava River is flowing, into the Baltic Sea. Back then it was a stone layer with a signal fire on the top of the lighthouse. The next lighthouse was a wooden tower on a masonry foundation, which was demolished during the Crimean War in 1854, and instead, cannons were put on the masonry foundation for firing at ships of the British Royal Navy. Then, a fundamental cast-iron lighthouse was constructed in 1863. It stood until World War I, when the lighthouse was blown up by Russian military troops, who retreated to the east from Riga. The successor to the lighthouse was built in 1921 out of reinforced concrete, during Latvia’s period of independence in the Interwar Period. When the German infantry retreated westward towards the end of the Second World War. After World War II a temporary 20-metre lighthouse as built out of a wooden structure, but the lighthouse was devastated after a powerful storm. The current lighthouse was built between 1956 and 1957; with the first light glare shone on February 2, 1957. Currently the lighthouse is open for the public, with the top viewing gallery being accessed by one hundred and fifty spiral steps.
  16. Located in woodlands near Irbene, in Ventspils Municipality, Latvia, the center was founded in 1974 by the Soviet military. It originally consisted of a 32-metre telescope, along with two smaller telescopes and a communications center, and was known as Zvyozdochka, meaning "Little Star". It was used by the KGB during the Cold War to spy on communications between Europe and the United States. It became a scientific research facility in the 1990s, established on 22 July 1994 as part of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, before becoming an independent organisation on 24 April 1996. It is now known as the Ventspils International Radioastronomy Center or the Irbene Astronomy Center.
  17. In the memory of the cattiest cat in the world - Richard. Rest in peace dear friend you're always bring a joy into our hearts. =( Legends date the name "Mikelbaka" to 1749, when the coast was surveyed by Mikhail Ryabinin, a Russian midshipman. After a period, the name was changed to the Latvian "Mikelis”. At 56 metres (184 ft) it is the tallest lighthouse tower in the Baltic States. The present-day Miķeļbāka lighthouse was built in 1957, documented in the sign above its front door. Two hundred and ninety-three steps lead to the top of the lighthouse, offering a view overlooking the surrounding Kurzeme coast of the Baltic Sea and a lighthouse on the Syrve Peninsula of Saaremaa that can be seen in fine weather at a distance of 35 kilometres (22 mi). The current tower is 56 metres (184 ft) high, the beacon having a focal height of 59 metres (194 ft) above sea level, making it the tallest in the Baltic States.
  18. The lighthouse was built between 1849–1850; however the area historically, since the eleventh century, has been a site of plunderers who lit misleading signal-fires to confuse passing ships, causing them to run aground, once wrecked they would be raided of their cargo. The site of the lighthouse may have been an ancient holy place as old maps refer to the locality as Temple Mount (Domkalns), and Church Hill (Baznīckalns). Towards the end of the nineteenth century Baron Osten-Sacken cut-down a number of trees; making this a key-location spot for fishermen in the area; which is why the 24 metre stone lighthouse was built there between 1849–1850. The lighthouse is located in the Slītere National Park, which now maintains the lighthouse and its surroundings. The light has a focal height of 82 metres above sea level, making it the highest light in Latvia until it was deactivated in 1999. The lighthouse is the second oldest in Latvia, the oldest being that of Ovisi which first entered service in 1814.
  19. In the middle of Latvian countryside is an unusual structure bound to pique the curiosity of anyone who happens upon it. The “Tilts uz nekurieni,” or “Bridge to Nowhere,” is a narrow-gauge railway bridge leading nowhere at all, surrounded on both ends by nothing but a lush green meadow. The concrete span across the Abava River, just 180 feet long (55 meters), was built in 1940, intended to be part of the new Tukums-Kuldiga rail line that was under construction. It was one of a number of ambitious projects planned by the newly independent and quickly developing republic of Latvia. Then World War II broke out. With the nation at war, the railway line was never finished. The high costs of civil engineering and construction are a major consideration in building any railroad. As these activities require specialized equipment and personnel, it is not uncommon to have these portions of a project completed ahead of the general track laying. The abandoned bridge still stands intact, a strange sight in the Irlavas village, near Sāti. To many locals, the lonely Bridge to Nowhere also represents a wartime memorial of sorts. It commemorates the failed effort made by the Germans to continue the bridge during the Nazi occupation of Latvia in the early 1940s. The unique structure may serve no practical purpose, but it belongs to Latvia alone.
  20. Zemīte Manor (or Knight's Manor) was known since 1437 as an estate of Štekmest and later on of von Butlar. The Butlar family owned estate until 1673, after which the owners were von Lebel, von Mirbach, von Plettenberg and von Berrie. From 1790 to 1920 manor belonged to von Firks family. The manor house was built in the Biedermeier era of spectacular construction forms around 1850. At the same time the park around it was also created. Later in the 19th century, a square tower of Neo-Renaissance style, whose sole function was to confirm the owner of the building, was additionally built. Manor house was burned in 1905 and shortly thereafter restored. Then it was burned again in 1931 and once again restored. Consequently, the original interior decoration of the building has not survived. In 1937, in the old granary of the manor, was in the Guard House. In 1943 several manor houses were burnt down. In 1945, the Zemīte Manor established a Car and Horse Leasing Point, and an executive committee of the Zemīte Parish Workers' Deputies Council had it headquarter. In the former Guard House was established the Machine and Tractor Station. In 1951 the station was liquidated and handed over to Kandava RTU, and in 1962 a new company was established on the basis of it - the Tukuma Lauktehnikas branch. During the Soviet era, the palace housed a cafeteria and apartments. The idea at that time was to build a museum in the castle tower.