Dmitry Efremov

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Posts posted by Dmitry Efremov

  1. 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.


  2. 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.




    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.


  4. 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.




    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.

  6. Durbe Manoris one of the most interesting castles of classicism style in Kurzeme.  It was built in the year 1671 and has been reconstructed on several occasions. The castle obtained its current appearance in the period from 1820–1923 according to the reconstructions designed by the architect J.G.A.Berlitz. You can go for a lovely walk on a steaming summer day or when the leaves turn colourful in autumn in the scenic park with architectural monuments – a rotunda and a stone bridge over the ravine – which was created next to the castle at the beginning of the 19th century. At this time, the renovated exhibition halls the 1st floor of the manor offers expositions of the interior of countryside manors, however the 2nd floor halls offers various expositions about manors in the 19th century. 


  7. Ikšķile is a place where more than 800 years ago historical events of both national and European importance took place. The ruins of the oldest sacred stone building, located on the St. Meinhard’s Island on the river Daugava, are the witnesses of these events. In 1184, Meinhard, who was an Augustinian canon at the Segeberg Abbey in Holstein, started to build a church on the island. The church served as the chair of the Livonian bishop till 1201, when Riga was founded. The building was thoroughly reconstructed during 1879–1881, but was destroyed in 1916. Nowadays, a 10 m high metal cross (artist: E. Samovičs), and a stone altar (sculptor: J. Karlovs) are placed on the island. For conservation purposes the ruins were covered with a metal roof in 2002. Visitors can get to the ruins via passenger ferry or a boat. Each August the St. Meinhard's day is celebrated on the island, and the Holy Mass is held. If previously arranged, it is possible to held baptism or wedding on the island. An architectural and historical monument of national importance.



  8. The legendary mound ZIlaiskalns, which is overgrown with trees and which is covered blue and white anemones in spring, was a significant holy place for the ancient Latgalians. Mound Zilaiskalns is 66 m high and is among the most famous ancient cult sites. At the top of the mound there is the Sacrifice stone with a pot-like depression. Locals had gathered for various festivities to perform ancient rites on the mound Zilaiskalns. People threw donations in the holy spring, and burned aromatic plants on the Sacrifice stone. At midsummer solstice they brought presents to the holy place – men had brought leather bags with beer inside, while women had carried various tasty foods to the place. According to legends Mound Zilaiskalns was a place where the witches met. People tell that this is also the place where the ancient Latvian hero Imanta was buried. Although evidence has not been found, the legends have inspired writers to include this in their stories and novels. The soothsayers are of the opinion that the place reveals strong energy, because four fire underground water streams cross under the mound. People, who respect Latvian traditions, come to the mound during summer solstice, and other traditional festivities. According to legends many soothsayers and charmers had lived in the vicinity of the mound. In the 20th century the healer Marta of Zilaiskalns, in her real name called Marta Rācene, was very popular. Many people wished to meet the healer, they were even queueing at her house. 


  9. Helsinki is the capital, primate and most populous city of Finland. Located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, it is the seat of the region of Uusimaa in southern Finland, and has a population of 656,229. The city's urban area has a population of 1,268,296, making it by far the most populous urban area in Finland as well as the country's most important center for politics, education, finance, culture, and research; while Tampere in the Pirkanmaa region, located 179 kilometres (111 mi) to the north from Helsinki, is the second largest urban area in Finland. Helsinki is located 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Tallinn, Estonia, 400 km (250 mi) east of Stockholm, Sweden, and 300 km (190 mi) west of Saint Petersburg, Russia. It has close historical ties with these three cities. Together with the cities of Espoo, Vantaa, and Kauniainen, and surrounding commuter towns, Helsinki forms the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, which has a population of over 1.5 million. Often considered to be Finland's only metropolis, it is the world's northernmost metro area with over one million people as well as the northernmost capital of an EU member state. After Stockholm and Oslo, Helsinki is the third largest municipality in the Nordic countries. Finnish and Swedish are both official languages. The city is served by the international Helsinki Airport, located in the neighboring city of Vantaa, with frequent service to many destinations in Europe and Asia. Helsinki was the World Design Capital for 2012, the venue for the 1952 Summer Olympics, and the host of the 52nd Eurovision Song Contest in 2007. Helsinki has one of the world's highest urban standards of living. In 2011, the British magazine Monocle ranked Helsinki the world's most liveable city in its liveable cities index. In the Economist Intelligence Unit's 2016 liveability survey, Helsinki was ranked ninth among 140 cities.


  10. The castle in Rakvere offers a lot of excitement for the entire family! When you enter the castle, you will find yourself in a theme park representing the everyday life of the 16th century. There, both young and old visitors can spend an exciting day as they dress up as knights and warriors, enjoy various entertainers, and learn a thing or two about the life of people in the Middle Ages and the early modern period. Additionally, there is a wine cellar, a torture chamber, a death room and a hell, a Red Lanterns Street, a medieval brothel, a barber's shop, and an alchemist's workshop. Shenkenberg Tavern, which is located in the stronghold, offers meals made after medieval recipes.



  11. Valgeranna is historically known for its beautiful white sandy beaches. The local virgin nature and many possibilities for having an active vacation attract many holidaymakers and athletes. A beautiful promenade takes you from the car park straight to the sea, where you will find a 9 m observation tower with three platforms; the top platform is a great place to observe swimmers and adventure park visitors as well as the surrounding nature.