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Encyclopedic data

The information posted here has been taken from the encyclopedic book Kurzeme by S. Rusmanis and I. Vīks, published by Latvijas Enciklopēdija, Riga, in 1993. This is an interesting collection of facts, although you can also find some mistakes in it. Some of the mentioned places and things since then have already collapsed or no longer exist today. Nevertheless, this is an interesting historical testimony. The Land of Suiti is covered by three map no. 1, 5 and 6. Then there is an additional map showing Alsunga and its immediate surroundings.

Suiti places and their numbers, which are no the map No. 1:


Center of the collective farm Dzintarkrasts and of Jūrkalne municipal parish. 174 inhabitants (1989). Historically, it has been closely connected with Alsunga, as it is part of the Catholic Land of Suiti. The medieval name of Feliksberg (renamed in 1925) is related to a story according to which several centuries ago a ship was washed ashore by a storm without damage, so the large dune was named Happy Hill (Felixberg), where a small wooden church was built. The shore here is gradually being eroded, therefore a steep bank about 20 meters high has formed. Jānis Smiltnieks (1876 – 1952) and the organizer of several Kandava song festivals and the author of choir songs Pēteris Jancis (1897 – ?) were born in Jūrkalne.

1.Steep sea shore. There was an old church near Kriķi, which was washed into the sea.

2. Jūrkalne Catholic Church. The first stone church was built in 1736, completely rebuilt in 1862. Altarpiece Our Lady (turn of the 19th and 20th centuries), two-manual organ with seven registers (K.A. Hermanis, 3rd quarter of the 19th century), model of a sailing ship hanging from the ceiling. The Bell (1784). To the west of the church is the former priest’s farmstead.

3. Jūrkalne cemetery. A monument to those who fell and went missing in the battles for the liberation of Latvia, in 1905 revolution and in the First World War (architect P. Dreimanis). In Valtaiķi, there are graves of the 22 men from Jūrkalne who were shot in aftermath of the revolution in 1906.

4. The site of the three-year maritime school (1871 – 1902). The school operated in the former Pilsberģe manor. Commemorative site (1989, sculptor G. Burvis) – Curonian boat, poles with incised old fishermen’s property signs (now practically collapsed).

5. Kvieši. The complex of the former soldier’s farmstead (1970s). According to the 1854 law, those who served in the Russian army were given small plots of land (on average a little more than 1 hectare). There is a residential house, barn, sauna, summer kitchen.

6. Rīva river (length 53 kilometers). On the seaward side of the bridge (1988) are the remains of a concrete dam, the site of a once-started and unfinished paper factory. Small waterfall. The river has high, steep banks covered with trees and bushes. A picturesque view of the river valley. The steep sea coast was described by J. Jaunsudrabiņš in the work Labrags (Collected writings, volume 14, Riga, 1984, pp. 333-334).

7. Former pioneer camp Naftinieks on the site of the former Labraga manor (only the foundations of three buildings remain from the manor). There are 19 trees of foreign species in the park, including Darmstadt pines with a pyramidal crown.

8. Labraga Lutheran Church (1896). Altarpiece Christ on the Cross and St. Mary Magdalene (T. Sprengel, 19th century).

Suiti places included in the map No. 5 and their numbers:

120. Sarnate settlement. One of the most important Neolithic monuments in the Baltics, found in the western part of the Sārnate peat bog (Podniekkalns, Vičaka) in 1937. Excavations were carried out in 1938-1940 (E. Sturms), 1949 and 1953-1959 (L. Vankina). Due to favorable conditions, the remains of buildings with various wooden equipment are very well preserved here. The dwellings of the settlement, which existed more than 4,500 years ago, are 16-35 square meters in size, quadrangular rooms, the walls of which are made of wooden stakes driven vertically into the ground, the spaces between which are woven with briars. One of the world’s oldest boomerangs was found in the excavations, as well as a 168 cm tall sculpture of a beardless man made of hardwood, a supposed idol image. Sārnate (Semba) lake growing in the Great Sārnate Swamp.

129. The place in front of Pāži, from where in the fall of 1944, thanks to the support of Sārnate fishermen J. Sūniņš, K. and A. Priedoliņi and legionnaires (Lithuanian), Latvian refugees were taken to the shores of Sweden by boat from here many times. After the intervention of the German gendarmerie, the departure took place near the mouth of the Sārnate Krievu ditch.

Suiti places included in the map No. 6 and their numbers:

1. Darvdedži medieval graveyard on the seashore near Bēņi. Excavations were carried out in 1936, both skeletal graves and a a cremation grave (circa 1400) were found. A part of the cemetery was washed into the sea. Here, the excavations confirmed the information from written sources that in some places the Curonians burned their dead as late as the 15th century.

2. Vecarāji. Residential building of a farmer and fisherman (1867), a barn.

3. Sculpture Mother Latvia (1989, sculptor Ģirts Burvis).

4. The former inn building (end of the 19th century), now a cultural center. The hall is arranged in the room which was used to keep horses.9.

9. Akmensrags (Bumbas kalns) on the ancient seashore about 0.5 kilometers from Bulduri farmstead. The coast is formed by a moraine, and at the foot of the former cape there are large piles of stones.

10. Rudumi cemetery. Bell tower (1907). Those who did not receive the Last Supper are buried separately in the northwest corner of the grave.

11. Lienoti. Here was born Pēteris Upenieks (1906 – 1972), deputy priest of St. James Cathedral and chaplain and pedagogue of Riga Theological Seminary. Nine of his books have survived as manuscripts.

12. Strēļu cemetery. Veronika Porziņģe, folklorist and singer of folk songs, was buried.

13. Regi manor (1890). The former Alsunga district hospital, now a nursing home, where Lāčplēsis Military Order holder Līna Freidenfelde-Čanka died in 1981. Three purple beeches grow in the park (7 hectares).

14. Tirlauku peat swamp near Bērzkalni. In prehistoric times, there was a lake connected to the sea. In 1890, an oak ship’s hull was found there.

15. Rungas. Elm 4.5 m in circumference.


First mentioned in writing in 1230, it has the status of a village in from 1950 to 1991. Now it is the center of the municipality and a collective farm. Alsunga ir the center of the ancient Land of Suiti (including Jūrkalne and Gudenieki municipal parishes). In 1623, the owner of Alsunga, J.U. Schwerin introduced Catholicism in the region. 1.2 thousand inhabitants (1989). Aleksandrs Lange, a mechanical engineer and civil servant, was born in Alsunga (1857).

16. Kalnbirze cemetery. An artistically valuable monument of E. Knipa. A Lutheran church has been located here. A pine tree with a circumference of 3.2 meters.

17. House on Raina Street 24. Lived (1929 – 1933) Eduards Upesleja (1914 – 1944), leader of the underground Young Communist League branch of Alsunga, participant in the Spanish Civil War. Commemorative plaque (1986).

18. Zieduleja, the ancient name Žīduleja (according to a story, a Jew once hanged himself here). Now stage (1975, architect O. Dombrovskis). A group of large trees (oaks and elms) on the steep valley coast of Kauliņa river (river length 26 km).

19. Upes iela 3. Elm 4.4 m in circumference.

20. Commemorative stone (1985) for the ethnographic film Kāzas Alsungā (Wedding in Alsunga, screenplay by Vilis Lācis, director A. Rusteiķis).

21. Memorial to the Alsunga residents – fighters for Soviet rule (1985, architect J. Andersons).

22. Alsunga Cultural Center (1967). Near the building, there is a memorial stone and two oak trees (out of the original four) for the participants of the 1905 revolution who were killed by the punitive expedition.

23. Castle of the Livonian Order in Alsunga. The oldest part (the central part of the southern building, with walls up to 2.3 m thick) was built in the 14th century, the guard towers and other structures in the 15th-18th centuries, the second floor of the western building – in 1938, when the building was used for school purposes. (For details, see G. Erdmani’s Medieval Castles of Kurzeme, 1989.).

24. House on Pils iela 2. The former municipal parish administration, later rebuilt (with the addition of a second floor).

25. Pils iela 4. In the yard, a double elm with a circumference of 5.2 m.

26. Strenceles. In 1935, the first Latvian ethnographic film Kāzas Alsungā or Wedding in Alsunga (earlier title Dzimtene sauc) was shot there. The granary seen in the film has been preserved, the house has been rebuilt.

27. Žibji. The other filming location.

28. Dižgabalkalns. Curonian castle mound. Height 8 meters, width 54 x 22 m. Instead of ramparts, a terrace about 9 meters wide all around the mound, on which there were wooden protective buildings.

29. Former Kalniņi graveyard (11th – 13th century). Cremated berials, archaeologically studied in 1959-1960. 36 burials were uncovered, 1432 antiquities were found, most of which were broken according to Curonian funeral traditions. One of the most archaeologically studied Curonian graveyards in Latvia.

30. Canteen and restaurant Bandava, grocery store.

31. Saint Michael’s Catholic Church (1632). In 1882 a cross section was created, two side altars were added. The painting of Saint Michael in the main altar. Organ (F. Veisenborns in Jēkabpils 1893). Julians Vaivods (1895 – 1990), later the first cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church in the Soviet Union, has worked here.

32. Alsunga water mill (artificial lake 9.6 hectares) installed on Kauliņa river.

33. Cafe Margava Skolas street 12.

34. Alsunga Secondary school (1986).

35. The former priest’s manor (1772), now the administration of the Alsunga collective farm and the executive committee of the Alsunga village (municipality). It is believed that in 1905, the first theater performance in Alsunga took place on the top of its barn – R. Blaumaņis, Skroderdienas Silmachos. It was organized by priest Pāvels Ozoliņš (later master of theology, professor of Riga Theological Seminary, 1878 – 1948).

36. The old school building (1877). Public Museum of Local History. Kārlis Šteinbriks, Knight of the Military Order of Lāčplēsis, was born here (1896 – ?). In front of the building, a monument to E. Upesleja (1970, sculptor Andrejs Jansons).

37. North Station. Memorial plaque (1990) for the inhabitants of Alsunga deported in 1941 and 1949.

38. Dzērveņu cemetery. The prominent kokle player Nikolajs Henķis (1864 – 1933) is buried. German soldiers who died in the hospital during the Second World War were buried near the graves (later reburied).

39. House at Dārza iela 7 (former Ķaupji). Pēteris Korāts, the famous kokle player and maker of musical instruments lived here, he was born in the former Mazie Lezeriņi.

40. Pinkuļi. In 1939, a dance rehearsal for the participants of the Third International Meeting of Folk Dancers took place here before leaving for Stockholm.

41. Moži. An old building (2nd half of the 19th century).

42. Court Hill. The place of punishment of the leaders of the peasant revolts of the 17th century and the place of the revolutionary rallies of 1905. Legend says that one of the severed heads jumped up three times and shouted: False! – and two birches with human figures in the branches have grown on the graves.

43. Lapu cemetery. The revolutionaries of 1905, A. Putniņš, A. Putniņš (son of Jēkabs) and A. Osis, as well as Jēkabs Dupats, who fell in the battle against the Landswehr in February 1919, Barbara Grundmane, the outstanding folk songwriter, author or the books The Making of Latvia’s State (1937) and Prosecution evidence (1943) Jēkabs Kalniņš (1908 – 1991), were burried here. The second book describes the dangerous works of Cheka (the Soviet Secret Service) in Latvia.

44. The ruins of Raibuļi windmill (1891).

45. Sedļi. The shooting place of Juris Jaunbirze (1876 – 1906), the chairman of the Alsunga Parish Action Committee in 1905, at a linden tree 100 meters from the house.

46. Margava river (length 6 kilometers). The tale tells about a drowned illegitimate child. On the banks, you can find spring lime, which is used for liming the land.

47. Irbes cemetery. Bell tower (1907) with decorative decoration. Crucifix. Andžs Ulmkalns (1891 – 1919) and Andrejs Putniņš (1894 – 1919), who were shot by Bermont soldiers, are buried.

48. Lazdas. The birthplace of prominent cyclist Emīlija Sonka (1939).

49. Dunduri. Matīss Korāts (1900 – 1978, son of P. Korāts) was born, a kokle player and maker of musical instruments.

50. Jaungaiļi ancient cemetery (Sauleskalns) between Jaungaiļi, Zvaigznes and Pīkšas. Possibly an early medieval cemetery.

106. The place where the revolutionary of 1905, member of the Alsunga Action Committee, Andrejs Putniņš, was shot in the forest.

107. The former Almāle manor building (circa 1880), now Alsunga and Ēdole forestry office.

108. Former site of the Bierandi farmstead. Memorial plaque at the place where Soviet intelligence officers Alfreds Ķude and Alberts Pētersons died in 1942. Oak 5.7 meters in circumference.

109. Galbāliņi. Filmed previews of director Varas Braslas’s film Emīla nedarbi (1985).

120. Kukšu cemetery. Grave hill on the shore of Lake Kukšu (42 hectares). The bell is fixed in oak branches.

121. Zvejas spruce tree. Near the farmstead is one of the largest spruce trees in the Baltics, the circumference of the trunk is 3.6 meters. From the Alsunga – Kuldiga road, you should turn at the farmstead of Kalngravas (Putraskalni).

122. Gāčas (1921, later rebuilt). Storage house (1787), at one end a clothes storage (19th century). Theater personality Zigfrīds Kalniņš was born in the house (1930). The owner of the house, Ansis Aniņš (1798 – 1882), went to Riga on foot twice between 1818 and 1825 to complain to the governor general about the arbitrariness of the manor. After the first move, he received a whipping, after the second, Count Schwerin and the nobleman were punished. A. Aniņš is buried in the Lipšņi cemetery. In 1987, Andris Slapiņš shot the wedding scenes for the film Cerību lauki.

123. Lake Dēlene (1.6 hectares).

124. Škupele forest. Soviet partisan camp site, restored in 1966. In 1945, the subdivision of partisans led by A. Strautmanis was located here.

125. Lipšņi cemetery. Jānis Aniņš (1864 – 1936), who played in the film Dzimtene sauc, is buried.

126. Pumpas Hill. The story of the sunken castle. The mountain is located in the Šķupele forest, about 0.5 kilometers from Silnieki.

127. Ancient graveyar of Kīši between Ķīši and Skaidrāji farmsteads. In 1964, while digging gravel, several human skulls and a bronze crown were found here.

128. Zvirgzdu lake (74.7 hectares) is located in a hilly area, the greatest depth is 5 meters. A legend about the formation of the lake.

129. Kukšu swamp. Kurzeme’s deepest swamp (12.8 meters).

130. Lake Putras (3.4 hectares).

132. Todaiži (Leiškalnu) castle mound near Pilsezers lake (3.7 hectares). Built on a hill about 15 meters high, in the north-west corner of which a rampart about 2 meters high is raised, while the southern part is fortified with a terrace. The flat part of the mound is one of the largest in the area (about 0.36 hectares).

141. Kukšas (living house, end of the 1930s). Andrejs Macpāns, commander of the West Courland soviet partisan unit, was born in the old, now demolished, previous residential building (1910 – 1945).

142. Dūres cemetery. Chapel with sculptures (19th – 20th century, A. Potockis), iron gate (1908), cross for T. Gūtmanis (1909).

143. Miltiņu krustojums. Memorial stone for the soviet partisans of West Courland (1944 – 1945).

144. The former Gudenieki manor. The (now Upenieki) servants’ house has been preserved.

145. The former Ciņi farmstead, where the cytologist and entomologist, Doctor of Biological Sciences Jēkabs Cinovskis (1906 – 1984) was born.

146. Vitkupi. Painter Jēkabs Spriņģis (1907) lived here as a child.

147. Place of Jaunarāji farmstead. Painter Antons Megnis (1907 – 1982) was born. The houses were on an elevation (39 meters above sea level), which was like an island in the former sea.

148. Memorial plaque at the place where an unknown person died in December 1944.

149. Kaibuti. Born Catholic bishop, author of The New Testament of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1949), Vincent Strelevičs (1898 – 1983, died in the USA). Oak 5.6 meters in circumference.

150. Kaibas Hill (60 meters). Moraine hill, the old shore of the Baltic Ice Lake.

151. Kāpenieki. Former farmstead of a retired soldier. Barn (4th quarter of the 19th century).

152. Botanical reserve (75 hectares). Juniper groves of various shapes.


Gudenieki is the center of municipal parish and a collective farm. 204 inhabitants (1989). Gudenieki village is located on a flat moraine hill, the soil is wet and heavy. That is why the local manor has not been rich and well known. Together with Alsunga and Jūrkalne, they form the Catholic Land of Suiti. The local ethnographic ensemble is well respected.

153. Administrative building of the collective farm and cultural center of Gudenieki. Memorial stone (1989) for the residents deported in 1941 and 1949.

154. Katlāpi (living house from the 19th century).

155. John the Baptist Catholic Church (1938 – 1947, interior works continued later).

156. Gudenieki nine-year school building (1935).

157. Memorial place for the partisan commander Arvīds Zīle, who fell in 1945, near the former house in Oši.

159. Former farmstead Āboli. The residential building (1888) and barn of the so-called soldier’s farm (1880) in 1954 have been moved to the Ethnographic Open Air Museum of Latvia in Riga.

160. Ancient graves of Billes between Billes and Valki. When digging potato pits, antiquities from the early Middle Ages were repeatedly found here.

164. Adze cemetery. A small chapel and an oak tree with a circumference of 4.5 meters.

165. Rīva river (length 53 kilometers) flows from Vilgāle lake. From the Maras forest to the Kuldīga – Apriķi road, it flows along a gorgeous ravine. Dolomite outcrops can be seen at the place where the river passes from the Rietumkursa highlands into the lowlands. The right bank of the river behind Apriķi road is the old coast of the sea.

179. Ģēģeri. Near the house is an early medieval cemetery, where bronze ornaments and silver coins have been dug up.

180. Jaunā muiža cemetery. An oak tree, in the hollow of which an information point for partisans was set up during the Second World War.

181. Ērkulis lake (6.4 hectares). The lake is located in a ravine formed by glacial melting waters, which stretches further towards Ēdole.


The center of the former Basu municipal parish and Birži manor. 94 inhabitants (1989). Captain Antons Bruders (1906 – ?; deported in 1941), commander of the Latvian warship Virsaitis, was born.

183. The former Birži manor (19th century). Now Basu nine-year school. Barn, storage house and former servants’ quarters. Memorial stone (early 1970s) to the fallen residents of the municipal parish. Park (4.5 hectares). Common beech.

184. The former Birži windmill.

185. Maltītes Hill. A hill with a peculiar shape, steep sides. Legend says that during the Swedish war, soldiers ate their last meal here – according to various versions, both Russian and Swedish soldiers. The Russians carried the mountain in their hats. The small swamp where the Swedes threw their weapons has now been reclaimed.

186. Guļas. An early medieval cemetery near the farmstead.

187. Kunkuļi. Oak 7.0 meters in circumference.

193. Naglu cemetery. The grave of the 1905 revolutionary Toms Ķezberis and the teacher and local historian Jānis Šperliņš.

194. Nuģa hill 104 meters above sea level.

195. Maučas (living house beginning or middle of the 19th century).

196. Zvirbuļi. According to Marija Šperliņš, a storyteller of old customs who lived in the house, her son Jānis Šperlinņš compiled the book Senās suitu kāzas u ķekatas (1937), her advice was used in the shooting of the film Kāzas Alsungā. Both are buried in Naglu cemetery.

197. Basi castle mound. A small (25 x 35 m) but well-fortified mound, whose northern and western slopes are 12 m high, steep and difficult to access. The mound was protected from the south and east by three ramparts and ditches, two of which were almost completely plowed over the years. It was a legend about the ancestral castle, which was tied to a thick oak tree with a linen rope so that it would not sink.

198. Former magazine (municipal grain reserve storage house), now warehouse. Initially, the left side of the building belonged to Basi municipal parish, the right to Klostere municipal parish.