The Vijciems Cone Kiln has been listed among European cultural heritage sites.
In the late 19th century, when the northern part of Latvia was hit by vast forest fires, reforestation had to be considered. It was decided to build a cone drying kiln in the area so as to ensure the required supply of pine and spruce seeds. In 1895, a kiln was put into operation not far from Vijciems, at Mežmuiža. The facility worked without interruption until the mid-1970s.
The Vijciems kiln remained shut down for more than 25 years. Due to the efforts by Miķelis Pētersons, a forester of long standing form Zīle Forestry, the facility has retained all of its original equipment as it was back in 1895.
Since 2000, the Vijciems Cone Drying Facility has been managed by the state-owned JSC “Latvijas valsts meži” (Latvia’s State Forests). The company combines business with keeping the heritage values alive, and the Vijciems Cone Kiln also functions as a museum.
The Vijciems Cone Kiln offers:
- Toursfor groups and individual visitors;
- A demonstration of the cycle of processing pine and spruce cones;
- Information about the historical Mežmuiža estate;
- Processing seed cones for forest owners.