Facts about Kaliningrad

We found 24 facts about Kaliningrad


Kaliningrad is the capital and largest city of the Kaliningrad Oblast, the westernmost federal subject of Russia. The former German capital of East Prussia was taken over and Russified by the Soviet Union thanks to the Potsdam Agreements after World War II and became part of the Russian Soviet Republic. The city is an important communication hub, has sea and river harbors, and is the headquarters of the Baltic Fleet of the Russian Navy. It is also one of the largest industrial centers in Russia. Kaliningrad has been a major attraction for internal migration in Russia over the past two decades. It was one of the host cities of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Kaliningrad is the largest city and administrative center of the Kaliningrad Oblast.

It is the westernmost subject of Russia.

The city is located on the Sambia Peninsula - a peninsula in Russia that divides the Vistula Lagoon from the Curonian Lagoon.

Kaliningrad is located at the mouth of the Pregolya River into the Baltic Sea. It is located 35 km from the Polish border, 70 km from the Lithuanian border, and 1289 km from Moscow.

Kaliningrad, as the largest city of the Kaliningrad Oblast, has approximately 45% of the region's total population.

In 2020, the city's population was 489.359, and in the entire urban agglomeration – 800.000. inhabitants.

It is the second largest city in the Northwest Federal District (after St. Petersburg), the third largest city in the Baltic Sea Region, and the seventh largest city on the Baltic Sea.

The Kaliningrad Oblast is a Russian enclave in Central Europe on the Baltic Sea.

It is an administrative unit of the Russian Federation, the westernmost region of Russia. It covers an area of 15,096 square kilometers. It is separated from the rest of the country by areas of independent states and has no land connection with the main territory of Russia (esclave).

Kaliningrad Oblast borders Lithuania and Poland. It includes a 147 km long section of the Baltic Sea coast.

The Kaliningrad Oblast includes the historical lands of Sambia, Lower Prussia, and Lithuania Minor, also known as Little Lithuania or Prussian Lithuania.

About 1/3 of the perimeter area (including a significant part of the coast and the entire Russian part of the Vistula Spit) are restricted access zones. A five-kilometer strip near the border is prohibited for foreigners to enter (they must have special passes).

The Kaliningrad Oblast is part of the North-Western Federal District established in 2000.

Many rivers flow through the region, but the most important are the Niemen and Pregolya.

There are many lakes there, 38 of which have an area larger than 10 hectares.

The lowest place in the oblast are depressions - polders located in the northern part of the oblast, near the border with Lithuania, on the Curonian Lagoon, in the Slav region.

The highest hill is 242 m above sea level and is located less than a kilometer from the border with Poland (Szeskie Hills).

The Kaliningrad Oblast contains the world's largest amber deposits.

They probably cover over 90% of the world's resources of this raw material. Most amber is mined in the area of the Yantarny estate, where it is often processed.

There are also small deposits of high-quality crude oil (with low sulfur content) - production is at the level of 1 million tons, with the possibility of increasing it to 1.5-2.0 million tons per year.

The Kaliningrad Oblast area is the most militarized area of the Russian Federation.

There is the largest concentration of military facilities in Europe. Military bases are located throughout the oblast. The oblast is the base of the Baltic Fleet, the commander of which also serves as the commander of all military units in the oblast, commanding the Kaliningrad Defense District.

There are 21 cities and 3 urban-type settlements in the oblast.

The largest of them is Kaliningrad, whose historical name is Königsberg.

Kaliningrad is an important commercial and military seaport.

The port is located on the Vistula Lagoon on the Pregolya River and has been open to international shipping since 1991. It accepts seagoing vessels with a maximum draft of 8 m.

The port of Kaliningrad does not freeze during harsh winters, so it is available for navigation all year round. However, when low temperatures persist for a long time, ice appears in the channel connecting the port with the Baltic Sea. Then icebreakers come into action - the last use of icebreakers took place in 1997.

The history of Kaliningrad can be divided into four periods.
  • The first one is the Old Prussian settlement known as Twangeste, before 1255
  • The second period was the Polish city of Królewiec (Königsberg) in 1454-1455, and then the Polish fiefdom in 1456-1657
  • The third period is the German period - Königsberg in the years 1657-1945
  • Fourth - the Russian city of Kaliningrad from 1945 to the present
Originally, in the place of present-day Kaliningrad, there was a Prussian settlement, which until the 13th century was called Twangeste ("Oak Forest").

In 1231, the Teutonic Order began the conquest of these lands and in 1255 Twangeste was destroyed and replaced with a new fortress, a military fortress called Königsberg (Regiomontium - royal mountain) in honor of the most outstanding military commander, King Ottokar II of Bohemia. The Order built a castle on the Pregoła river - the history of the town of Königsberg lasted about 700 years.

In 1312, the castle became the residence of the Grand Marshal of the Order.

The Old Prussian culture finally died out in the early 18th century with the great plague, and the surviving Prussians assimilated.

In 1454, the city was incorporated into Poland for a year thanks to King Casimir IV Jagiellon who changed its name to Królewiec.

Casimir IV Jagiellon created the Królewiec Voivodeship, the capital of which was Królewiec. The first and only voivode of Królewiec was a Prussian nobleman, Ścibor Bażyński.

On April 12, 1455, the city was recaptured by the Teutonic Knights, and the Królewiec Voivodeship ceased to exist.

During the Thirteen Years' War from 1457, Królewiec was the seat of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, who moved here from Malbork Castle.

Königsberg became a Polish fief for 201 years.

After the Grand Master paid tribute to King Sigismund I the Old on the Krakow Market Square in 1525, Königsberg became the capital of the Duchy of Prussia, dependent on the king as a fief. As a sign of dependence, the black Prussian eagle received a royal crown around its neck and the letter "S" from the Latin form of King Sigismund's name - Sigismundus.

Królewiec was one of the centers of Polish printing (along with Wrocław and Krakow).

In the years 1543-1552, more books in Polish were published in Królewiec and Ełk than in the entire Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. From the 16th to the 20th century, the city was a publishing center for Polish-language religious literature.

In 1545, the first Polish catechism by Jan Seklucjan was published in Królewiec, and 1551 the first printed translation of the gospel into Polish. Two years later, a translation of the entire New Testament was published, the so-called The King's Bible.

Jan Kochanowski printed his works in Królewiec.

In 1552, King Sigismund II August visited Königsberg.

In 1542, Prince Albrecht Hohenzollern, who was the nephew of King Sigismund the Old, established a particular school in Königsberg (actually in Knipaw, one of the three cities that were part of Königsberg). The school prepared candidates for university studies. The dynamically developing school was transformed into the Protestant Albertina University.

The Albertina University existed in Königsberg in the years 1544-1945 and was the only university in the Duchy of Prussia, as well as one of the most important in the First Polish Republic. After the separation of Prussia from Poland (1657), Albertina remained the largest academic center in East Prussia until the end of its existence.

Albertina's first students included: Jan Kochanowski, Piotr Kochanowski, Andrzej Kochanowski, Stanisław Sarnicki, Erazm Glinczer et al.

In 1560, Sigismund Augustus granted the Academy in Królewiec the same privileges as the Kraków Academy. From that moment on, Albertina could award academic degrees.

From 1618, Duchy of Prussia was ruled by the Electors of Brandenburg.

In 1657, the Duchy of Prussia became independent from the First Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The elector forced the city to take an oath of allegiance, although the urban estates still recognized Königsberg as part of the Kingdom of Poland.

In 1701, the Elector of Brandenburg was crowned King of Prussia in Königsberg as Frederick I. He merged three cities: the Old Town, Knipawa, and Lipnik into one city of Königsberg, whose name from then on was: the Royal Prussian Capital and Residential City of Königsberg.

In Königsberg, there was a problem with the royal bridges on Pregolya.

This problem was solved by a Swiss mathematician and physicist, a pioneer in many areas of these sciences - Leonhard Euler, who spent most of his life in Russia and Prussia.

The Pregolya river flowing through Królewiec had two islands in its forks. Seven bridges were thrown over the river, one of which connected both islands, and the remaining bridges connected the islands with the banks of the river.

Euler, using graph theory, solved the problem of the bridges in Königsberg, making it possible to cross all the bridges in turn so that each bridge was crossed only once.

This issue was described by Euler in 1741 in his work Solutio problematis ad geometriam situs pertinentis in Commentarii academiae scientiaru, which is considered the first work on graph theory.

When the Seven Years' War broke out (1757), Russian troops defeated the Prussians near Königsberg and occupied all of Prussia.

Tsarina Elizabeth (younger daughter of Peter I the Great and his second wife, Empress Catherine I) incorporated the Kingdom of Prussia along with Königsberg into Russia. The castle in Königsberg became the seat of the Russian governor.

Immanuel Kant, born in Königsberg, submitted, among others, an oath of allegiance to Tsarina Elizabeth.

The death of Tsarina Elizabeth (the so-called miracle of the House of Brandenburg) resulted in the restoration of power in Prussia to the Hohenzollerns. The Russians withdrew from Königsberg in 1763.

In 1871, the city became part of the newly established German Empire.

In 1933, in one of the districts of Königsberg - Siewiernaja Gora - the Germans established one of the first Nazi concentration camps - Quednau.

It was built in the outer Fort III of the royal fortress - Fort Quednau, built in the 1870s, later named König Friedrich III.

During the siege of the city during World War II, the fort was defended by the Germans until April 7, 1945.

In 1999, a significant part of the archaeological collections of the pre-war Prussia-Museum were found in the fort.

After the end of World War II, as a result of the Potsdam Conference, Königsberg found itself within the borders of the Soviet Union.

In 1946, the city's name was changed to Kaliningrad, in honor of the late Mikhail Kalinin, a Bolshevik responsible for many mass communist crimes.

Kalinin's signature (among others) appears on the decision to murder Polish officers in Katyn in 1940.

Kaliningrad has numerous museums.

These include: Immanuel Kant Museum, Cathedral Museum, Museum of History and Art, Amber Museum, and Museum of the World Ocean, which was established on board the former research ship "Witjas".

Kaliningrad has one of the oldest zoos in modern Russia.

This garden was established in 1896 as a zoo in Königsberg.

After Russia's annexation of two self-proclaimed republics in the Ukrainian Donbas in 2022 and the earlier annexation of Crimea, Czech and Polish “X” (former Twitter) users put forward the idea of annexing Kaliningrad to the Czech Republic.

The mocking "official" account of Kralovec (Królewiec) announced that 97.9% of Kaliningrad's inhabitants voted in the referendum for the oblast to be taken over by the Czech Republic and to change the city's name to the Czech Kralovec.

The Czechs emphasize that the Russians justify their actions in the Ukrainian republics by the former affiliation of some Ukrainian territories to Russia. Meanwhile, “X” users remind us that today's Kaliningrad was founded in 1255 by the Teutonic Knights, calling it Regiomontium in honor of the Czech king Přemysl Ottokar II, which is where the German name of the city Königsberg comes from, as well as the Polish and Czech Królewiec (Kralovec).

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