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For other uses, see Kaliningrad (disambiguation) and Königsberg (disambiguation).
Image:Flag of Kaliningrad.png Image:Kgd gerb.png
Flag Coat of arms

Northwestern Federal District
Kaliningrad Oblast
Mayor Yuri Savenko (2005)
Geographical characteristics
 - City

215.7 km²
 - City (2005)
   - Density

Coordinates 54°44′0″N, 20°29′0″E
Elevation 4.8 meters m
Time zone
- Summer (DST)
Other Information
Postal Code 236010
Dialing Code +7 (040 12)
License plate 39
Website: http://www.klgd.ru/en/

Kaliningrad (Russian: Калинингра́д), until 1945 known by its German name Königsberg, then briefly as Kyonigsberg (Кёнигсберг), is a seaport and the administrative center of Kaliningrad Oblast, the Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea. As of the 2002 Census, its population was 430,003.

Under its original German name of Königsberg , it was the capital of the German province of East Prussia, the earlier Duchy of Prussia, and before that of the Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights.


[edit] Geography

Kaliningrad is located at the mouth of the navigable Pregolya River, which empties into the Vistula Lagoon, an inlet of the Baltic Sea. Geographical coordinates 54°43′N 20°31′E. Sea vessels can access Gdańsk Bay and the Baltic Sea by way of the Vistula Lagoon and the Strait of Baltiysk.

Until circa 1900 ships drawing more than seven feet of water could not pass the bar and come into town, so that larger vessels had to anchor at Pillau (now Baltiysk), where merchandise was moved onto smaller vessels. In 1901 a ship canal between Königsberg and Pillau was completed at a cost of 13 million mark, which enabled vessels of a 21 foot draught to moor alongside the town. (See also Ports of the Baltic Sea.)

Khrabrovo Airport is located 24km north of Kaliningrad, and has a few scheduled/charter services to several destinations throughout Europe.

[edit] History

Map of Kaliningrad Oblast in the historical Northeastern Prussia.
Image:Kaliningrad map.PNG
Locator map on an international level

[edit] Teutonic Order

Around 300 BC an Old Prussian settlement called Tvanksta (also Tvangste, Tvangeste) was founded near the site of modern Kaliningrad. This settlement was conquered and destroyed during the conquest of Prussia by the Teutonic Order. In its place Königsberg ("King's Mountain", Latin: Regiomontium) was founded in 1255 by Bohemian King Otakar II of Bohemia and named in his honor due to his involvement in the Northern Crusades. Over a long period, the Teutonic Knights, assisted by various knights from Western Europe, conquered the indigenous Baltic Old Prussians. This marked the beginning of the extermination of pagan Baltic culture and German colonisation of the area. The small remaining population of Old Prussians eventually became Germanised. However, the Old Prussian language did not become extinct until the 18th century.

Königsberg was originally the capital of Sambia, or Samland, one of the four dioceses into which Prussia had been divided in 1243 by the papal legate William of Modena. Saint Adalbert of Prague became the main patron saint of Königsberg Cathedral, one of the main landmarks of the city.

Königsberg eventually became a member of the Hanseatic League and an important port for the southeastern Baltic region, trading goods with Prussia, Poland, and Lithuania.

As a result of its defeat in the Thirteen Years' War at the hands of Poland, the Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights was reduced by the Peace of Toruń in 1466 to the area of the later Duchy of Prussia, held by the Teutonic Order under the feudal overlordship of the Polish crown. The Order saw the actions of Poland as a betrayal of their original mission, while the Polish Duke of Masovia, Konrad, had granted the crusaders only the small Chełmno Land as a fief for the duration of their mission to Christianize the pagan tribes.

[edit] Duchy of Prussia

With the secularisation of the Order's territories in 1525, Grandmaster Albert of Prussia of the Hohenzollern dynasty became the Duke of Prussia after paying feudal homage to King Sigismund I of Poland. The capital of the fief was Königsberg (Polish: Królewiec). It became one of the biggest cities and ports of the Prussian region, having considerable autonomy, a separate parliament and currency, and with German as its dominant language.

Anna, daughter of Duke Albert Frederick, married Elector John Sigismund of Brandenburg, who was granted the right of succession to Prussia on Albert Frederick's death in 1618. From this time the Duchy of Prussia and Königsberg were ruled by the Electors of Brandenburg, the rulers of Brandenburg-Prussia.

[edit] Brandenburg-Prussia and German Empire

In the Treaty of Oliva in 1660 the Hohenzollern dynasty negotiated the release of the Duchy of Prussia from Polish sovereignty for the duration of their line, upon the expiration of which the duchy would revert back to Poland. By the act of coronation in Königsberg in 1701, Elector Frederick III of Brandenburg became King Frederick I of Prussia, King in Prussia, independent in Prussia (though not in his other domains) from both Poland and the Holy Roman Empire. After the Partitions of Poland, Königsberg became the capital of the newly-created province of East Prussia within the Kingdom of Prussia.

Königsberg became a centre of education when the Albertina University was founded by Albert of Prussia in 1544. The university was situated opposite the north and east side of the Königsberg Cathedral. In 1560 Albert's sovereign, Polish king Sigismund II of Poland equalled the university in law with the University of Kraków. In 1900 it contained the Municipal Library. In 1862 a new university in the Renaissance style, was completed. The facade was adorned by an equestrian figure in relief of Albert of Prussia, the founder. Below it were niches containing statues of Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon. Inside was a handsome staircase, borne by marble columns. The Senate Hall contained a portrait of Emperor Frederick III and a bust of Immanuel Kant by Friedrich Hagemann. The adjacent hall ("Aula") was adorned with frescoes painted in 1870. The university library was situated in Dritte Fliess Straße and contained over 230,000 volumes. There were 900 students in 1900.

Königsberg as well was the place where the first printed books in Lithuanian language were published and it for long remained the center of the publishing in Lithuanian because here there were educated Lithuanians (from Lithuania Minor, which was as well part of East Prussia; in Lithuania Minor sermons after the protestant reformation were held in Lithuanian, and thus Lithuanian prayer books were needed). Protestantism and policies of Prussia promoted education and this helped as well. The first non-religious Lithuanian books were published later as well.

It was the birthplace (1690) of the mathematician Christian Goldbach and the home of the philosopher Immanuel Kant. In 1736, the mathematician Leonhard Euler used the arrangement of bridges and islands at Königsberg as the basis for the Seven Bridges of Königsberg Problem which led to the mathematical branches of topology and graph theory. More latterly Königsberg was the birthplace in the 19th century of David Hilbert, the most influential mathematician of the first half of the 20th century and professor at the German intellectual centre of the University of Goettingen.

Also in the Dritte Fliess Straße was the Palaestra Albertina, established in 1898 for the encouragement of the higher forms of sport among the students and citizens. Nearby were the government offices, adorned with mural paintings by Knorr and Schmidt.

In the König Straße stood the Academy of Art with a good collection of over 400 pictures. About 50 works were by old Italian Masters; and some early Dutch paintings were also to be found there. (A summary list of some of the paintings can be found in Baedeker's Northern Germany, London, 1904.) At the Königs Tor (King's Gate) stood statues of Otakar I of Bohemia, Albert of Prussia and Frederick I of Prussia. Königsberg had a magnificent Exchange (completed in 1875) with fine views of the harbour from the staircase. In Bahnhof Strasse (Railway Street) were the offices of the famous Royal Amber Works – this district was celebrated as the "Amber Coast". There was also an Observatory fitted up by the astronomer Friedrich Bessel, a Botanical Garden and Zoological Museum. The "Physikalisch", near the Heumarkt, contained botanic and anthropological collections and prehistoric antiquities.

Of Königsberg's notable structures, the 1815 Encyclopaedia Britannica refers to "the magnificent palace in which is a hall 274 feet long and 59 broad without pillars to support it, and a handsome library. The gothic tower of the castle is very high (330 feet) and has 284 steps to the top, from where a great distance can be seen". This extensive building, enclosed in a large quadrangle and situated almost in the centre of the city, was formerly a seat of the Teutonic Order. It was altered and enlarged in the 16th - 18th centuries. The west wing contained the Schloßkirche, where Frederick I of Prussia was crowned in 1701, and Wilhelm I, later the first Emperor or Kaiser of Germany, as King of Prussia, in 1861. The arms emblazoned upon the walls and columns were those of the Knights of the Order of the Black Eagle. Above the church was the spacious Moscowiter-Saal, one of the largest halls in Germany. Until the latter part of World War II the apartments of the Royal Family and the Prussia Museum (north wing) were open to the public daily. An extensive collection of provincial archives was also housed there.

By 1800 the city was approximately five miles in circumference and had 60,000 inhabitants (including a military garrison of 7,000). After the abolition of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, Königsberg remained the capital of East Prussia, which was outside the formal borders of the German Confederation of 1815-1866. it was incorporated into the German Empire in 1871.

Königsberg flourished as the capital of East Prussia. An extensive local railway network was established linking the city to Breslau, Thorn, Insterburg, Eydtkuhnen, Tilsit, and Pillau. In 1860 the railroad connecting Berlin with St. Petersburg was completed and made Königsberg an even more important commercial centre. Extensive electric tramways were in operation by 1900; and regular steamers plied to Memel, Tapiau and Labiau, Cranz, Tilsit, and Danzig. Two large theatres were built during this time: the Stadt (City) Theatre and the Appollo. By 1900 the city's population had grown to 188,000, with a 9,000-strong military garrison.

Image:East Prussia 1923-1939.png
Königsberg in historical East Prussia, located near the Baltic Sea. Here seen in German borders from 1919 to 1939.

[edit] Weimar Republic

After World War I, the creation of the Polish Corridor cut off the East Prussian land connection from the rest of Weimar Germany. The Ostmesse (East European Fair) at the Königsberg Tiergarten was organized every year since 1920, it was intended as a compensation for the geographical distance that handicapped the economic development of East Prussia and its capital Königsberg. In 1922 the first permanent airport and commercial terminal solely for commercial aviation was built at Königsberg-Devau. In 1929, Königsberg amalgamated with some surrounding suburbs.

[edit] Third Reich

In 1932 Prussia's legal (Social Democratic) government under Otto Braun was ousted by the Reich Government, and Gauleiter Erich Koch replaced the elected local government during Nazi rule from 1933 to 1945.

In 1935, the Wehrmacht designated Königsberg as the Headquarters for Wehrkreis I, (under the command of General der Artillerie Albert Wodrig) which originally took in all of East Prussia. Wehrkreis I was extended in March of 1939 to include the Memel area. In October of 1939, it was extended again to include the Ciechanów and Suwałki areas. In 1942, the Wehrkreis was again expanded to include the Białystok district. Army units that called Königsberg home included the I Infantry Corps, which was part of the pre-Nazi era Standing Army; the 61st Infanterie Division, which was formed upon mobilization from Reservists from East Prussia. It took part in the invasion of Belgium, and Russia.

Winston Churchill [WWII, Book XII] referred to Königsberg as "a modernised heavily defended fortress".

[edit] Bombing by British

In 1944 Königsberg suffered heavy damage from British air attacks and burned for several days. Occasionally bombed by the Soviet Air Forces, No. 5 Group of the Royal Air Force first attacked the city on the night of 26/27 August 1944. The raid was in the extreme range for the 174 Avro Lancasters that flew 950 miles from their bases to bomb the city. Fortunately for the Königsbergers, this first raid was not successful, most bombs falling on the eastern side of the town. (Four of the attacking aircraft were lost.)

Three nights later on the 29/30 August, a further 189 Lancasters of No. 5 Group tried the target again dropping 480 tons of bombs on the centre of the city. Bomber Command estimated that 20% of all the industry and 41% of all the housing in Königsberg was destroyed in the attack. A heavy German night fighter defense downed fifteen of the attacking bombers (7.9% of the force).<ref>http://www.raf.mod.uk/bombercommand/aug44.html RAF Bomber Command: Campaign Diary. August 1944]</ref>

The historic city center, consisting of the quarters Altstadt, Löbenicht and Kneiphof was in fact completely destroyed, among it the dome, the castle, all churches of the city, the old and the new university and furthermore the old barnquarter.

[edit] Red Army's capture of Königsberg

Many people fled Königsberg in advance of the Red Army's advance after October 1944, particularly after word spread of alleged Soviet atrocities at Nemmersdorf and Gumbinnen. Soviet forces encircled the city at the end of January 1945, but a temporary German breakout allowed many of the remaining civilians to escape via naval evacuation from the nearby port of Pillau (now Baltiysk). The siege of Königsberg, which had been declared a "fortress" (Festung) by the Germans and fanatically defended, raged all through February and March. The city was bombed and shelled continuously.

On April 9 — one month before the end of the war in Europe — the German military commander, General Otto Lasch, surrendered the remnants of his forces, which had numbered 35,000. For this act, he was sentenced to death in absentia by Hitler, who declared him a "traitor." At the time of the surrender, military and civilian dead in the city were estimated at 42,000. (Lasch's subterranean command bunker has been preserved in Kaliningrad as a museum.)

About 50,000 survivors (out of Königsberg's prewar population of 316,000) cowered in the ruins of the devastated city. These survivors, and a few others who returned immediately after the fighting ended, were held as virtual prisoners until 1949, during which time many died of disease and starvation. A significant number committed suicide. The remaining German residents were expelled in 1949-50.[citation needed]

[edit] Soviet Union

Image:Dom sovetov kaliningrad.jpg
The "House of Soviets", built on the former site of Königsberg Castle, the remains of which were destroyed by the Soviet authorities.

At the end of World War II in 1945, the city became part of the Soviet Union (as part of the Russian SFSR) as agreed upon by the Allies at the Potsdam Conference. It was renamed Kaliningrad in 1946 after the death of Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR Mikhail Kalinin, one of the original Bolsheviks. The German population was expelled and the city was repopulated with Russian citizens. Life changed dramatically: the city had a new name (Kaliningrad), German was replaced by Russian as the language of everyday life, and the main religion became Russian Orthodox Christianity. As one of the westernmost territories of the USSR, the Kaliningrad Oblast became a strategically important area during the Cold War. The Soviet Baltic Fleet was headquartered in the city in the 1950s. Because of its strategic importance, Kaliningrad was closed to foreign visitors.

[edit] Russian Federation

Image:Kaliningrad city hall.jpg
View of the Kaliningrad city hall from the Victory Square. The city hall is draped in a large banner celebrating the 61st anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War.
Image:Hram hrista spasitelya june 2006.jpg
Construction continues on the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in June of 2006 in downtown Kaliningrad.

Due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Kaliningrad Oblast became a Russian exclave, separated from the rest of Russia. Kaliningrad is the only Russian Baltic Sea port that is ice-free all year.

When Poland and Lithuania became members of the European Union in 2004, the region became completely surrounded by the EU. Special travel arrangements for the territory's inhabitants have been made.

Today, there is some debate about giving the city its old name back, as has happened in several Russian cities like St. Petersburg and Tver, which were known as Leningrad and Kalinin, respectively, during much of the Soviet time period. However, the continued use of "Kaliningrad", at least for the next few years, seems certain. "Kyonig" (shortened Russian form of "Königsberg") is often used in advertisements for tourism companies in this region.

[edit] Historical names

[edit] Sightseeing

Brandenburg Gate, Kaliningrad

[edit] Coats of arms

[edit] Famous residents

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes


  • Baedeker, Karl, Northern Germany, 14th revised (English-language) edition, Leipzig, London, and New York, 1904, pps: 176-7.
  • Vesilind, Priit J. Kaliningrad: Coping with a German Past and a Russian Future. National Geographic, March 1997.

Image:Coat of Arms of Kaliningrad Oblast.jpg Cities and towns in Kaliningrad Oblast Image:Flag of Russia.svg
Administrative center: Kaliningrad

Bagrationovsk | Baltiysk | Chernyakhovsk | Guryevsk | Gusev | Gvardeysk | Krasnoznamyonsk | Ladushkin | Mamonovo | Neman | Nesterov | Ozyorsk | Pionersky | Polessk | Pravdinsk | Slavsk | Sovetsk | Svetlogorsk | Svetly | Zelenogradsk


br:Kaliningrad bg:Калининград ca:Kaliningrad cv:Калининград cs:Kaliningrad da:Kaliningrad de:Kaliningrad et:Kaliningrad es:Kaliningrado eo:Kaliningrado fa:کالینینگراد fr:Kaliningrad gl:Kaliningrado - Калининград ko:칼리닌그라드 hr:Kalinjingrad io:Kaliningrad id:Kaliningrad it:Kaliningrad he:קלינינגרד la:Calininopolis lt:Kaliningradas hu:Kalinyingrád mo:Калининград nl:Kaliningrad ja:カリーニングラード no:Kaliningrad nn:Kaliningrad ps:کالینینگراد nds:Königsbarg pl:Kaliningrad pt:Kaliningrado ro:Kaliningrad ru:Калининград sk:Kaliningrad sl:Kaliningrad sr:Калињинград fi:Kaliningrad sv:Kaliningrad tr:Kaliningrad zh:加里寧格勒


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