Society

Kaliningrad - A Piece of Russia Between Poland and Lithuania

When looking at a map, many are often surprised to see this small section of land marked as Russia. Why is this so?

Kaliningrad is a Russian territory which is Kaliningrad Oblast’s administrative center on the Baltic Sea between Lithuania and Poland. The seaport city was founded on September 1st, 1255, and its area was 86.11 square miles in 2013. It had a population estimate of 448,402 inhabitants in 2014. The territory was previously known as Kyonigsberg/Konigsberg until 1946.

Overview Of The History Of Kaliningrad

The territory used to be the site of Fort Twangste and the ancient establishment of Old Prussians. The Teutonic Knights built a new fortress during the religious wars of the Northern Crusades in 1255 and named it Konigsberg to honor Ottokar II, the King of Bohemia. The King led two crusade campaigns against pagans of Old Prussia. Successively, the territory became part of the State of the Teutonic, a monastic order which belonged to the former Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Later, it belonged to Germany until 1945 when it finally became a part of Russia. During World War II, the city was severely damaged, prompting the army and air force of the Russian Soviet Federation Socialist Republics to occupy the ruins on April 9th, 1945. As a result, the German population that had remained was either forcefully removed or opted to flee.

On July 4th, 1946, in honor of Mikhail Kalinin (a notable Soviet luminary who had passed away the month before), the territory was named Kaliningrad. The city was later re-established as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic’s westernmost territory, becoming a significant zone throughout the Cold War due to its geographical position. During the 1950s the city was the headquarters of the Russian Navy’s fleet, and because Kaliningrad was strategically significant, the USSR closed it off to foreign visitors. Later on, an agreement that was signed in 1957, delimiting the boundary between the Soviet Union and Poland.

The Geographical Location Of Kaliningrad

Kaliningrad is located on the River Pregolya, which drains its waters into the Vistula Lagoon. The Baltic Sea and the Bay of Danzig are accessible by sea vessels through the Strait of Baltiysk and the Vistula Lagoon. Up until 1900, ships that drew over six feet of water were not allowed to pass. Sea vessels that were larger than the required size were expected to dock at Pillau, where the cargo would be transferred to other smaller vessels. A ship canal was constructed between Pillau and Konigsberg which was completed in 1901 at the cost of approximately 13 million German Marks, enabling 21 feet vessels to dock along the town. The area’s Khrabovo Airport - which is about 15 miles north of Kaliningrad - has several charter services scheduled to various destinations in Europe.

Arts And The Culture Of Kaliningrad

Kaliningrad is home to some museums Including the Kaliningrad Amber Museum, the Regional Museum of History and Arts and the Immanuel Kant. The city equally has several theaters that play a significant role in the development of arts in the region. The most famous theater in the region is the Kaliningrad Puppet Theatre whose seating has been in existence since 1975. The famous monuments in the city include the Statue of Immanuel Kant, the mother of Russia Monument, the Statue of Duke Albert, among many others.

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