The park’s prime attraction is an ancient Latgalian settlement from the 8th/9th to the 10th century reconstructed as per research from the excavations. The new exhibition at the visitor centre is a valuable addition and displays archaeological evidence for the first time since the excavations took place in the 1960s and 70s.
It features both special discoveries as well as everyday items and pieces that illustrate what residents of the lake fortress did for a living. Jānis Apals’s journey from the first underwater archaeology expeditions and archaeological research to the first scientifically sound reconstruction of a settlement in the Baltics is particularly exciting. The exhibition is designed to educate and inspire and to be explored independently through discovering and treasuring the most valuable insights.
In 2020, the year the exhibition opened, the Archaeological Society of Latvia has declared Āraiši Lake Fortress the archaeological monument of the year. 2020 is also the year researcher Jānis Apals would have turned 90. The visitor centre, which houses the exhibition, has already won the second-best wooden building prize at the Gada labākā būve Latvijā (Building of the Year in Latvia) awards.
H2E Design Studio is behind the exhibition’s design concept. Sanda Salmiņa (Āraiši ezerpils Archaeological Park), Guntis Zemītis (Institute of Latvian History at the University of Latvia) and Dace Tabūne (Cēsis History and Art Museum) developed its content.
Āraiši ezerpils Archaeological Park attracts attention with its unique archaeological findings, the fact that reconstructions are rarely built in their original location, and the well-preserved cultural landscape which is characteristic of the Vidzeme region. The park is not only home to the reconstructed island fortress, but also the ruins of the 14th century Āraiši medieval castle and reconstructed Stone and Bronze Age dwellings on Meitu Sala island.