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Trip PlannerEurope  /  Latvia  /  Kurzeme Region  /  Talsi


National Parks · Ruins
Talsi is a town in Latvia. It is the administrative centre of Talsi Municipality. It is nicknamed the "green pearl of Courland".EtymologyIt is believed that the name is derived from an old Livonian word, talusse, meaning "secluded place".HistoryEarly historyA hill fort has existed in Talsi at least since the 10th century, originally inhabited by Curonians. The settlement of Talsi is mentioned in written sources for the first time in 1231 during the Middle Ages, in a contract between the elders of a Curonian tribe and the papal envoy Baldwin von Alna. During the Northern Crusades, the settlement came under German over-lordship and a castle was built in Talsi during the late 13th century. The settlement grew in the 15th century, when traders and artisans from German-speaking lands settled in Talsi. The presently visible main church of the town was inaugurated in 1567; pastor, a close friend of Ludwig van Beethoven, worked in the church for many years. During the reign of Duke Jacob Kettler, an iron smelting furnace was constructed in Talsi, an early industrial development. The town has suffered from the plague twice (1657 and 1710) and was devastated by a large fire in 1733. The town became part of the Russian Empire in 1795 together with the rest of Courland. At that time, Baltic Germans constituted about sixty percent of the population. At the end of the 18th century, Jews were allowed to settle in Talsi for the first time. Most of the Jews who settled in Talsi originally came from Lithuania and would with time come to form a substantial part of the town population. Eventually a synagogue was built in Talsi.
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