"Kaliningrad - Königsberg" Top 5 Page for this destination Kaliningrad by OlafS

Kaliningrad Travel Guide: 84 reviews and 195 photos

This city intrigues me, as does the piece of land it lies in, having been a mystery ever since World War Two when the Soviets took it, drove out almost all surviving members of the original German population and gave it the current ridiculous name in honour of some criminal gangleader who had never been there but just happened to die that year. The Soviets turned the area in what must have been the largest military base in history, neglecting all other aspects of life. Thanks to communism, many historical buildings were needlessly destroyed, others fell into decay, while pollution and indifference took their toll as well.
When I visited it, Kaliningrad had only been opened for tourists for about a year. At first sight it's an ugly city, with an almost completely empty centre, surrounded by ugly high rise buildings. But between the unimaginative Soviet-era concrete buildings there are many surviving ones from the German period, although often in a bad state. Especially outside the centre a lot has been preserved, with entire neighbourhoods surviving without much more than a scratch. Several churches, fortresses, city-gates , railway stations and many Jugendstil houses etc. etc. remain as witnesses of the past. With a bit of effort in the centre (OK, a LOT of effort) this could become a very attractive city. Unfortunately I was here too short to see all that I wanted, but I'm sure I'll go back one day. Surely a lot will have changed for the better then. There has been talk of renaming the city back to its original name, but the central government wouldn't have anything of it. Unlike much of the population though, who already refer to their city as Kenigsberg or just Kenig (there's no ? in the Cyrillic alphabet) so perhaps it may come true after all, one day. In 2005, if the still essentially communist Russian government allows it, the city will celebrate its 750th birthday and the Prussian/German history will play a major role. How could it not? For the people of Kenig Germany is no longer the enemy. A few years ago a new coat of arms was adopted, which was clearly based on the old German one. The local car factory produces BMW's. Foreign investments and a spirit among the locals to make something of this place have already resulted in great things. For a start, this picture from 1992 still shows the cathedral as a ruin. Today the exterior is completely restored, with a spire and a roof and all, while the interior houses a few museums.

  • Last visit to Kaliningrad: Dec 1991
  • Intro Updated Jun 17, 2003
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Reviews (9)

Comments (19)

  • Jun 5, 2010 at 6:34 AM

    kan ik met u corresponderen wij plannen een trip naar kaliningrad met de auto en het gezin en zijn geinteresseerd in wereldoorlog 2 en ostalgie dank bij voorbaat

  • lotharlerch's Profile Photo
    Apr 19, 2005 at 4:56 AM

    Excellent page. I was there in 1993 and I found it exactly the same. Maybe the most depressing area in Europe even with the German money now flooding in (is it still Europe at all??).Thanks for the excellent links!

  • freya_heaven's Profile Photo
    Feb 25, 2005 at 11:15 AM

    Very interesting page, sad about the vandalism which took place here. Great page, thanks (~_~)

  • littlesam1's Profile Photo
    Sep 16, 2004 at 9:21 AM

    Whoa! The monster is one ugly building.

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    Aug 8, 2004 at 8:21 AM

    Very informative. I wonder what I will find there. Will go there later this week.

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Jun 6, 2004 at 10:56 AM

    Very interesting info, esp. on Kant - I didn't know. I do hope to get there on Wednesday or Thursday :-)

  • jto's Profile Photo
    May 5, 2004 at 1:55 AM

    Oh beautiful place. A forgotten place really. Would be wonderful to visit.Thanks for the tips, pics and t-logs.

  • tini58de's Profile Photo
    Jul 25, 2003 at 12:29 AM

    Excellent page with great information! Enjoyed reading every bit of it!

  • dabuwan's Profile Photo
    Jul 23, 2003 at 2:09 AM

    Great page with lots of good info. I hope to visit this intriguing city and see what has changed.

  • suvaa003's Profile Photo
    Jul 10, 2003 at 1:28 PM

    very good page, goed gedaan


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