Bērze is the native village of Kārlis Ulmanis (1877 - 1942), the founder of the State of Latvia, the President of the Republic of Latvia. Bērze village is situated in the middle of the Zemgale Plain, which is also called the Granary of Latvia. On visiting the native village of Kārlis Ulmanis, you will see historic places, learn more about the traditional farming lifestyle of Zemgalians, and meet kind people.
1. Pikšas Farm - the Museum of Kārlis Ulmanis
The museum is one of the most important historical monuments in Latvia.
President Kārlis Ulmanis was born in Pikšas in 1877, he spent his childhood there and went to Bērzmuiža Elementary School. By means of public donations, the dwelling house was renovated in 1993, and a museum was established in it. The museum was created in the style of the rural-farm of 20-ies and 30-ies of the 20th century, thus giving a picture of the development of farming in this period of time in Latvia. The exhibition gives insight into the life and work of Kārlis Ulmanis, as well as reflects his ideas and contribution to the development of the independent state.
The museum offers a chance to find out more about the old-style country living, the agriculture machines and farming tools of the first half of the 20th century. In the exhibition hall, art exhibitions are displayed.
Phone +371 26670812, www.piksas.lv
2. The Bērze Lutheran Church
The Bērze Lutheran Church was rebuilt in the middle of the 19th century. In 1939, President Kārlis Ulmanis presented a bell to the church where he was baptized and confirmed. During World War II, the church was partly destroyed. The people of Bērze saved the bell, and now it is back again in the steeple of the renovated church.
Phone +371 63754116.
3. The memorial site in the centre of Bērze
The Memorial Plaque devoted to the warriors fallen in World War I and in the Latvian Liberty Fights from 1918 to 1920 is set up near the Bērze Lutheran Church.
4. The Bērze Graveyard
The parents of the State President Kārlis Ulmanis, his foster-parents, and many relatives are buried in the old Bērze cemetery. Kārlis Ulmanis wished to be buried in this cemetery as well, but he died in Russia in 1942, where he was deported to after the occupation of Latvia. His burial place is still unknown. A memorial to Kārlis Ulmanis was erected in the Bērze graveyard at the beginning of the 90ies of the 20th century. The poet Uldis Leinerts (1936 - 1969) is also buried there. The Cemetery for Soviet soldiers lies close to the Bērze graveyard.
5. The old building of Bērze Elementary School
The old building is situated close to the centre of Bērze. Kārlis Ulmanis attended this school for three years in the time period from 1880 to 1883. At that time, it was one of the largest buildings in Latvia, built specially as school. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were 80 to 100 students and 3 teachers in the school. Now the school is closed. A memorial room of Kārlis Ulmanis has been arranged in one of the classrooms. The oak tree planted by Kārlis Ulmanis is still growing in front of the school.
Phone +371 26764405, Astrīda Lange.
6. The Bērze Water Mill
The water mill is a significant monument of technique, one of the very few still operating watermills in Latvia. The more than 100 years old mill machinery and equipment is still in working order. You can observe the flour making process there. The history of the mill goes back to the middle of the 17th century, when a wool weaving mill was opened there during the reign of Jacob the Duke of Kurland. Later, a water mill was built on the dam of the Bērze River. Posters from the Soviet period are kept in the mill as a reminder of the past. Orvils Heniņš, the present owner of the mill, renovated the dam and now electricity is produced besides grain milling.
Excursions in the water mill and around its vicinity are available; visits should be arranged in advance. Phone +371 26439106.
7. Vegetable Farm "Saliņas"
At least 60 different sorts of tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, unusual cucumbers, physalises, melons, including kiwano and momordica are but a fraction of what you can discover and buy at the farm managed by the Otikovi family. All the produce is suitable for green thinkers thanks to chemical-free farming. Visitors can go on a tour of the farm, seek advice or buy vegetables.
"Saliņas", Bērze village, phone + +371 29185540, 28458527
8. The garden of Skaidrīte and Haralds Bauzes
This surprising garden is created on the bank of the Bērze River. You can learn about different plants and flowers in the garden, find out how cranberries, grapes, and melons are grown. The garden is decorated with wooden sculptures made by the host. Skaidrīte Bauze is a well-known mitten knitter. She will show her collection which boasts more than 100 various mittens.
Skaidrīte and Haralds Bauzes, "Lejnieki", Bērze village, phone +371 63754136.
The nearest accommodation and cafes are in Dobele.