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Telšiai ( , Samogitian: Telšē), is a city in Lithuaniamarker with about 35,000 inhabitants. It is the capital of Telšiai Countymarker and Samogitia region, and it is located on Lake Mastis.


Name of Telšiai has also been known to be written in different forms in different languages throughout its history, mostly derivatives of Samogitian dialect Telšē. Some foreign names for the city include ; ; .


Telšiai in the evening
Lake Mastis is mentioned in various legends and myths. 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 Sovietmarker occupation, as a result of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Telšiai became infamous for the nearby Rainiai massacremarker, 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.

Jews in Telšiai

The Jewish community was proud of its renowned yeshiva, or rabbinical college. In 1941, the Telshe yeshivamarker was resettled in Cleveland, Ohiomarker by a group of faculty members who escaped the Holocaust. The original yeshiva building still stands in Telšiai.

Under the subsequent Nazi German occupation in World War II, large Jewish population of Telšiai was almost completely annihilated.


Nearby Šatrija hill (227 m), is a nature preserve.

Twin city

Famous people


  2. Center for Jewish Art (2004). "Preserved Wooden Synagogues in Lithuania". The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Retrieved on December 17, 2008.
  3. [1]

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