The Kaliningradskaya region is the very western region of the Russian Federation, completely isolated from the rest of the country territory of the country by foreign states and the sea.
In the North and the East region stretches for 280,5 km and borders on the Lithuanian republic, in the South the region's length is 231,98 km and borders with the republic of Poland, in the West the region meets the Baltic Sea. From Kaliningrad, the administrative center of the region, it is only 35 km to the Polish border, to the Lithuanian - 70 km, distance to Moscow - 1289 km.
The longest rivers of the Kaliningradskaya region are Pregolya - 123 km, the Neman -115 km (on the territory of the region). The largest lake Is vishtynetskoye -18 square kilometers.
Other big cities of the region include: Sovetsk, Chernyakhovsk, Baltiysk, Gusev, the most famous resorts are Svetlogorsk, Zelenogradsk, Pionersky, Otradnoe.
Svetlogorsk was first mentioned in chronicles in 1228 (that time it was called Raushe-Motor). That time it was an ordinary fishing village, and starting just 1813 tourists from all over the Germany began to come here. The year of 1840 was a breaking point in city's history. The king Frierich-Vilgellm IV captured the city. Since that time the village has become a rest place for the whole Europe. That time it was primarily a health resort due to plenty of balmy mineral springs. Svetlogorsk of today is famous for its beaches. A local organ pipe hall is one the city’s attractions.
Sovietsk (former Tilzit) stands on the Neman River. It is the second largest city in the region. First chronicles are dated with the 13th century, when Teutonic Order spread active expansion to the Baltics. Knights set a fortress here in 1409 and already in 1552 the village Tilze got the status of a city. Tilizit’s image was decorated with bridges, the very first of which was built in 1313. Up to date there is a functional bridge of Queen Louise – a modern symbol of Sovietsk. The city is also known for the historical meeting of Alexander I and Napoleon, when the signed Tilzit treaty of peace between Russia and France.
Chernyakhovsk (Insterbourg till 1946) was first mentioned in 1390, when the knights of Teutonic Order put up a castle Georgenburg. Insterbourg was in the centre of military actions quite often. General field marshal Barclay De Tolly found a dark house in one of old country estates (today it is a village Nagornoe). Here is put up a monument to him and his heart is buried here. In the 20th century Insterbourg represented a big cultural and industrial centre. A First trolleybus in Germany was put into in the city in 1934. On the eve of the Olympic Games 1936 a Germany equestrian sport team trained in Insterbourg, because there had been bred stud-horses for many centuries in Insterbourg outskirts. The largest stud-farm was established in a village Trakennen, where a “trakennenian” breed was raised. Chernyakhovsk has been famous for horse-breeding up to date.
Lowland occupies the large part of the territory. On the southeast - Baltic bank with the heights up to 230 m. Region presents the layer of amber (one of the largest in the world), clays, gravel, rock salt. Climate is transitional from the sea to the moderately continental. Average annual temperature is +8° C. Average January temperatures are from -3 C down to -5 C degrees , July +15 +17 degrees C. Large rivers of the region include: Neman and Pregolya (with the inflow Lava).
Region is located in mixed forests zone. Broad-leaved- coniferous forests (oak, fir tree, pine tree, birch, linden) occupy about 15 % of the territory. These forests inhabit hares, squirrels, martens, foxes, roes, wild boars, many birds and others. Waters are rich in the fish: in the desalted sea molded edges - bream, pike-perch, smelt, blackhead; in the sea - sprat, smelt fish, salmon. On the territory of region the national park Kurshskaya kosa is located.
Kaliningrad (Konigsberg till 1946) is the centre of the most western Russia’s part, which was in an enclave position after the USSR disintegration. Today the city is separated from the main territory by Lithuania and the Republic of Belarus, but it remains one of the largest tourist centres.
Kaliningrad is a mysterious and discrepant city. Where else can you come across a gothic cathedral and five-storey buildings of the Khrushchev period, ancient German bastions and monument to Soviet leaders, ruins of destroyed during the Second World War buildings and contemporary blocks? Eventful history is in the streets and squares of the city, it can be seen with unaided eye.
Castle Konigsberg’s foundation at the Pregel mouth (today it is the river Pregel) was laid at the beginning of January 1255 by crusaders. Konigsberg with Eastern Prussia belonged to Germany in 1871, and in 1945 it was handed to the Soviet Union and in 1946 the city was renamed into Kaliningrad.
The majority of visitors began their acquaintance with the city on a Southern railway station. The railway station was built in 1895 and that time it was one of the most modern ones in Europe. Despite considerable destructions during the Second World War, Kaliningrad managed to retain its distinctive features. The chief administration adopted the reconstruction of the main cathedral in 1995. It is the main point of interest in Kaliningrad of today. The cathedral, near which a great philosopher Immanuil Kant is buried, was ruined till that time. Nothing reminds of past shambles.
The cathedral was laid in 1320 on the island Kneiphof (that time it was called Pregelmunde), formed by two branches of the river Pregol. It was the centre of city’s spiritual life since ancient times. And now, after restoration the cathedral goes on with its main mission. No wonder, there are two chapels in the cathedral: Protestant and Orthodox as a symbol of mutual understanding between two religions.
The museum of Immanuil Kant is situated in a restored tower of the cathedral. The philosopher’s name is closely connected with the city’s history. The formed in 1544 Albertina University, where Kant tutored for many years, was located near the cathedral. Its building hasn’t been preserved and now there are just a brass and s.c. “Kant’s colonnade” – a sarcophagus of dark granite, surrounded with 12 columns – that remind of him. It stands close to the cathedral’s wall and was built in 1924 on the place of a little Kant’s chapel by architect Lars.
The capital of Eastern Prussia Konigsberg was historically formed as a large military-political centre, that’s why it was often called “a fortress-city”. The bastions keep the memory of those times. An amber museum, the only one of its kind, is in the most famous bastion – the Bastion of Don, built in the middle of the 19th century. Not without a reason, the Kaliningrad region is acknowledged an amber country.
One of the main city’s attractions is an exceptional museum of the Worlds Ocean, situated on the Peter the Great quay. It reminds that Kaliningrad stands on the crossroads of busy shipping routes. It is a stronghold of the Baltic fleet, the city of sailors and fishermen. The museum is located in the open air. A legendary research ship “Vityaz” (“Hero”) and a submarine “B-413” are moored to the quay. The history of ocean’s research from ancient times up to date is represented on a “Vityaz” board. The scientists of “Vityaz” charted hundreds of new geographical names, measured the maximum depth of the World’s Ocean (Mariana cavity). You can learn the history of Russian fleet in “B-413”.
A splendid collection of showpieces is represented in a regional historical and art museum. Here are the German displays as well, what lets us follow the region’s development since old times.
The zoo of Kaliningrad is the largest natural reserve in Russia: here dwell 410 species on the territory of 17 ha. The zoo was established in 1899 and held a leading place along with the one in Berlin for a long time.
One of the main cultural centres in the city is a regional drama theatre. It has been restored on the place of a destroyed during the War a German theatre. The channels near the bastions can be also considered places of objects. Moreover, Kaliningrad is by right called a garden-city. 95 square kms of green plantation relate to each person
Give yourself a trip to a wonderful region of mystery, Kaliningrad, and it will reveal its secrets.