Burtnieki county

 
Burtnieki county, uniting Burtnieki, Ēvele, Matīši, Rencēni, Valmiera and Vecate parishes, is located in the northern part of Vidzeme, Latvia. The region is rich in architectural, cultural history and natural objects. In its territory there is the fourth largest lake in Latvia - Lake Burtnieks, which attracts anglers, supporters of active sports and lovers of leisurely nature. On the shores of Lake Burtnieks, several medieval and recent Stone Age (Mesolithic and Neolithic) fishing settlements have been discovered, which are among the most currently known human settlements not only in the territory of Latvia, but also in the whole of Northern Europe. As a tribute to the Stone Age settlements around Lake Burtnieks, a more than 2 m high sculpture “Witness of History” can be seen in Vecate.

Lake Burtnieks covers an area of 40 km2, its average depth is 2.4 m. Reeds abound in the shallow coastal area, and scenic sandstones can be seen on the steep bank near Burtnieki Church. 23 rivers, streams and hollows flow into the lake, but only one flows out - 95 km long Salaca. Lake Burtnieks also has 3 small islands with a total area of 1.4 ha. On the shore of the lake there are several bathing places, accommodation, equipment rental opportunities for active recreation on the water. In local farm "Adzelvieši" it is possible to learn more about the hemp cultivation, as well as to taste it.
The historical buildings of Valmiermuiža have a long and interesting history, which tells about outstanding personalities, high-quality architecture and socio-economic activities of the manors. Today, only a part of the former volume of this place has survived, however, it vividly characterizes its era and is a sign of Valmiermuiža parish, Burtnieki district, which is visible not only to local residents, but also to travelers from Latvia and abroad. Valmiermuiža manor was built in the 18th century. on the other side as a sophisticated hunting residence with spacious rooms, high ceilings and rich wall and ceiling finishes. Valmiermuiža was one of the largest manors in Vidzeme, the construction of the center complex of which was thoroughly damaged as a result of the war and political, economic and social processes of the 20th century. At present, only a few fragments of the former glory of Valmiermuiža (manor house tower, fences, barn, large cattle barn, fragment of the paved road) remain, which are still worth preserving.
Valmiermuiža Stable is located in the old cattle shed. The complex of three buildings of great size forms a courtyard set with boulders, it is closed by a stone masonry fence with a gate. There is also a riding school in the Valmiermuža Stable, which currently has 48 students. Here it is possible to go horseback riding and celebrate various events. The youngest guests of the stable have the opportunity to get to know the daily life of the stable - to find out what the horse eats, where it lives, how to properly care for and train him.
The Mellupe boulder bridge with a brick vault was built in 1879 as evidenced by the year engraved on its base. The bridge actively served until 1943, now - for the needs of one farm. The importance of the Mellupe Bridge far exceeds the local significance. The bridge is one of the oldest surviving stone bridges in Latvia, which in terms of age can be compared with the well-known bridge over the River Abava in Kandava built in 1873 and the bridge over the River Venta in Kuldiga built in 1874. The Mellupe Bridge is the most valuable evidence of the history of Latvian roads, as it served on the most important Latvian road that once led from St. Petersburg through Riga to Western Europe.
 
The Burtnieki area is popular with "Northern Lights hunters". They can be most vividly observed in the spring shift to summer and in the autumn shift to winter. For the most part, the Northern Lights can be seen using photo and video techniques, which are many times more sensitive to light than the human eye.
 
Burtnieki is home to the oldest stud farm in Latvia, which has been operating continuously for the last 70 years. It has about 200 horses grazing in the scenic meadows on the shores of Lake Burtnieks and its surroundings. Several world-famous horses were born and bred here, including Olympic medalists. The stud farm has the largest library of horse breeding books in the Baltic States.
 
 
The floodplain meadows of Lake Burtnieks are an important corncrake nesting area, as well as a potential habitat for woodpeckers. The meadows have preserved minimally modified landscapes and are regularly flooded. The best way to watch nature and birds is from the Vīsrags and Silzemnieki Bird Watching Tower located on the shores of Lake Burtnieks.
A scenic hiking route connects the Gauja River Steeb Banks in the Valmiera Park of Senses with the Sīmanēni holy oak in Burtnieki county. During the hike, it is possible to draw energy from nature and at the same time see old big oaks, the most famous of which is the Simon Ore Sacred Oak, which was partially broken during the summer storm of 2019 and is also included in the list of protected cultural monuments.