"...Klaipeda..." Klaipeda by ginte

Klaipeda Travel Guide: 263 reviews and 626 photos

Klaipeda, Lithuania's port city on the Baltic Sea, is the third largest town in the country. It is located on the very southern seashore of the Baltic Sea, at a strait connecting the Kursiu Marios lagoon with the sea.
Historians maintain that a settlement of ancient Balts, the ancestors of modern Lithuanians stood on the coats of the Kursiu Marios lagoon at the estuary of the Dane river as early as the 1st century A.D. That fishing village, often attacked by various invaders, had to fight off the Vikings as well as resisting the invasions of the Dutch merchants. In 1252 Klaipeda was captured by the Livonian Order. As a result, the brick castle of Memelburg was erected on the estuary of the Dane river. Although Lithuanians who were reluctant to reconcile with the loss of the town tried to recapture it, they failed to win it back. Even after the victory at Zalgiris in 1410, when Lithuanians managed to regain the greater part of Zemaitija (West Lithuania), Klaipeda remained under Germans.
In thecourse of the following centuries the town of Klaipeda remained under the foreign yoke. In the 17th century Klaipeda was devastated by the Swedish army. In the middle of the 18th century the town was for five years ruled by Tsarist Russia. Klaipeda became the residence of Prussian Kings after the French army occupied Berlin in 1807. The establishment of the Second Reich in 1871 gave an impetus for a speedy Germanization of all national minorities living on the territory.

After the defeat of Germany in World War I, the town and the whole region of Klaipeda was placed under the protectorate of the Entente states (1919). From February 13, 1920, Klaipeda was administrated by the French occupation forces. In December 1923, a big uprising was organized in the town with the assistance of Lithuanian government. The uprising determined the future of the Klaipeda region. All the territory and the sea-port were returned to Lithuania with the right of self-government. On March 23, 1939, however, Klaipeda, the only sea-port of Lithuania, was seized by Nazi Germany. It was only on January 28, 1945, that Klaipeda was liberated.

At the present time Klaipeda is not only one of the largest fishing ports on the Baltic Sea but also a major cultural centre of Lithuania. Among the museums of Klaipeda, special mention should be made of the large Maritime Museum and Aquarium that boasts thousands of exhibits from many seas and oceans around the world.

  • Last visit to Klaipeda: Aug 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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