Address: Dobele, Auce County
1. The Pokaiņi Forest
Pokaiņi are considered to be the "X-files" of Latvia. The mysterious stone rivers, walls and stone piles have given rise to fantastic explanations and guesses about the Pokaiņi Forest. However it is clear, that once this was an ancient sacred place. Lots of people come to Pokaiņi to recover their health on the stones. Some say they have visions or receive a flow of information. For others, it is just an excellent place for quiet walks due to the picturesque scenery of Pokaiņi.
Thousands of volunteers since mid-90ies have participated in clearing up the stone piles and the forest. The walking paths are several kilometers long.
2. The Krievkalni Hill
It is the highest point in the Dobele district. The long wall of the Krievkalni Hill, covered with woods, is a unique form of terrain. A vast panoramic view opens from the highest point of Krievkalni.
3. Lake Zebrus
Lake Zebrus is the largest lake in the Dobele district, covering an area of 412 ha. The writer Kārlis Ieviņš in his novel "At the Legendary Lake" wrote: "To visit Lake Zebrus is to return to a distant past."
An ancient Latvian castle was once built on the Ezerlūķi castle mound. According to a legend, there was a road that led across the lake from the Zebrene Elku Hill to Ezerlūķi Castle. It was called the Priests' Road because it was used by priests. A few years ago, hydro-archeologists found a 300 - 400 m long row of rocks at the bottom of the lake. It is also said that in winter the lake bellows like a bull and frightens people. The howling might be caused by the formation of cracks in the ice.
There are lots of facilities for a good rest along the lake. Boats are available for rent at the recreation complex "Niedras".
4. The Ezerlūķi Castle Mound
It is situated on the eastern coast of Lake Zebrus. The castle mound, 30 m in height, is a separately standing hillock in the middle of a field. The western lake-front slope of the hill is steep, while the opposite slope gradually turns into a field.
5. The Zebrene Elku Mound
The Elku Mound is situated between the lakes of Svēte and Zebrus. It reaches the height of 20 m, and stands high above the marshy surroundings. It is possible that in old times both the lakes were connected and the hill was an island. The mound is considered to be the central ancestral sacrificial and worship place of Zemgalians.
The mound is notable for the unusual flora growth. It is said that herbs collected there on the Midsummer Eve have healing powers. The mound cannot be accessed by car, therefore you will have to walk more than 1 km along the shore of Lake Svēte to get there.
6. The Ķevele Springs
Seven springs coming out from the 4 m deep and 6 m wide glen flow together, making one stream. The water from each spring tastes differently and cures certain illnesses. As the legend goes, during the Great Northern war, Latvian seers cured Carl XII, the King of Sweden, with water from these springs, while the educated court doctors could not help. Therefore the springs are called the King's Springs, and their water is said to have healing qualities. The healers are sure that this place itself radiates positive energy.
7. The Dobes Hills
The Dobes Hills are formed by a 2 km long hillock. Its two peaks form the castle mounds of Incēni and Mežakalns, separated by the glen of the River Avīkne and a road.
The hump of Incēni Castle Mound is seen from far away in the surrounding flat area. It is believed that once it was the ancient centre of the Dobe Region and the main fortification. The castle mound was set up by forming an artificial wall, taking an almost square shape with unusually steep sides. Ernests Brastiņš, who explored the castle mound in 1923, was sure that this was the place where the Sidrabene Castle was situated. A beautiful view over the surroundings can be seen from the hill.
Mežakalns rises just opposite the Incēni Castle Mound. The castle mound is overgrown with thick leaf - tree wood, making it hardly visible. It is assumed that the Dobe Castle, built by the Livonia Order in 1260, was located in Mežakalns.
Recreation complex "Niedras", Biksti village, phone +371 29992299, www.niedras.lv
Guest house "Dzirnaviņas", Biksti village, phone +371 26471329.
Vecauce Castle, Akadēmijas 11, Auce, phone +371 29195959.