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Menkuļi Church Hill (Menkuļu Baznīckalns)

Location
State:
Latvia
Region:
Riga
County:
Limbaži
Parish:
Skulte
Other references to the location
Between Menkuļi, Samši and Kalnkrogs, by the Bezdibenis Lake
Coordinates
lat=57.4058333333, lon=24.5072222222
57° 24' 20" N, 24° 30' 25" E
Description

The Menkuļi Church Hill is situated at the border of Skulte and

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Stiene parishes, and in different descriptions it is oriented against different landmarks. The closest homestead to the Church Hill is the Samši, from which the Church Hill is situated about 200 m NE. Influenced by tales, another nearby homestead was named the Pilskalni (Hillfort) about 300 m W of the Church Hill. The so called Menkuļmūri (the Menkuļmūri Walls) fit in well into the unified tale chain – odd and for the present vaguely explainable wall ruins by the Ezermalas homestead and the Menkuļi homestead about half a kilometer S of the Church Hill and a small marshy lake - the Bezdibenis Lake (the Abyss Lake) located the closest to the Church Hill – about 100 m away from it in SSE direction. The Church Hill is oriented also against Kalnkrogi situated by the highway about 300 m in NE direction of the Church Hill. The Kroņi homestead indicated in other sources as a landmark of the Church Hills is located near the Menkuļi in S direction of the Church Hill. The folklore is still vivid in the minds of the local people. The Church Hill was indicated by Inta Brikmane from the Ezermalas homesetad. It is a hill oriented in N-S direction, against which the Bezdibenis lake leans with its marshy valley, but from the W side the hill is limited by a marshy lowland overgrown by trees, behind which there is the Samši homestead. The hill stands out against the nearby surroundings for about 4 – 5 m, otherwise it has no other distinct border; it has several hillocks, it is 100 m long and about 50 m broad, overgrown by a birch grove, which is now partially cut out. This year the ditch flowing from the Bezdibenis lake has been cleaned up. The Church Hill and the Bezdibenis Lake are well seen from the Skulte – Limbaži highway.

Narrative

1) "[...] Behind the Mazupīte River, there is the Ezermaļi homestead, a former servants house. The lake was drained in 1959 by straightening the Mazupīte River in order to drain the waters of the Stiene Marsh into the Bezdibenis Lake. 650 m in NW direction of the Kroņi homestead, there is the Mālkalns Hill, where, as told by the tale 16, there was a church, a lake and a burial site. At night, "Misiņzābaks” (Brass Boot) rose, and if it saw people, it ran down the hill and into the lake. It was carrying a money chest, which sank in the lake. At the slope, the walls have been preserved (p. 264) from the Swedish Times, whereas their lower layers are half a century older. Another tale (Latvian Folklore Repository (hereinafter referred to as "LFK") 17, 1987, 1) narrates that they wanted to build a church there, but as much as they had built during the daytime, so much the Devil destroyed during the night. So they failed to build the castle, but the stones brought there had remained. This fabulous place was poetized by Vilma Kalde in a longer verse "The Renewed Tale about the Menkuļmūri Walls”. [...] The Bezdibenis Lake (the Abyss Lake) is to the left of the road, they say it is connected to the sea.” (LFK 1850, 7704); [...] (S. Rusmanis. Unknown Latvia. – SIA Apgāds Mantojums, 2006, 263–264) 2) The Menkuļmūri Walls. On the slope behind the Menkuļi manor house across the Mazupīte River, there have been castle walls preserved from the Swedish Times. It seems that the wall remains have been constructed in different times. Under the walls, there were two cellars, out of which one has remained. The Menkuļmūri Walls are entwined with tales; they say that in the moonlight, the old Devil sits there and smokes a hooked lacquered pipe. There are tales narrating that there were two underground passages leading from the castle, out of which one was leading to the Mill of the Dzirnupe River, but the other - to the Bezdibenis Lake —a small lake, the depth of which one cannot measure and which is also called the Devil's Dwelling. Another tale narrates that they wanted to build a castle there, but as much as they had constructed during the daytime, so much the Devil destroyed at night. So they did not manage to build the castle, but the stones have remained. (A. Strautniece. Skulte parish. The Veiled Stories of the North Vidzeme Landscape. Editor S. Ikauniece. The State Forest Service, 2011, p. 149 [148–149]) The Mālkalns Hill. It is situated not far from the Stiene – Skulte border, now overgrown by forest. There used to be a church, a lake, but on the hill there was a burial ground. At night, if "Misiņzābaks” (Brass Boot) noticed people, it ran down the hill into the lake jangling. It carried a money chest, which sank in the lake. 50 years ago someone went there to dig that money out. It was narrated by the narrator's mother (born in 1888), to whom, in turn, it was narrated by the father. The hill of 650 m of the Kroņi homestead in NW direction. (Latvian Folklore Repository 2049,13. Recorded by: Sigurds Rusmanis, 1992. Narrated by: Elza Osipova, born in 1921 in Kalnkrogs of Stiene, now living in the Kroņi.

Attraction
Unattractive
Availability
It is hardly accessible, one has to cross the fields and then through the overgrown bush.
Infrastructure, management, facilities
None
Local info
None
Capacity
0 - 9
Publicity
Unknown
Legal Status
Private
Comments
The object is of interest only to specialists.

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