Abava River valley.

95. päev. Sabile – Kandava.

The Forest Trail leads down Ozolu street and Zīļu street (“oak” and “acorn”), near which there is an open-air stage “Ozolāji” (“oak-trees”) . Many oaks and small oak stands can be seen on the banks of the Abava valley. Oaks have a special significance in the religion and mythology of the Baltic nations. There was a belief that the deities Māra and Meža māte (the Mother of the Forest) lived in the oak groves. By the tree, the deities were prayed and given sacrifices, the spirits of the ancestors were fed, magic rituals and divination took place. Oaks are mentioned in Latvian folk songs, and nowadays, the coat of arms of the Republic of Latvia is decorated with oak-tree, as were national banknotes. Oak branches and leaves are used for anniversaries and other celebrations – Midsummer wreaths, family celebrations, Song Festival, etc. In the past, coffee was made from oak acorns. There is information that Latvian oaks have the densest wood, therefore it was popular with European medieval artists. Oaks larger than 4 m in circumference are protected trees and are included in the list of large trees. In the Tukums region, there grows the Kaive Oak (circumference 10.2 m) – the thickest tree in the Baltics. Unfortunately, oak forests were ruthlessly felled in previous centuries and now only small fragments have survived. Today, oak forests are protected habitats and important place of life for many protected species of plants, mushrooms and animals.