Around Engure

~ 14km, 3-4h The route makes a circle therefore it is up to the walker to choose the start and end point. This route has been marked on nature objects in the forest with a paint and as stickers in the village .


Engure was first time mentioned in historical documents in 1567 as a large village. Linguists believe the name of village to be derived from the Livonian language and to be translated as "eel", because the nearby Engures Lake had many eels. In times of Kurland Duchy, Engure was a popular textile centre, and in the 19th century it was renown for its nautical school. 

Today Engure has grown into a parish centre with 1625 persons registered their domicile in it. It offers both catering, accommodation and entertainment possibilities.  This place is particularly busting during the summer season when holidaymakers arrive to sunbath and swim, enjoy the locally caught and smoked fish and to engage in active water sports - sailing, kiting and stand-up-paddling.

If you walk or ride the route with a bicycle, you will discover the history of Engure, the most scenic places and get to know the locals.




Route can also be done by bicycle.

 

Worth seeing!

1. Sacred stones of Engure - Pyramid stone

Daila Rotbaha in the book "Sacred Places of Latvia" described this place as follows: "This time it is difficult to provide accurate coordinates of the sacred place's objects in the forests surrounding the Engures Lake where we walked.  Now the sacred place around the Engures Lake indicates at a systematic arrangement of cult stones, and we could see it in its entirety only if all sacred stones were cleaned from the moss and dirt and the forest were taken care of so as to see the stone system well.

Unlike other sacred places of Latvia, these sacred stones were renowned for their size, and one cannot claim that a large stone was put into the centre of the sacred place. Each cult stone viewed was so mighty and impressive that it spoke of a special system of the cult stones. Noteworthy, many of the large cult stones have a pyramid shape. This place also concentrates a wide table-shaped sacred stones with a large and smooth surface.

The sacred place of Engure is like a top, the top of a pyramid, the bottle-neck of energy against the background of other sacred places of Latvia. In terms of geography, it could be a point where lines characterising the system of sacred places converge. It means that our Churches of Māra have not been created only following the point of intersection of the lines of underground water streams. They have another meta-system which reflects the entire network of sacred places. "

Also, today not all stones can be easily found since the area is moist and overgrown with trees and bushes. But we managed to find one of pyramid-shaped stones which can be seen if you follow the trodden path.


2.  Amber fields

West from the Riga Bay, between Mērsrags and Engure, lies the Engures Lake which is separated from the sea with a white terrestrial belt, 1-3 km in width. Approximately 6,500 years ago, the Littorina Sea with a shallow gulf was situated here. Its coastal line was approximately 8-10 km from today's coast of the Riga Bay. Accumulation of sand carried by the sea flows into underwater banks and lowering of Littorina Sea gradually led to a situation where the open gulf increasingly lost its connection with the sea and turned into a saltwater lagoon. As the sea level continued to drop, the lagoon turned into a saltwater lake with a natural runoff to the sea in its southern end. In Livonian and Prusian languages 'Engure' means "eel lake".

Long time ago the local inhabitants called this lake also Dzintarezers or the Amber Lake, since amber pieces could be found in the terrestrial belt separating the lake from the Riga Bay. During the era of dukes, Engure hosted a special amber turnery.   
Amber is a hardened fossil resin which is highly valued due to its golden colour. A major part of the world's amber reserves are 30-90 million years old. Presence of insects inside some amber pieces made Romanians assume (which turned out to be true) that once this substance was liquid before it wrapped around the insect.

In the publication "10 Simtgades ceļi" (10 Paths of Centenary) issued by the Latvian Media there is a following memory story: "Old men used to say that rafts were tugged across the Engures Lake from Dzedrupe River along the Western end of Lielā Island and the channel until the Mērsrags Port until early 20th century. Once the channel was excavated, the level of the lake fell, and local inhabitants were carried away by zealous amber mining. The governors of Tukums district announced a bidding for amber-seekers, while the minister of Engure complained of the decreasing number of parish members, because many of them preferred looking for the amber. The lake was even called the Amber Lake. Between 1842 and 1852 the traders bought the sun stone for approximately 4,000 roubles. Eventually, news about the abundance of amber turned out to be exaggerated, and people gathered also seashells (calcium source added to the poultry feed) instead. Between 1920-1930, a teacher Miesnieks (brother of the painter Kārlis Miesnieks) taught children how to process amber in the primary school."  

Also, the poet and prose-writer, Imants Ziedonis, in his books "Amber Fairy-tales" and "Different Fairy-tales" captured his memory story about the Engures Lake and Amber fields: "On the third week we crossed the fields nearby the Engures Lake. Small amber pieces in the size of a dice sparkled occasionally in the molehills. I asked the mole: "Are you giving them to me?" "What? Them? No!", he laughed, "They are sitting there randomly. They are not a real thing, such tiny pieces. Here you can find a lot of small amber bits if you walk across the potato beds or rye field in autumn". I walked across the potato beds and I gathered a full pocket of small ambers indeed. I saw boys following the plough led by their father. Just like a blackbird picks up the earthworms after the plough, so did they with the amber."

!!! Today Dzintarlauki (Amber fields) is a private property, and they cannot be gathered without a permission of the owners.

3. Engure Community House,  museum, park

The former Engure Naval School building is now a community centre with an exposition on the history of Engure rural territory and the naval school, excibition place.

4. Landmark for the campaign "1836" (Love and hug Latvia!)

5. Engure beach zone
There are benches, changing rooms, footbridges and bicycle parking. Families with children will especially enjoy the playgrounds, which will give young visitors the opportunity to feel like a sailor. For lovers of active recreation and sports, there is an area with two volleyball courts.

6. Engure Doctorate (Health center)

The building was built around 1902 as a border guard cordon. At one time it also served as a hospital, now a family doctor's practice place.

7. Frame yourself in Engure

Photo frames in which you can capture yourself in the most characteristic landscape of Engure.

8. Engure Lighthouse

Built in 1954. The lighthouse is 19 meters high, the fire is 26 meters high, and the visibility is 15 nautical miles. The flash fire is 2 white flashes that light up every 6 seconds.

9. Engure Hillfort "Marijas kalns"

The Maria's Mound is considered a castle mound, even though no cultural layer or fortification signs have been found. It is located on the shore of the Riga Bay near Vecupe. Its appearance does not resemble a castle mound, rather an elevated dune.

10. Creative workshop "Pērle rada"

Create your own or buy one of the stylish clothes created in Engure from the Sailors collection - hats, T-shirts, scarves. SUP boards available for rent.

11. Eal village Park

The park features several sculptures, installations and objects depicting the eels coming from sea and running into the fish-baskets. An impressive fisherman's sculpture, a fish-basket, boats and other objects. Three boulders, brought from the parish of Slape, tell of all fish species found in Latvia. The park also features a river of stones - a contribution by various people, who brought stones and pebbles from their garden.

12. Pastorate "Ērģelnieki"

200-years-old wooden log building with a mantelpiece, located in the very heart of Engure. The house is a significant and very rare preserved wooden architecture monument of high authenticity. Together with Engure wooden church, they form a unique wooden architecture ensemble among the Kurzeme coastal villages.

From 1899 onwards, it was a school with a classroom and a teacher's apartment, and a boarding home consisting of two rooms in the attic. The school was relocated after three years. Nowadays the building belongs to Engure Evangelical Lutheran Church.

13. Oak Devoted to president of Latvia (1936-1940) -  Kārlis Ulmanis

The oak was planted in 1936 by boy and girl scouts to honour the President of the State - Kārlis Ulmanis, who visited Engure while on his trip around Kurzeme 

14. Engure port and promenade

Engure port is a fishing and yacht port to which leads a promenade. Next to port is a landscaped beach for lazy sunbathing, as well as active recreation.

15. The Engure Evangelical Lutheran church

One of the very few wooden churches in Latvia, which has not been destroyed or reconstructed into a masonry church. It dates back to 1567. Remarkable is the alter, chancel (1835) and organs, which were built by the German organ master Karl Bittner in 1853-1854.

16. Engure Seastones

In the village expedition materials found in Tukums Museum, one can read that the local residents of Engure called these stones the "Devil Stones".
A legend tells "Long-long time ago the Devil carried the stones to the Hell, but as the cock piped its morning song, he stumbled and the stones scattered all over the place. This is how the stony beach of Engure was formed. The people used to call them the devil stones or devil laps".

Scientists explain them to be sediments of Littorina Sea.
The Littorina Sea was a saltwater sea basin in the hollow of the Baltic Sea approximately 7500-4500 years ago when due to marine transgression a connection Ancilus Lake to the Atlantic Ocean was restored and salter water flew into it through current Kattegat.
The Littorina Sea existed in Atlantic and Subboreal climate periods and the climate was initially warm and humid, whereas warm and rather dry at the end. The Littorina Sea later transformed into the Baltic Sea. The name of the sea was derived from a whelk living there, Littorina littorea. Sediments of the Littorina Sea in the territory of Latvia were found in a narrow belt, almost along entire coastline of the Baltic Sea and Riga Bay. Thickness of the sediments vary between 3-5 up to 10 meters, and in some cases reaching even 20 meters.
The sediments of the Littorina Sea have formed under various conditions of facies, therefore their content is variable:
The coastal facies consist mainly of average-sized sand grains with various gravel and pebble admixture, more seldom of gravel-pebble material with boulders. These sediments are most often met at the base of the abrasion clasts or the coastal banks. In some cases, the coastal banks are made of boulders. Sometimes in coastal sediments one have found amber pieces (in vicinity of Liepāja, Ķesterciems, Jūrmala), as well as tree trunks (near Bernāti).  

A story about the seaside in the Environmental News reveals and it can be also observed in the nature that natural geological processes take place in the coastal area every year and every day. In some places the sea washes away the fundamental coast and approaches the mainland, in other places the coast remains virtually the same, yet in other areas it becomes larger, because the sea must find a place where to put the sand it carried away. For people living near the sea must count on washing away of the coast or erosion during the storms, flooding of the nearest territories and blowing the beach and frontal dune sand over to the mainland. One of the most endangered coastal territories in term of erosion risk in Engure parish is the coastal section from Ķesterciems to Engure.

17. Magnoly garden

Scenic garden by Ligita Čukure, home to many exotic trees and bushes. Visitors are shown magnolias of various species, a small collection of peonies, a selection of English roses, and other plants. The garden and the buildings are located on a 2000 sq.m large area. Nominated as the Best-kept Yard in Engure municipality.

18. Water sports center "Vējā"

Kitebording training, SUP and bicycle rental.


!!! Do not leave the waste in nature when you are out for a walk; pick them up and dispose in the nearest waste bin or report to VidesSOS.lv.

Long-distance route Jūrtaka (Baltic Coastal Hiking Trail) (E9) leads along the coastal line which can be taken if you wish to stay longer and go for a walk also on next day. More information about route: www.jurtaka.lv".


Tourism information:

Engures TIP
Jūras iela 114, Engure (+371) 63161234; 29462606  

Tukuma TIC
Talsu iela 5, Tukums (+371) 63124451; 28311557


Thanks for financial support in route creation: