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Nature specimen

Mīlestības saliņa

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Mīlestības saliņa is an island in Riga, Kurzeme District. It is located on the left bank of the River Daugava, next to the Daugavgrīvas sala. The island is included in the Daugavgrīva locality.

Mīlestības saliņa has a triangular shape. Its NE side is washed by the River Daugava, W side – by the River Baļļupe, but from S it is washed by the Channel Loču kanāls. The island is low, mean height of the island is 1-1.5 meters, marshy, with small overgrown lakes. The highest part of the island is located on the side of the River Daugava. The island is covered with trees and bushes.

Area of the Mīlestības saliņa is approximately 0.6 km2. The island begun to form in late 19th century along the construction of dikes regulating the bed of the River Daugava between the dike straightening the bed and the mouth of the River Baļļupe, of sand and slime collected by the River Daugava piling up.

The Freeport of Riga Authority is thinking about updating of management regulations of the Mīlestības sala, thus creating a possibility to maintain it, possibly make part of it available to visitors, and to establish information stands, improve conditions for protected species due to which this reserve was established. Mīlestības saliņa is in a special care of the Freeport Authority – each year during the working bee employees of the Authority work in the Mīlestības saliņa.

Mīlestības saliņa is included in the Natura 2000 nature reserve.

Krēmeri nature reserve

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Nature reserve Krēmeri was founded in 1993 as a local importance nature reserve with the aim to preserve and protect a nesting ground in Riga City significant to birds. In 1999, a status of state importance nature reserve was given to the reserve. Area of the nature reserve is 15 ha. Per area it is the smallest specially protected nature territory in Riga.

Nature reserve Krēmeri is located on the left bank of the River Daugava between Voleri and Krēmeri. User of the land of nature reserve is the Freeport of Riga Authority. The small territory was excellent from the point of view of diversity of bird species in the late 80-ties and early 90-ties of the last century. Nine protected bird species were found there, including a large colony of the black-headed gull (300-400 pairs).

Vecdaugava nature reserve

Vecdaugava nature reserve was first founded in 1984 as a complex nature reserve, in 1987 it was taken under protection of the state in the area of 65 ha, but in 1990 it was enlarged to 236 ha. It is located in the Northern district of Riga City on the peninsula of Vecdaugava. It is a low land tongue of sandy, loamy and peaty sediments with flat relief in the distributary of the River Vecdaugava. Here, mainly dry and flood-land meadows can be found, as well as moorland and dune vegetation in the central part, near waters – reed stands and osier bushes.

392 species of spore plants and seed plants have been found in the reserve. The protected plant species here are Armeria maritima, water sedge, horned pondweed, Gladiolus imbricatus, Siberian Iris, Juncus gerardi, small pasqueflower, Jovibarba globifera, Dactylorhiza baltica.

The reserve is a significant bird nesting place in the Riga City. 40 bird species have been found here, 29 of which are nesting in the reserve. Those are protected bird species: whooper swan, common kestrel, corncrake, marsh harrier.

Cultural-historical monuments

Daugavgrīva abbey

St. Nicholas Daugavgrīva Abbey was founded by Cistercian order monks in the lead of Albert. In written sources the abbey is first mentioned in 1205.

Fortified, masonry abbey was located near the bed of then River Daugava 2.5 kilometers from the debouchment into the sea. Nowadays River Daugava has another bed and the location of the abbey is now near the old bed of River Daugava – Vecdaugava.

It has been marked in the map elaborated by the Swedish War collegium in 1653 that the old fortress has been destroyed, and the castle – in ruins. Stones of the castle masonry walls were used in construction of the Daugavgrīva fortress on the other bank of the River Daugava.

ⓒ 2009 Gatis Pāvils

Daugavgrīva lighthouse

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At the beginning it was located in the territory of current Vecāķi, but when the river changed its bed, the lighthouse was built in the XVI century at the new mouth of the River Daugava (Neumünde) where it has been already marked in the map of Riga of 1536. On 5 December 1582, Stephanus Rex, the king of the Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania gave an order on construction of a lighthouse in Daugavgrīva.

In 1721, it was mentioned in the list of lighthouses of the territories added to Russia. In 1788, a log tower was built, on the top of which a fire was fired on an iron platform. In 1818, another lighthouse begun to operate on a 31 m high wooden tower on a masonry foundation, the light source of which were several oil lamps. During the Crimean War in 1854, the upper wooden part of the tower was torn down, but in 1857 it was restored. In 1863, a crude iron tower of sectional construction was established on a granite foundation (height 31 m). There were two lights in the lighthouse – a white flashing fire and a red constant one under it which could be seen from a smaller distance than the first one.

In 1915, Russian army blow up the lighthouse, but after that German occupation institutions built an approximately 30 m high temporary wooden tower that burnt down during the 15 October 1919 firing of the Bermondt army.

At the beginning of 1921, construction of a white reinforced concrete tower was finished, the height of which together with the lantern was 32 m. The tower on the lowest part was octagonal (up to the marking of 13 m), and higher – round. The inner diameter of the tower is 3.25 m. A rotating light device with acetylene burner and searchlight lenses from the Swedish company AGA were installed in the lighthouse (they were changed in 1926). Height of the fire was 33.5 m asl.

Wehrmacht blow up the lighthouse when withdrawing in October 1944. In 1945, a temporary wooden tower was built, but in 1957 – current lighthouse of Daugavgrīva.

Mangaļsala forts

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The forts were built and changed during a longer period of time. Both Germans, Swedes and Russians have taken part in its construction.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Russians established two artillery forts – one in Mangaļsala in Magnuskalns, the second one on the other side of the River Daugava.

At the beginning of the 20th century – in 1912, construction of several forts was commenced in Mangaļsala and Bolderāja. Two forts were built with 254 mm for cannons, six forts with 152 mm for cannons and three forts with 138 mm. Two cannons were placed in each fort.

Tsar stones

In Mangaļsala, not far from the breakwater, on the bank of the River Daugava, stones of Russian tsars have been immured into concrete, which confirms that emperor Alexander II was exactly here in 27 May 1856, but successor of the throne Nicholas – on 5 August 1860.