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Vosvi Gods’ Hill with the Māra's Footprint Stone (Vosvu Dieva kalns ar Māras pēdas akmeni)

Location
State:
Latvia
Region:
Vidzeme
County:
Alūksne
Parish:
Veclaicene
Other references to the location
Between the Vosvi and Stat-counters.net
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Šķepasti, 1.5 km S from the Druski Hill Fort, on the E coast of the Klotiņi Lake, 200 m NW from the Vosvi homestead.
Coordinates
lat=57.57786454064554, lon=26.91773750985862
57° 34' 40" N, 26° 55' 3" E
Description

State archaeological heritage (State Inspection for Heritage Protection, No 222). It is a unique object in terms of Latvia, which is proved both by the names of the hill and the stone. The object is privately owned, well spruced up and facilitated surroundings. The Gods’ Hill is situated in the N-S direction. It is an approximately 100 m long loaf-like hill that rises to the height of 240.1 m amidst the picturesque landscape of Veclaicene. 300 m south from the Gods’ Hill there is the Koruļi Lake, west from the hill there is the Klotiņi Lake relative to which the hill is about 60 m high. The hill with steep slopes resembling a buck’s back rises about 50 m above the surroundings. On the top of the hill, however, not on its peak, there are four moss-covered stones. The biggest of them is called the Māra Footprint Stone. On the surface of the Vosvi Māra Footprint Stone (length of 2.7 m, width of 2.3 m, height of 0.3–0.7 m) one can see traces of fire. There are several hollows in the stone. Two of them are 16–18 cm long, 7–8 cm wide and resemble foot-prints. Vosvi Gods’ Hill and Māra Foot-Print Stone are thought to be an ancient pagan cult site. This is suggested by both the hill and stone name. Geologist V. Grāvītis has expressed the hypothesis that Vosvi Māra Foot-Print Stone was used for taking a bearing of the sunset in the evening of the solstice day. By the typical feet-like hollows the stone is to be listed among the foot-print stones. (J. Urtāns. Foot-Print Stones, Boundary Stones, Trough Stones (Pēdakmeņi, robežakmeņi, muldakmeņi). On the top of the hill there are nine more considerably-sized stones which have remained from the ice age. No archaeological excavations have been made which could reveal more information about the role and rites connected with the ancient cult stone. The object is located in the Veclaicene Protected Landscape Area, it is Natura2000 territory.

Narrative

The old inhabitants of the Škepasti call the place the Maria’s Hill (Marijas Kalns) because here the Maria of Reugade from the Estonian church climbed on a big stone to get on her horse and two footprints remained on the stone after that. Another version of the legend has it that Maria climbed a donkey and thus the two well-visible feet were imprinted on the stone. However, where could there have been a donkey and Virgin Mary at the Estonian border? In Latvia the formation of footprints in stones is mainly referred to the devil. (Urtāns, 1993). This is a significant example of the syncretism of religions when the ancient pagan beliefs and customs interweave into the Christian religion. In the legends the image of the ancient Latvian deity Māra mixes with that of Christian Mary. The geologist and investigator of the ancient customs Viktors Grāvītis described in the Nature and History Calendar of 1985 how he had found the ancient people’s place for watching sunrises and sunsets in the Māra Footprint Stone on the God’s Hill, something like an ancestors’ sky observatory because the observation conditions were ideal here to all directions when there were no trees.

Attraction
A unique site for Latvia, well looked-after and maintained. The owners take care, cut bushes and are making a path. The hill is regularly mowed. A beautiful picturesque site, the area around the stone
Availability
The site can be easily found. From Vidzeme highway there is an indication sign, further there is another sign to the site in the road intersection. One should go through a homestead. Its proprietors are responsive and show the site.
Infrastructure, management, facilities
There are indication signs both from the Vidzeme highway as well as on the local significance road. The site can be reached by crossing the meadow. No infrastructure.
Local info
No written information. The proprietors know that it is an ancient nature shrine, however, do not co
Capacity
0 - 9
Publicity
Popular
Legal Status
Private

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