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City of Kaliningrad

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The City of Kaliningrad (once called Königsberg) is the capitol of Kaliningrad Oblast (province) capital and Russia's only reliably ice-free port other than Baltiysk, outside of the Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions, since other major ports like Vladivostok freeze over in the winter and others like Murmansk are in the more Polar Regions. The port of Kaliningrad a major Russian navy base is in the port to. Kaliningrad is also home to Kaliningrad Chkalovsk naval air base.

It was once called Königsberg by the Prussians and was part of Prussia and later Germany until 1945. The ruins were occupied by the Red Army in 1945 and its reaming German and Lietuvininks population forced out at gunpoint. It was the renamed and rebuilt Kaliningrad in 1946 in honour of the Bolshevik leader Mikhail Kalinin.

The latest survey (2002) says it is now 77.9% Russians, 8.0% Belarusians and 7.3% Ukrainians. According to the preliminary results of the 2010 Census, its population was 431,491, up from an increase from 430,003 recorded in the 2002.

HistoryEdit

KaliningradOB

A map of Kaliningrad Oblast.

The town, now called Kaliningrad, was founded in 1255 but the Teutonic Knights, was previously the site of the German city of Königsberg, created in 1255. The 1660 Treaty of Oliva confirmed Prussian independence from both Poland and Sweden. Königsberg was long a centre of Lutheran resistance to Calvinism within Brandenburg-Prussia; Frederick William forced the city to accept Calvinist citizens and property holders in 1668.

The city was devastated by bubonic plague and other illnesses from September 1709 to April 1710, losing 9,368 people, which was about 25% of the city's populace. On June 13, 1724, the boroughs of Altstadt, Kneiphof, and Löbenicht were formally amalgamated to formally create the larger city Königsberg. Other villages-come-suburbs that subsequently were annexed to Königsberg include Sackheim, Rossgarten, and Tragheim.

By 1900 the city's population had grown to 188,000, with a 9,000-strong military garrison. By 1914 Königsberg had a population of 246,000 and the Jewish, Kursenieki and Lietuvininks community flourished in the culturally pluralistic and multi-ethnic city.

During Nazi rule from 1933 to 1945, Gauleiter Erich Koch replaced the elected government of Prussia, which together with much of the old eastern Germany was one of the most pro-Nazi provinces in the Reich, with over 55% of votes cast in favour of the Nazi Party in the March 1933 election.

The city also hosted a propaganda station, Radio Königsberg, during World War II. In 1944 Königsberg suffered heavy damage from British bombing attacks and burned for several days. During World War II the city was largely destroyed, during several face battles in World War II, mostly in the Battle of Königsberg and the subsiquent Soviet invasion of 1945. The Jewish community were annihilated in the Holocaust, and then the Soviet Union drove out all the Pussians, Lietuvininks and Kursenieki after the war, at gunpoint in many cases.

He House of the Soviets, Kaliningrad

Калининград - The House of the Soviets, Kaliningrad in 2003. It was started in the late 1980's and cost over 5 million rubbles to biuld.

According to some reports from the 1950s and 1960s, the Soviet Union had planned to make the rest of the Oblast a part of the Lithuanian SSR immediately after World War II. The area was administered by the planning committee of the Lithuanian SSR, although the area had its own Communist Party committee. The Lithuanian SSR's leadership of the Lithuanian SSR, especially Antanas Sniečkus, refused to take over the administration of territory, mainly because of its heavy devastation during the war. Some modern nationalistic Lithuanian authors say that the reason for the refusal was the Lithuanians' concern to find themselves on equal ethnic-demographic terms with the Russian population within the Lithuanian SSR.

The former city of 'Old Königsberg' was rebuilt in the early 1950's and lives on amid the modern town of Kaliningrad.

In the July of 2005, the 750-year jubilee of the city was widely celebrated.

The Oblast is Russia's best performing regional economies (which is bolstered by a low manufacturing tax rate and a Special Economic Zone' [SEZ] status). As of 2006, one in three televisions in Russia are made in Kaliningrad city, and its population is one of few in Russia, which is expected to show strong ecanomic and poulation growth.

TransportEdit

Kaliningrad tram

A about 20 year old tram in Kaliningrad.

In 1881, the City Königsberg tramway was opened, which still runs to this day and a trolleybus system was also introduced in 1975. The Trams have operated as a major system since since 1895, it is one of only two narrow gauge tram networks in Russia (the gauge is only 1000 mm wide) and faces colsure due to years of neglect and changes in local transport prioraties like with the trams at Voronesh and Archanglsk in Russia propper.

There is the small Kaliningrad Devau Airport for general aviation and Khrabrovo Airport 24km north at located near Khrabrovo. The airport mainly connects Kaliningrad to other Russian cities, but also offers flights to other major cities in Europe.

In Baltiysk one can take a ferry to Saint Petersburg, Copenhagen, Riga, and Kiel. Kaliningrad's international train station is Kaliningrad Passazhirskiy, which in German times was known as Königsberg Hauptbahnhof station . Trains depart in the directions of Malbork, Berlin, Baltiysk, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Minsk, Kharkiv, Anapa, and Bagrationovsk. A unique feature of the Kaliningrad railway is that the track in the direction of Berlin has a standard gauge of 1435 mm instead of the commonly used in Russia broad gauge of 1520 mm.

Regional trains depart from Kaliningrad Severnyy, the former Königsberg Nordbahnhof, which is situated on Victory Square, the current city centre. Trains depart to Zelenogradsk and Svetlogorsk and also once a day to Sovetsk.

Historic sitesEdit

The 14th century Königsberg Cathedral is a major atraction to this day.

NamesakesEdit

The American actor and director Woody Alen was born with the real name Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935.

Also seeEdit

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