Araisi Archaeological Museum Park at the Latvian National History Museum. Between 1965-1975, near Cesis in Latvia, a fortress was excavated in a lake, dating to the 9th century AD. The excavating archaeologist, Prof. Apals, found himself 25 years later leading the on-site reconstruction, leading to the first archaeological open-air museum in this Baltic country.
About 25.000 visitors come here yearly, of which 50% school children. The latter visit throughout the week in the months May and September while the tourist visitors usually come in the weekends of June, July and August, most of which come from Riga.
It is now one of the best visited museums of Latvia, branch of the National Museum for History. The museum counts besides the reconstructed lake fortress also a small Stone Age village and an original castle ruin.
The museum has ties with the Latvian national identity / culture but also combines natural and cultural heritage. During events, Latvian folklore sometimes plays a role as well as living history groups which include professional silver smiths and ceramists. Guides are wearing living history costume.
The houses are on average about 26 square metres large – very small, but fitting the archaeological evidence. The museum is an attempt to present the past in an absorbing, educative and sometimes entertaining way, based on facts. High authenticity in construction, ceramics and textiles are what the museum is known for.
There are walking trails in the surrounding environment past monuments of archaeological or historical importance.