Three fishermen’s villages and two farmer’s villages have been united in Lapmežciems rural municipality.
The story goes that once in this place a lot of deciduous trees were growing, in that way the village obtained its name. But Pēteris Belte, a major of Jūrmala and bearer of the Three-Star Order, in his book issued in 1935 wrote that the first inhabitant of the village was “German Lappe”, in Latvian language it means “Laplander”.
Over this territory several wars had taken a place with the lapse of time and together with them deaths and disasters, however always life and order had been renewed in this place.
Lapmežciems is the centre of the rural municipality and also the largest of five villages. The School, the municipal house and the community house are located here. Every year the rural municipality festival takes place here, now they are popular in all of Latvia – Fishermen’s festival.
Lapmežciems is divided from another fishermen village Ragaciems by the river Starpiņupīte, whose digging was ordered by duke Jēkabs in 1667/68 in order to join the Lake Kaņieris with the sea. The village obtained its name from the headland, which goes into the gulf of the sea.
Between the river Starpiņupīte and Ragaciems a large sand-dune is located with the name Ship Mountain. The story goes that in ancient times local people built a fire in order to allure passing ships. Thinking that there is a port, they tried to land, but became stranded. Then these conmen sneaked up to the stranded ship and killed all seamen, even cut their legs off in order to obtain boots, plundered the ship and carried the stolen things to Tukums in order to sell them.
In 1933 Imants Ziedonis, writer and poet, was born in a home named “Birutas” in Ragaciems.
Nowadays almost all visitors of the village visit Ragaciems’s fair, where fish freshly smoked by fishermen can be bought, or stop to have a meal in the local café because Ragaciems is like a middle point on the way from Riga to Kurzeme’s seaside.
It was established in the 18th century at the coast of the river Siliņupe. Bigauņciems is the first fishermen village that is met driving from Riga. The story goes that in ancient times one man with three sons escaped from their cruel master across the sea came from an Estonian village, but one inattentive clerk from the rural municipality wrote the letter “B” before the name, so the name “Bigauņciems” was created [in Latvian the word without the letter “B” means Estonian village].
In the 19th century Bigauņciems started to develop as a place for rest, and several summer cottages were built. In 1824 the Riga traffic of coaches was opened – in the evening of Friday they arrived to Bigauņciems, but in the evening of Sunday they went back to Riga.
Due to the special landscape of this fishermen’s villages several famous Latvian films were shot here – “Zvejnieka dēls” [Son of the Fishermen], “Nāves ēnā” [In the shadow of the Death], “Svešiniece ciemā“ [Stranger in the village].
Several years ago a path of the Kupskalns National Park was opened in Bigauņciems, which led from the Talsi road directly to the beach and the old breakwater.
This village is located in the South-Eastern part of Lake Kaņieris, 5 km from Lapmežciems. This village suffered a lot during World War I because long and violent fights took place around the village. After the war the village very quickly developed, its inhabitants were successfully farming, supplying food to Ķemeri sanatoriums. However firing in World War II was so hard and destructive that inhabitants were forced to become refugees, and at the moment none of the former local inhabitants are living in Antiņciems this is also true in Čaukciems.
Čaukciems in old Bretany language means “back side”. In the same way as Antiņciems, it is also located at the coast of the Lake Kaņieris. It is interesting that since 1783 Grenze’s firebreak divided the village between Čaukciems and Smārde territories, so therefore one part is in Vidzeme Region and the other in Kurzeme Region.
In 2002 Kaņieris path on Kaņieris castle mound was created between Antiņciems and Čaukciems, now it has already became famous for tourists as a very well known object.