Thursday, March 11, 2010

Attractions in Kaliningrad:3 (King's Gate)

Although located very near where I live, I have never been to the King's Gate, one of the most prominent remnants of Kaliningrad's Prussian past. I took a slow walk towards the gate and surrounding were fortifications, some entrances of which sinked deep into the ground.

As if inseperable from its past, even the antique shop opposite King's Gate has no shortage of curios that bear its former name, but most of the things appear pretty new to me.

The King's Gate ( Королевские ворота ) is one of the former six gates that were built during the 19th century around Kaliningrad, which was formerly a Eastern Prussian city, named as Königsberg'.

Designed by Friederich August Stuler, situated todat at a busy cross road in Kaliningrad, the west facade has three sandstone statues, made by sculptor Wilhelm Sturmer: nine metres above the ground to the left the Bohemian king Ottokar II is depicted, who was Königsberg's namesake. Frederick I of Prussia, Prussia's first King, follows the middle statue. To the right is Duke Albert, Prussia's first duke and founder of the Albertina university, holds an eye over the city. Beneath the sculptures the coat of arms of Samland and Natangena are shown.

The gate was damaged during the Second World War. Furthermore, as a first victory celebration, Soviet soldiers decapitated the statues. With the celebration of the city's 750 year existence in June 2005, the gate was renovated. Even a few months before the beginning of the festivities, the gate was still in a desolate condition.

Within a few weeks, however, the gate was restored to its condition before the war. Fully restored statues replaced the decapitated ones on the gate with this renovation.

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