Araiši Lake Dwelling

I had been hoping to visit Araiši ever since I read about a 9th century lake dwelling having been reconstructed there. Of course, reconstructions have their own downsides — potentially misunderstanding archaeological remains and such — but even so they can present a uniquely wonderful picture of the preceding centuries/millennia. Araiši, dating to the pre-Christian era of these lands, was even more of a sightseeing target for this reason.

Some of the dwellings on the lake

It must be said to begin with that even including the adjoining Ordensburg and another constructed pre-historical site, this is not a large area to cover. A journey here on its own is probably not very worthwhile — however, if one is passing through I would definitely recommend stopping to take a look into what life here was like centuries ago.

I was blessed with a sunny day and it did stay in my mind: without the scientific knowledge we have today, how would these folk here have reasoned warmth or cold? Would a cold year be the result of poor sacrifices the preceding season or even something more onerous? Would a warm summer be the gift to this village?

The lake has also become quite overgrown — I think (I hope?) that the locals here a long time ago would tried to prevent this from happening, knowing that an overgrown lake would stifle both their food supply but also make it easier for anyone (wild animal and people alike) to get to their safe haven.

The other thing to wonder about is the prevalence of riverine transport in this region. I believe this to have been quite considerable in this region, especially a bit further south on the Gaulja and Daugava Rivers. Araiši, however, though close to the Gaulja (a few kilometres) is not directly connected to either of the rivers (which does not preclude such a connection having once existed).

Overall, then, this is definitely a very interesting place and it goes further back than most of the sites in the Baltic region — or, at least, there is more to see here than in many of the places which do go back further than here.

A walkway stretches across…

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