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SABILE (ZABELN)

           The town of Sabile is located in the picturesque old Abava River Valley, about 25 km from Talsi. From the 10th to the 13th centuries a Kurši castle and village were located on the Sabile Hill Fortress (on a hilltop between two gullies on the south slope of the old river valley). The most recent archeological studies suggest that the ancient village was inhabited as late as the 15th century, although the political and commercial administration of the district had been taken over by the Order Castle (which has not survived) built further down on the banks of the Abava at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries with its “service zone.”

          Sabile Lutheran Church was built in the 17th century, and materials from the crumbling Order castle were used in its later reconstructions. The church was fully reconstructed in 1876, however the earlier tower (1682) and an even older bell with the date "1450" engraved on it remained unaltered. The most precious items in the interior are the mannerist pulpit (early 17th century), chandelier (1680) and candlesticks (1692). The altar painting (1860) by the German artist Wolf is believed to have been brought from Dresden.
          Located on the south facing slope of the old Abava River Valley is the Sabile Wine Hill. Grapes have been grown here since the 16th century, and under the Dukes of Kurzeme quantities of the local wine were even exported.

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