Kolka: it’s truly an amazing spot! – You don’t believe? Look at the map! The Cape here is the sharpest edge along the Latvian coastline and was initially named “Nose of Thomas”, by the Vikings. In form of a sandbank and treacherous shallows, it reaches for more than three miles into the sea, having caused headaches and troubles to sailors throughout all history.

It was the fleet of the Swedish king Gustav II that suffered the biggest disaster from Cape Kolka: not a sea battle, but the weather conditions alone, surprised the Swedish fleet under the able and experienced command of Fleet Admiral Flemming in such a way that the fleet, comprising a total of fourteen ships and headed for the island of Ruhnu in the Bay of Riga, ran into the shallows outside Cape Kolka instead, and got mostly destroyed: ten out of the fourteen sail ships and fully laden with war-bounty, capsized and were lost there.

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Nowadays, and properly marking the entrance of the Irbe Strait (gateway from the Baltic Sea to the Bay of Riga), there is the new, and Latvia’s most important, lighthouse, erected on Latvia’s only, and artificially built, island that was constructed beyond the outskirts of the Cape Kolka shallows, in safe waters. It’s predecessor and equally, most important lighthouse in Latvia, still continues to exist in form of a (dimishing) pile of rubble and stones, right at the edge of the Cape, and reminding us of some five hundred years of history and strategic importance of this spot: namely to protect and mark the gateway and entry to the Bay of Riga and to the important Hanseatic city of Riga, herself. An uncountable number of war- and trade vessels have been passing this gateway, throughout known history, all of them contributing, in a way, to shape the current face of Kolka and the character of the people living here.

Able, skilled and determined Livonians from Kolka left their mark in Latvia’s history. In the course of the 19thcentury, they organised a civil unrest and public upheaval and subsequently, presented their protests to the (Czarist) Governor General of the Baltic countries. Aiming to appease the revolting Livonians, the Czar attempted to convert them to the Russian-Orthodox Confession, then he organised to have an Orthodox church built in Kolka, and he promised those people all the niceties they could wish for, as well. Nowadays, the latter church is a rather unique landmark of Kolka. – Most significantly, our homestead Ushiis situated just over the road from it.

Most people believe that Kolka is an extremely remote location. Not true, at all! – Geographically it sits, spot on, in the very centre of Europe, which will be explained in more detail later on, under the heading “Getting to Know the Surroundings / Kolka”.

Interested? – Just get on your way!