Zagare Things to Do
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Some 100m before (to the South) Semigalien castle mound Rakte there is an old Jewish cemetery. It is located on a small hill on the left side of the road if you are heading North – to Latvia. Sadly, but now because of the Holocaust Jewish community is non-existent in Zagare, so don’t expect the usual-look cemetery. There are just old grave stones on the small hill and nothing else.
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This is a place where in 13th century Semigalian wooden castle Rakte stooded. Of course no remains have left as it was made from wood. Semigalians were one of Baltic tribes which later formed Latvian nation. Their living area was in Central Southern Latvia – Zemgale region – where towns Jelgava, Bauska and Dobele are nowadays as well es Central Northern Lithuania. Rakte was one of about five main castles of Semigalians. It was captured by German crusaders in 1298 and this region around Rakte was incorporated in the feodal state of Riga archibishpop. I don’t know when this place and region became a part of Lithuania, but if I am right (though not sure) it was not in Livonia already some 200 years later. Actually there is one more castle mound (from later period?) in Zagare town. I didn’t visit it, but if you will ask locals where castle mound (piliakalnis) is you can get different answers. So, if you want to visit exactly Rakte then better don’t ask;) Just go to Latvian border and just before the border (50m?) on the right side will be a hill where now is Christian (Lithuanian and Latvian) cemetery. This is the castle mound – Rakte. I am not sure how would react sleepy border gurards if you will go down this small hill to Northern side, but you can explore the castle mound from all other sides without a problem.
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