The Burtnieki Manor ensemble was built in the 18th-19th century when, after several changes of owners, the estate became the property of the Schroeder family. Around 1860, the Schroeders set about laying out a park. The park is remarkable for its grand staircase each step of which has been hewn from a solid block of granite brought to Latvia from Finland. Another attraction is a vase named "Seasons", decorated with sculptures.
The Burtnieki Manor Park is one of the best maintained rural estate parks in Latvia and is home to more than 70 species of trees and shrubs. The park, laid out in the mid-19th cent. by the last owner of the estate Wilhelm von Schroeder, still retains some features of its former splendour - a staircase of solid granite slabs, a fountain and other elements.
The manor building is now a private property and can only be viewed from the outside but the visitors can take a stroll in the lovely park. The Vīsrags Path leads right from the gates, telling the story of the manor and the park.References:
The Goseck circle is a Neolithic circle structure. It may be the oldest and best known of the Circular Enclosures associated with the Central European Neolithic. It also may be one of the oldest Solar observatories in the world. It consists of a set of concentric ditches 75 metres across and two palisade rings containing gates in places aligned with sunrise and sunset on the solstice days.
Its construction is dated to c. 4900 BC, and it seems to have remained in use until 4600 BC. This corresponds to the transitional phase between the Neolithic Linear Pottery and Stroke-ornamented ware cultures. It is one of a larger group of so-called Circular Enclosures in the Elbe and Danube region, most of which show similar alignments.
Excavators also found the remains of what may have been ritual fires, animal and human bones, and a headless skeleton near the southeastern gate, that could be interpreted as traces of human sacrifice or specific burial ritual. There is no sign of fire or of other destruction, so why the site was abandoned is unknown. Later villagers built a defensive moat following the ditches of the old enclosure.
The Goseck ring is one of the best preserved and extensively investigated of the many similar structures built at around the same time. Traces of the original configuration reveal that the Goseck ring consisted of four concentric circles, a mound, a ditch, and two wooden palisades. The palisades had three sets of gates facing southeast, southwest, and north. At the winter solstice, observers at the center would have seen the sun rise and set through the southeast and southwest gates.
Archaeologists generally agree that Goseck circle was used for observation of the course of the Sun in the course of the solar year. Together with calendar calculations, it allowed coordinating an easily judged lunar calendar with the more demanding measurements of a solar calendar.