Viljandi

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Viljandi (German: Fellin) is a town in Viljandi County, Estonia. It is at 58.37N 25.60E. The population was 20,756 in 2000. The town was first mentioned in the commentaries to "Geography" by the Arab al-Idrisi in 1154 under the name Falamus.

In 1211 it was besieged by a joint army of Germans, Latvians, and Livs. The Livonian Sword Brethren captured the town in August 1223 from a contingent of Russians. The following year the Grand Master Volquin led the construction of the Fellin castle, which was one of the largest in the Baltic region. It was a major fortification of the Sword Brethren and was appointed a commander from 1248. The fortress was continually rebuilt and modernized over the next two-hundred years.

In 1238 the town received a charter from Wilhelm von Schuborcht, the master of the Order. The town was a member of the Hanseatic League from the beginning of the 14th century.

In 1470 Johann Wolthuss von Herse, the master of the order, took up residence in the castle. In 1481 Ivan II of Russia laid siege to the castle but could not take it. However, during the Livonian War the Russian Empire succeeded in seizing it in 1560. During the Polish-Swedish War at the beginning of the 17th century the castle changed hands several times and fell into ruin.

After the Great Northern War the Russians revoked local autonomy until 1783, when in the course of the regency reforms of the Empress Catherine the Great Viljandi became a district town. This involved the re-establishment of town bylaws. The economic and political importance of Viljandi started to increase. The population, after decreasing in population and wealth, started to rise again, as handicraft, trading, and cultural life were revived.

Culture

Famous for Viljandi Folk Festival

Link

et:Viljandi lv:Viljandi nds:Viljandi

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