“TheCeļotājs” –
Priekule Town Sights in Courland
   
Epilog –
Priekule Town Sights
 
Upon the conclusion of my one day visit and guided excursion of the Town of Priekule, I was asked of all the places and sights visited, what were the most interesting places and sights to me. Since I was still downloading and processing all the data that I had taken in during this time, all I could do was name a couple of places and sights. Now that I have had time to reflect back and process all the data that I had taken in, the pictures and information, I have to say at this time, it is hard to name just one two or even three places or sights, because every place we went to and everything I saw was very interesting to me, be it the old historical church, Castle Observation Tower, Priekule Swedish Gate, Priekule Castle Manor or Priekule Lutheran Church. Even the Priekule Russian World War II Military "Soviet Warrior's" Cemetery.
 
So I will take them in the order of this excursion. This by no means, does it nor will it reflect on what maybe of interest to others. With my many travels through Latvia, I have found that different people have different interests or sights they are interested in, their interest may not be what I maybe interested in. Their approach to history may not be the same way I approach history, their interest in historical buildings, landmarks, or past events in history may not be my interest in history nor how I approach history nor look at it in the same way. Their mission may not be the same mission that I have while visiting Latvia and its may historical towns and cities.
 
So with all that said, let us go on with the excursion of the Town of Priekule and its many different sights. Leaving the Tourist Center we will starting with the Castle Observation Tower and move on from there and finish at Priekule Russian World War II Military Cemetery which is known as the World War II Soviet Warrior's Cemetery and is the largest military cemetery with some 23,000 Soviet Soldiers and Officers who fell during World War II are interned there.
 
Starting with the Castle Observation Tower, is a round brick tower that dates back to 1680. Was built at the end of the new Corfu Palace exterior refit 19th century built at the end of the observation tower. Now if you can under stand all that, you're doing better then I did when told this. History with little to no  further information other then what is passed on through the time. 
 
The Priekule Swedish Gate, which was built in the year of 1688 with a Korff family emblem hammered in the Cothland sandstone, a silver bullet and a mascaron ornament at the central part of the façade of the gate. In the niches, stone guard soldiers with a threatening look were built in both sides of the Priekule manor gate passageway. The more then two meters high sculptures were comically colored, the boots of the soldiers were black, the trousers were blue and the jackets were brown. Before the Second World War, there had been a belief, if one was to kiss a belly-button of the guard soldiers, then this person would experience happiness in the future. Today the Swedish Gate is guarded by wooden soldiers made by local masters, and you can definitely try to kiss their belly-button. When I visited the Swedish Gate, the building was in disarray and in bad need of repair and up keep. The building exterior walls are in bad need of painting since the paint is fading and pealing. Nor were the wooden soldiers present. The area around the Swedish Gate was under construction, this maybe why the wood soldiers were missing and why the building is such disarray. Maybe they have clean up the building and put the wooden soldiers out during the summer. Besides all this it is still worth exploring. 
 
The Priekule Castle Manor was built a century later than the Swedish Gate; in several sources it is mentioned to have been in the year 1797. In the second half of the 19th century the castle was repeatedly reconstructed. The famous architect Max Bertschy had worked there. An extensive castle renovation took place, the front stairway, the balcony for the exit of the second floor and the 3 castle observation tower was built. At the moment Priekule secondary school is situated in the castle which has renovated the castle cellars with thick concaves. When we were there, the exterior was in much need of repair, especially the front stone stairways. they are cracked, sinking and moss covered. The balcony railing is made of metal and a bit of paint would do wanders to it. Even the exterior plastered walls, the plaster is pealing in many places showing the red brick wall behind it. It is said that the castle under went a extensive renovation to its front stairway, the balcony. Just when this was done no one knows. The condition the building is in today, it must have been a couple hundred years ago. Just what the interior looks like we weren't able to see since it now a secondary school and classes were in secession at the time we visited it. Besides all this, it is still worth while exploring.
 
Priekule Evangelical Lutheran Church was built in baron times around 1680. In 1792, it experienced reconstruction and gained its present look. The church has always been small; it can host only around 100 people at the same time.
 
Even today there are many legends about the church. Marta Ķere has heard, that in the manor times “in the middle or the second half of the 19th century”, when the church was surrounded by fields of crops an unbelievable event happened there. Manor worker women had been loading oats, and two girls had agreed to climb through a window in the church cellar on the side of the dressing chamber, where at a depth of around two meters barons had laid in coffins. Stories were told that the barons had been very rich, and the girls needed to see the treasures in the coffins. One had soon climbed out, but the other one had stayed in for longer. A man walking around the church had heard a girl groaning. This girl had died soon afterwards, but the first one received punishment, to sit in front of the altar for the whole time of the service.
 
While walking around the church grounds you can see many graves that date back to around the 19th century. The two monuments one on each side of the front door date back to the early to late 1800's "1830 - 1873". I'm not sure in what language the engraving is in, for when I tried to translate it, it comes up with gibberish. The burial vault covers are so weathered and moss covered that the writing on them is unreadable. So are just a stone and metal marker. But besides all this, Priekule Lutheran is well worth visiting.
 
Priekule Town Sights are a mixture of other sights of Priekule. These are from an old stone building ruins, to a construction company removing to top part of the street payment making ready to be repaved. Other pictures showing a hand laid brick sidewalk before being laid and after along with stone curbs. There is also pictures of Priekule Medical building. Plus some views of streets.
 
Finally we finish our excursion and visit to Priekule with a visit to Priekule Russian World War II Military "Soviet Warrior's" Cemetery is the largest warrior’s cemetery in Latvia, where more than 23,000 Soviet Soldiers and Officers who fell during World War II are buried here. The relatives of the killed have been coming here for many years on the 9th of May to commemorate with flowers and take moment of silence with their closest ones. In the spring of 2011 the memorial place experienced extensive renovation works thanks to the financial support of the Russian Embassy.
 
On unfortunately this is all the information one can find on the Military Cemetery since the main building was locked when we were there. Guess it is only open on the 9th of May each year, which is when the Russians celebrates Victory Day or the end of the Great Patriotic War. 
 
In conclusion 
 
These comments should by no means reflect on your visit to Priekule. These comments are what we observed and the many different places that were visited as well as ways they could be improved in order to cover the history of Priekule much better.
 
The history of a village, town, or city is its life blood of its attractions to others who may be interested in visiting. Not everyone visits' a town or city to just visit their local brocial or pub. The more history of these villages, towns, or cities and its many historical attractions that is available the more attractive it becomes to others. This is one of the things I look for before visiting a given or certain village, town or city. The more historical history I can find on these places and its attraction, the more interest it becomes to me to visit. Another thing that would help attract more visitors is their website in more then just Latvian. Which I understand is the countries official languish, but not everyone can read and write or speak Latvian. Another think I have ran into when dealing with these places is when you email a Tourism Information Center, if they can't read the email, they just disregard it which kinds of leaves one hanging. 
 
With my many travels through Latvia, 95% of the Tourism Information Center websites have a choice of either Latvian or English. To which is one of the places I go to just see what a place has to offer. If they do offer English, there is so little to nothing for information it isn't worth while to visit. If they would translate their main pages to English or use an embed translator one would have a fighting chance. I have been lucky to find a work around some of these web sites. But not everyone has a built in browser translator. But again this is now I look at places to visit and what historical sights they have to offer.
 
So have a good visit to Priekule.
 
"TheCeļotājs" 
 
 
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Revised: 04/15/2013 - 07:25:20