Telšiai

 

Telšiai is a town and seat of the Rajongemeinde of the same name in western Lithuania, in the Lower Lithuania region (Lithuanian: Žemaitija, ancient: Samogitia), of which it is the original provincial capital. Telšiai is the seat of the Telšiai administrative district. The city has developed into an important religious center for Jews and Christians since the 17th century. Telšiai is the Roman Catholic bishopric and houses a Catholic seminary and a Bernardine monastery.

The core town of Telšiai is located about 29 km east of Plungė. The urban area extends around Lake Mastis and along the Durbinis River and includes seven hills.

The city's original star-shaped floor plan has been preserved to this day. The cityscape is determined by the brick architecture of the early 20th century, but buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries have also been preserved. The center of Telšiai is dominated by the Bishop's Cathedral (Lithuanian Šv. Antonio Paduviečio katedra), which is situated on a hill and consecrated to St. Anthony of Padua and was built in the second half of the 18th century in the late Baroque style. The richly decorated interior with seven altars, stylistically assigned to the transition period between Renaissance and Classicism, is worth seeing.

The seminary next to the cathedral looks back on more than two hundred years of history and is one of the most important institutions of its kind in Lithuania. It was founded in 1740, but was closed by the Russian and Soviet authorities between 1863 and 1927 and again between 1946 and 1989. Opposite it, the Bishop's Palace was built in 1929.

The main street of Telšiai, the Respublikos gatvė ("Street of the Republic") runs between the central town hill and the Mastis Lake and leads to the market square (Turgaus aikštė in Lithuanian) with the town hall and a bell tower with a dome in the middle of the square. The black bear under the hood can be found in the city arms.

In 2016 Telšiai was the cultural capital of Lithuania.