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Cone dryers

Location: N57° 35` 8.02", E25° 57` 13.6"

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Cone oast is located in Vijciems. Since the 1895 it was continuously working until 1969, when it was decided to close it, but historically there oasts are still extant. After regaining the independence of Latvia in 1992, oast started to work again.

A real bushwhacker knows that a cone oast is required for a successful creation of a coniferous forest, so that it could be possible to provide seeds required for forest renewing. This cone oast works with wood heating, therefore it is impossible to compare it with the oasts which are working on electricity. 

At the end of the 19th century, wide forest fire touched Northern Vidzeme – it had to be thought how to renew the forest. It was decided to build a cone oast here, which would provide the amount of seeds required for the forest. In 1895 not far from Vijciems – in Mezmuiza – a cone oast started its work, which was continuously working up to the middle of the 70ies of the 20th century, when it was finally stopped. 

Vijciems cone oast was working for more than 25 years. Thanks to the long-term effort of Zīle forestry forester Mikelis Petersons, all the instalments were preserved as they were back in 1895. 
Vijciems cone oast is now owned by AS “Latvijas valsts mezi,” successfully combining cone oast core activity and keeping the historical meaning, because Vijciems cone oast is working also as a museum. 


One night two poets were visiting Vijciems cone oast – father and his son – Imants and Rimants Ziedoni, who later in their book “Latvia – land of forests” compared this place with a fairytale house: “Such a beautiful fairytale house – clean, warm, two men in their shirts are collecting cones and cones there are literally so much that it is not possible to count, and they crackle in different tones and different intonations. You even start to think that they are alive. The process how the seeds from the cones are heated, shaken out is the very same as it was a hundred years ago. When the cones arrive, the bags with them are hung on the chain and pulled up to the third floor trough the hatch. Then from the third floor they are run down via canvas tube to the second floor into some kind of squirrel wheels – twenty four cylinders where the cones are kept for some week to be dried, shaken and rolled. The cones are turned for several times per day, when they are cracking, spitting and cursing, in that way taking out the last of the seeds.”