The castle mound has the steepest slope in Latvia. Its absolute height is 247 metres, but its southern slope from the side of Lake Pilskalns is nearly 90 metres high. Due to the correlation between the steepness of the slope and the relative height, it is the steepest hill in Latvia. From the eastern side of the hill you can enjoy a wide view over the surroundings.
It is the eleventh largest lake in Latvia (15,7 km²). It is situated 183.7 metres above the sea level. No river flows into it, but it is a source of a tiny river, the Alūksnīte. There are four islands in the lake – Cepurīte (Hat Island), Garā (Long Island), Tīklu (Net Island) and Pilssala (Castle Island) which is the biggest of the islands. The peninsula separates the the bay of the lake from its basic part. The unique buildings along the shore of the bay are boat cabins. The lake management company „ALJA” offers the rental of water bikes and boats. You can also obtain fishing licences there.
Telephone: +371 26141741, +371 26477147 l
In 1683, the German priest, Ernst Glück, settled in Alūksne and started the greatest work of his life – the translation of the Bible into Latvian. In 1685 he finished the translation of the New Testament, but in 1689 – the Old Testament. To commemorate the great job, he planted two oak trees in the park opposite the priest’s manor house. The oaks are still green, and next to them you can see the memorial stone with the carved inscription „Glück’s Oaks 1685-1689” which indicates the years of the translation of the Bible.
The hill is a national cultural monument as it is an ancient Latgalian castle mound and a place of an ancient town. One of legends tells that during the Great Northern War Russian soldiers used their caps to bring the soil and make the hill higher to attack the fortress on the island more successfully. In 1807, Baron von Vietinghoff ordered to build a granite rotunda – the Temple of Glory – on the top of the hill to commemorate the events of the Great Northern War in Alūksne and to honour the memory of the military leaders of both warring countries – Russian Count Boris Sheremetev and Swedish Captain Vulf, but the hill got its still existing name – Temple Hill.
The Sunrise Garden was made according to the pattern of the ancient stone calendar. In the middle of the garden there is the central stpone and an oak tree. The surrounding stones on the eastern side make imaginary lines which connect the central stone with the sunrise place at the horizon in Alūksne, thus it is possible to determine the set of the special days in Latvian traditions. The outer rim of the garden is divided into 12 segments of months, and in each segment there are special species of trees or shrubs which represent the particular month. The boulders found in the region and the plants cultivated here form the stone calendar.
The second part of the 18th century marks the beginning of the development of the park. In the beginning of the 19th century, the park was rearranged in English style according to the fashion of those days. Thus the most beautiful park in Vidzeme and one of the most considerable arboretums in the Baltic was created.
The park is exclusive for its architectural buildings. Everybody can enjoy also the artistic works of the 21st century. They were made in the Stone sculpture symposium at Zvārtava during the summer of 2001.
The territory (74 ha) has been formed to protect the habitat of marsh, swamp and swampy forest. There are a lot of small mineral islands. In the nature reserve you can find the early marsh-orchid, the heath spotted-orchid, the bog-orchid and the stiff club-moss which are specially protected species of plants.