Kurljandskaja gubernija

by A. Oranovsky, St. Petersburg, 1862. The full Russian text can be found here from Google Books. The excerpts below, translated into English by Karen Freund, are used with the translator’s permission. Some are included here in pdf format in order to preserve the integrity of the numerous tables of data included with the text.

Materials for Geography and Statistics of Russia: Courland Gubernia

Cities in Talsen Uyezd


The town of Talsen, the residence of the Talsen Hauptmann and uyezd peasant courts, is located on the shore of a small lake, in an elevated and picturesque area known as Courland Switzerland.  The origins of this town are in the XVII century.  It has: 7 streets, 89 buildings, 41 shops, 3 hostels, 10 pubs, 1 Lutheran stone parish church, 1 Jewish synagogue, 1 Jewish prayer house, 1 pharmacy and 1,211 residents of both sexes.  In Talsen there are: 3 breweries, 1 parish school and 1 Jewish school.  The town is better built than some Courland cities, and if it doesn’t have great riches, the cleanliness that one encounters everywhere forces one to assume that the residents are far from needy.  In Talsen there reside 11 merchants of the 3rd Guild, engaged in the dairy business.

The town of Kandau is located on the high right picturesque bank of the River Abau.  Its fortified castle, of which there now remain only ruins, was built by Ordensmeister Eberhard Sayn in 1254.  During the time of the Order, it was the residence of the Kandau Vogt.  In the town there are: 4 streets, 57 buildings, 24 shops, 4 hostels, 4 pubs, 1 Lutheran stone church, 1 synagogue, 1 pharmacy, 3 breweries and 795 residents of both sexes, half of which are Jews.  Here there reside 10 merchants of the 3rd Guild, with little turnover.  The rest of the population works in small crafts, running taverns, as well as in gardening and horticulture.  In the two schools located here, 1 parish and 1 Jewish, up to 15 children are students.

The town of Zabeln lies 14 verstas from Kandau, on the right bank of the River Abau, in a deep valley surrounded by high and picturesque hills.  It has: 3 streets, 32 buildings, 13 shops, 2 inns, 8 pubs, 1 pharmacy, 1 brewery, 1 Lutheran stone church, 2 synagogues and 790 residents of both sexes.  Nearby Zabeln the remnants of an ancient fortified castle can be seen; when it was built has not been positively determined, just as there is no historical record of when it was destroyed.  Only from one folk song, printed in Innland (17 and 18 April 1847, appendix) is it evident that the castle still existed in 1530, and at that time Herrmeister Walter Plettenberg lived there.  Near Zabeln there are two mounds, of which one is called the Swedish Tomb and the other the Russian Tomb, which forces us to assume that in the Northern War skirmishes took place here between Swedish and Russian troops.

The town of Sassmacken, near Lake Ervalen, has its origins in the XVII century and consists of 4 streets and 60 buildings, with 1,150 residents of both sexes.  In the town are: 25 shops, 1 hostel, 1 Lutheran stone church, 1 synagogue and 1 Jewish prayer house, 1 pharmacy and 2 Jewish schools with 20 students.

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