A rainy night in the city center, the Victory Square is sufficiently illuminated.
Victory Square in 1942. (Courtesy: Wikipedia)
The seat of City Administration.
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (Храм Христа Спасителя) is the largest
A shop next to the churh with religious merchanise and visitors must not speak loudly in the shop. Unknowingly I giggled with friends when I walked in, only short of being asked to leave. :(
Situated in the heart of the city square, the cathedral was recently completed in 2006.
The Russian Orthodox Cathedral is designed in a simplified yet modern variety of the Russo-Byzantine style which was popular in Imperial Russia.
The golden top of the cathedral glows in Baltic sunlight. My favourite sight, I would sit under the sun just to savour such a spectacular view.
If you look at the map proper of Russia, you will not find Kaliningrad. Move further to the West on your map, and you will find this geographically separated exclave tuck between Lithuania and Poland on the Baltic Sea.
Kaliningrad is the new name of the old German city Koenigsberg (Кёнисберг), which was the northern part of former East Prussia empire. Founded in 1255 by the knights of the Teutonic order, it was largely destroyed during the second World War. Its ruins were occupied by the Soviet Army in 1945, and was renamed in honour of the popular Communist Party member Mikhail Kalinin in 1946.
The unique city, part of which is now occupied by parks and public gardens, is a seaport and administrative center of the Kaliningrad Oblast. The population in the oblast is estimated at around 1 million, while slightly less than half lives in the city.
Kaliningrad is also the economic and cultural center of the region. The tourists' interest to the city is said to be constantly growing. Located near the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad was also known as the city of amber in olden days.
Kaliningrad is also one of the scientific centers of Russia, as there are several famous Universities and Naval schools in the city. The city is famous as the place where Immanuel Kant, a world-famous philosopher, is buried. Today, even with the extensive damage suffered during World War II, Kaliningrad offers an amazing opportunity to see a Russian world still somewhat untainted by the world of fast food and easy living.
There are great hotels available in the city, as well as the nearby Svetlogorsk which is a costal spa resort. If you like to return to nature once in a while, the Kursche Spit is a stunning peninsula of sand which is rich in flora and fauna.
Up until 1934 the presnt-day Victory Square was named Hansaplatz, and during Nazi Germany the square was known as Adolf-Hitler-Platz. As the old Koenigsberg city centre was destroyed during the war, the post-war city was developed around Victory Square. Today one can find many banks, shops, malls, and the city government in the neighbourhood of the square. The former North railway station, which was built in 1930, is currently a business centre. The new city hall, built by Hans Hopp in 1923, still function as the seat of the city administration.
During the celebration of the 750th anniversary of the founding of the city in 2005 the square was thoroughly renovated. A new fountain was placed in the centre and the new Cathedral Of Christ Saviour was consecrated in the same year. The statue of Lenin, previously in front of the cathedral, was removed from the square and in 2006 placed at another site in Kaliningrad.
Facts about Kaliningrad
Area: 215,70 sq km
Location: It is located on the Baltic Sea coast and not physically attached to Russia. The city lies between Lithuania and Poland.
Geographic coordinates: 54 43 N, 20 30 E
Population: approx 426,000 (2005 est)
Climate: Transitional (from gently continental to nautical).
Area code: 0112
Major attractions: Koenigsberg Cathedral, Victory Monument.