Amatciems Banner
Amatciems is a small enclave 80kms. east of Riga. It is a unique setting combining old and new. The old, of course, is the natural beauty of the setting, unspoiled forests and fields. The new aspect is the concept of community envisioned by the developer, Čiris, who imagined a community of like-minded people living in a nature-centric world. He describes Amaciems as "my vision [of] how to live in the facilitated village and get on well with nature, wild animals and other inhabitants of Amatciems. The Internal Rules are provided for like-minded people who do not consider them as restricting their action but promoting peace and silence. They determine that there are no fences in the village, during the evenings and night time it is not allowed to make a loud noise and remind that dog is a friend of yours and can not be chained."

Contemporary Latvian HouseTraditional HouseAs can be seen from the banner photo above, Amatciems is a community built in the forest surrounded by a series of small manmade bodies of water. The houses tend to be either traditional (photo on left), or contemporary with a nod to traditional design, as is the case of our hosts' house (photo to the right).
What they have in common is their privacy--each house is nestled within its own natural coccoon, as few houses have a view of another dwelling.

ForestThe area was a mixture of grasslands (not unlike our recent visit to �land, Sweden) and heavily wooded areas. We saw both in our walks around the area, including a mushroom foraging expedition with our hosts! The grassland is shown in the photo at the upper left, while the photo upper right shows the wooded areas and one of the manmade ponds dotting the landscape. Another unique feature of Amatciems was the wooden walkway that wound around a considerable portion of the area, allowing easier access to other parts of the enclave than trekking through the woods. It is visible in the banner at the top of the page and in the photo at the bottom right. One of the highlights of Amatciems is Latvia's only 5-star hotel and spa, Jonathan Spa, overlooking the water. It is shown in the photo Walkwaybottom right. Below this paragraph is an aerial Jonathan Spavideo of Amatciems, shot from this boardwalk. (My flying skills must have been a bit rusty, as the first part of the panorama is a bit blurry due to my rotating the Mavic Air too quickly. The last part of the video is much clearer!)

Aerial View of Amatciems

FarmhouseBarnOn our way back from the boardwalk we had a taste of rural life as Olga and Sergey stopped by a local farmhouse to purchase some milk and fresh cheese, just as people might have done 100 years earlier. The photo to the left shows the farmhouse where the eggs and cheesse are stored and sold, while the photo to the left shows the barn. Living in Amatciems seems to combine many of the comforts of modern life with the rural pace and flavor of traditional Latvian society.

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