Photogenically set on an islet in the middle of Āraiši Lake, Āraiši Archaeological Park is a reconstruction of a fortified settlement inhabited by Latgallians, an ancient tribe that called the region home in the 9th and 10th centuries. A wooden walkway leads across the water to the unusual village, which was discovered by archaeologists in 1965.
Peering across the lake are the ruins of Āraiši Stone Castle (Āraišu mūra pils), built by Livonians in the 14th century and destroyed by Ivan IV’s troops in 1577. From here, a path leads to a reconstructed Stone Age settlement – there are a couple of reed dwellings and earth ovens for roasting meat and fish. The fortress and castle, together with the iconic 18th-century Āraiši windmill (Āraišu vējdzirnavas), are signposted 1km along a dirt track from the main road and form the Āraiši Museum Park (Āraišu muzejparks). The complex is 7km south of Cēsis.