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VALDEMĀRPILS (SAßMACKEN)

          Valdemārpils (until 1926 called Sasmaka) is located 16 km north of Talsi, on the shores of Lake Sasmaka. In ancient times a Kurši castle and worship site stood on nearby Dupurkalns Hill. Sasmaka was first mentioned in historic sources in 1582, but the town started developing in the early 19th century.
           Services in Valdemārpils Lutheran Church (mid 17th century) are still announced by bells cast in 1653 and 1657. Several elements of the church’s fittings – the altar with paintings and the painted pulpit – are unique Mannerist works of art, whose creators may have been locals or self-taught travelling artists. The traditional, historic motifs in their works are interpreted in a simplified, naïve manner.
          Sasmaka was renamed Valdemārpils in honour of the locally born leader of the national movement Krišjānis Valdemārs.
          The remains of a synagogue and its ancillary buildings constructed from the 18th to the 20th centuries have survived in Valdemārpils.

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