Telšiai

Telšiai is a city in Lithuania, the capital of Telšiai County and Žemaitija region, and the 12th largest city in the country (29,000 inhabitants). It is built on seven hills and encompasses northern part of Lake Mastis.

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Telšiai at night with a view of the Cathedral

The city was named after a small rivulet, Telšė which flows into the Lake Mastis. A legend has it that a Knight named Džiugas founded the city. Telšiai was first mentioned in written sources around 1450. During the November Uprising in 1831 Telšiai became a sanctuary for Polish–Lithuanian partisans fighting the Russians.

During the years of Lithuanian independence, 1918 to 1940, Telšiai grew rapidly. Several girls’ and boys’ high schools, a crafts school and a teacher’s seminary were founded. The Alka museum was built, and several cultural societies were operated.

During the first Soviet occupation, as a result of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Telšiai became infamous for the nearby Rainiai massacre, the mass murder of 76 Lithuanian political prisoners perpetrated by the Red Army during the night of June 24–25, 1941.

Present day architectural monuments include Telšiai Cathedral. Telšiai has a rare, surviving wooden synagogue.

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