Talsi is a city in the north-eastern part of Kurzeme, the center of Talsi region on the north-western edge of the Vanema hill in the North Kurzeme highlands. The city is known as the "city of nine hills". Talsi is the 18th largest city in Latvia in terms of population.



Talsi was first mentioned as a village on the land of Vanema (villa Talse) in a 1231 Curonian treaty with the Pope's envoy, Balduin, from Alna for conversion to the Christian faith. In 1422, the ancient city of Talsi was mentioned near the Curonian Talsi castle mound (German: pilsahten to Talsen), but until 1434 the Livonian Order built the castle of the Talsi Order in Dzirnavkalns, which was part of the Kandava bailiff. Talsi was severely affected by the Second Northern War, during which the plague broke out in 1657 and in 1659 Swedish soldiers destroyed the Order's castle, which was not rebuilt later. The great plague epidemic was caused by the Great Northern War, when in 1710 only 10 people survived in Talsi. In 1819, Talsi became the center of the Hauptmannschaft Talsen, which was subordinated to the Governor of Tukums. In 1894, Talsi was granted limited city rights. During the 1905 revolution, Talsi 3-5. In December, they completely fell into the hands of the rebels, they were fired with cannons by a Russian punitive expedition.

In 1917, Talsi gained city rights. Narrow gauge railways were built from Stende wide-gauge railway station to supply the northern coast, connecting Talsi with Mērsrags and Roja, as well as with Dundaga, Mazirbe and along the sea shore with Ventspils. In 2009, Talsi municipality was established, which included most of the municipalities of the former Talsi district and Talsi retained the status of an administrative center. In the 2017 local elections, Edgars Zelderis from the party "We - Talsi and the municipality" became the chairman of the Talsi County Council.



Talsi is located on the north-western edge of the Vanema hill in the North Kurzeme highlands, the territory of the city has a pronounced hill relief. Nine Talsi hills are Talsi castle mound (where the Curonian castle was located), Ķēniņkalns (next to the sculpture "Koklētājs"), Saules kalns (there is a water tower), Tiguļi hill (there is a museum), Baznīckalns (located Talsi Lutheran Church), Dzirnavkalns once there was a mill and a stone castle of the Livonian Order), Leču Hill (there is a monument to the victims of 1905), Krievragkalns (there is a hotel "Talsi") and Vilkmuiža Hill.

Next to Vilkmuiža lake are Krievragkalns and Vilkmuiža hill. Dzelzupe tributary of Stende flows out of the lake. The Talsi castle mound is located by Lake Talsi, which was previously connected to Lake Vilkmuiža. Currently, the connection is in a hidden rainwater collector to drain water from Lake Talsi.


A city of nine hills

Talsi castle mound
Talsi castle mound is a 30 m high and 0.4 ha Curonian castle mound, which is located opposite Lake Talsi. The mountain was inhabited from 10 to 14. century. Talsi castle mound is called one of the best fortified and largest Kursa castle mounds. One of the most researched castle mounds. There have been three notable archaeological excavations here:
No 1936-1938 under the leadership of A. Karnup. In total, more than 4,000 antiques were collected.
From 1992-1993. Under the leadership of J. Asars, a 1.7 meter thick layer of culture was found.
In 2001, archeological excavations were carried out under the leadership of G. Zemītis.

King's Hill
The name of Ķēniņkalns may have originated from a person's surname "Ķēniņš" or it was named due to its majesty. At the end of the 19th century, the landlord of Pastende donated this land to the city to set up a park there, so it was later called the City Garden. It hosted balls, outdoor performances, concerts and sporting events until the 1960s.

At the foot of Ķēniņkalns there is a monument "Koklētājs", which was created in memory of Latvian freedom fighters. Its author is Kārlis Zemdega, although the monument was planned to be erected in 1930, but it was completed only in 1996 according to the plaster model created by the author, sculptor Vilis Titāns.

Tiguļi hill
Tiguļi Hill is the highest mountain in Talsi, 105 m above sea level. At the top of the hill is an oak plantation in the shape of a circle, which indicates that it may have been an update of an ancient cult site. At the foot of the hill is a dendrological park, where you can see 270 different trees.

Every year in the first week of June, the open-air "Outdoor Music in Tiguļkalns" takes place on Tiguļi Hill, organized by Raimonds Tiguls.

Sauleskalns is 94 m high. It is believed that Sauleskalns, Ķēniņkalns and Baznīckalns were once interconnected with visors, so it was possible to determine the calendar time and it was used to observe sunrises and sunsets.

There is an open-air stage in Sauleskalns, which was built in 1960. In summer, various cultural events take place there. The staging is built in the form of an amphitheater.

Baznīckalns/ Church Hill

The church hill is mentioned in ancient writings as a place of ancestral worship. At the top of the hill is the Talsi Evangelical Lutheran Church, built in 1567, which is considered to be the oldest stone building in Talsi. Karl Ferdinand Amenda, a friend of Ludwig Van Beethoven's youth, once served in this church.

Dzirnavkalns/ Mill
Dzirnavkalns (formerly called Sudmalkalns) is an 87 m high hill located opposite Lake Vilkmuiža. The hill got this name due to the fact that Dutch windmills operated there in the 19th century, but they were burned down in 1922. The stone castle of the Order of German Knights was once located here. The mill hill is considered to be the place of worship of the ancient ancestors, because at the beginning of the 15th century the Livonian Order built a stone castle in this place.

Vilkmuiža hill
Vilkmumuiža hill is 77 m high and is located at the foot of Vilkumuiža lake. It is believed that the mountain and the lake got such a name due to the fact that many lupines grew at the foot of the lake or because a raging owner called a werewolf lived there.

Lake Vilkmuiža is a peculiar burial place of ancient Curonian fires in the period from 11 to 14. century. Around 4,000 antiquities have been found in the area through various archaeological research.

Krievragkalns is 79 m high. The hill got its name due to the fact that at the end of the 19th century an Orthodox church and a school building were built here on the land of Talsi state or crown manor. In 1972, the Orthodox Church was blown up.

Leču hill
Leču hill is 83 m high. It got its name thanks to the "Leču" house, whose properties were located here before World War II.

At the top of the hill is a monument from 1905 to 1907. participants in the 2006 revolution. The monument was erected in honor of the shooting of six participants in the Talsi armed uprising. The monument was created by the sculptor O. Nigule, it was erected in 1980. A fragment from Rainis' poem "Talsi Court" is engraved on the monument.