Araisi Archaeological Park consists of reconstructed dwelling houses of the 9th-10th centuries and ruins of the medieval castle, the exposition of dwellings of the Stone Age and the Bronze Age on the so called Daughters` Island.
Araisi Archaeological Park offers the insight into the daily life ofancient people, what they ate and what they wore, as well as helps to find out why the Lake Fortress sank and how it revived. Tours and excursions provided by the Archaeological Park offer a look into everyday life and celebrations of people of different centuries.
The Araisi Lake Fortress is one of the oldest and brightest witnesses of Latvian history over the centuries. During ten archaeological excavation seasons (1965-1969, 1975-1979), under conduct of the leader of the experimental archaeology in Latvia, archaeologist Dr hist. Jānis Apals, Latvian historical wealth yet undiscovered was found and lifted out of the depths of the lake. As a result, the ancient dwelling site in Araisi Lake has been reconstructed, becoming the only example of a fortified dwelling site of the 9th-10th centuries in the Northern Europe. The Araisi Lake Fortress was built in order to protect the small, flooded islands, and was inhabited by the largest ancient Latvian tribe, namely ancient Latgallians.
Reconstruction of the Lake Fortress was carried out from 1981 to 1995, and still continues nowadays through replicas of the ancient tools and authentic building techniques.
Araisi stone castle was built during the times of the Livonian Order and was inhabited between the 14th and 17th centuries. Accurate data on the construction of the castle still remains a secret; however, it is known that the Araisi Castle with the forepart was built as a side-castle of the Master of the Livonian Order of Cesis with a great military and economic importance. As a result of the Livonian and the Polish-Swedish wars, the castle was destroyed. Later, stones of the castle buildings were used to constructthe rectory and the Drabesi manor.
The first inhabitants settled on the shores of Lake Araisi in the Stone Age. The buildings on the Daughters` Island have been perfectly recreated according to archaeological data on this kind of Bronze Age dwelling houses, acquired in Latvia and neighbouring countries.
Photo: Araisi Archaeological Park archive