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Kaļķleju svētavots

Kaļķleju Sacred spring


Kaļķleju Holy Spring – a cult site – is located in Balgale Parish, about 1 km south-west of the former Galtene Manor, at the forest edge near the farm of Dores. The spring rises in a 3 m-deep hollow, forming a pond a few square metres in area, from which it flows as a small stream into the River Oksle. At present, since there has not been any serious excavation in the vicinity of the spring, it is impossible to say how long it has been in use. It may be noted only that the oldest coin known to archaeologists found in the immediate vicinity of the Holy Spring dates from 1854, but it is entirely possible that the spring was used for various cult activities long before that.

There are several tales about the Holy Spring, one of which was related by the former resident of Kaļķlejas Farm, Berta Bodniece: “They say that the water of this spring is very good for the health and never goes stale, even if you keep it in a bottle for a whole year. If your eyes are weak or you suffer from some other ill, then you should wash several times with the water, and you’ll get well again. But every time you draw water from the spring, you have to leave some sign of remembrance, and so in ancient times the branches of the spruce tree growing by the spring were full of various items.

Even today, some people go to the spring to draw water on Holy Thursday, keeping the water for the whole year. Some people know various stories about the spring. Once, someone’s horse went lame. He brought the horse every evening and washed the affected leg, and after a while the horse was cured. In ancient times, even the pastor went to the spring to hold a service. The water in the spring is always bubbling and brings up a steady stream of yellow sand; the water is very cool and clear. But the spring doesn’t bubble all the time (so they say). You have to approach it so that the spring does not see you: as soon as it sees you, it’ll start to bubble.” It is also said that there was once a ‘Church Hill’ near the spring.