Kaliningrad (also spelled Kalinigrad) is an administrative center of Kaliningrad oblast of Russia. Before 1255, the city was known as Tuvangaste, from 1255 till 1946, the name of the city was Kenigsberg (Konigsberg).
Kaliningrad is an important seaport, railway and highway junction of Russia. There is an international airport in the city.
Kaliningrad has the population of about 434,000 (2012), land area - 225 sq. km.
The phone code is +7 4012, postal codes - 236000-236040.
Several matches of FIFA World Cup 2018 will be held in Kaliningrad.
In 1255, Teutonic Knights built Konigsberg castle. In 1457, Konigsberg castle became Teutonic Order headquarters. The town suffered heavy damage from Allies air attacks in 1944 during the World War II. The historic center of Konigsberg was completely destroyed including castle, cathedral, churches, and universities.
Konigsberg became the part of the Soviet Union in 1945 (as part of the Russian SFSR). The city was renamed Kaliningrad. It happened after Mikhail Kalinin (Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR) died in 1946. The remaining German residents were expelled from the city. It was repopulated with Russians.
Kaliningrad was rebuilt and went through industrialization and modernization. Kaliningrad region was one of the most western territories of the USSR. Kaliningrad oblast became a strategically important area during the Cold War and was closed to foreign visitors.
Today Kaliningrad is the only Russian Baltic Sea port that is ice-free all year around. The city plays an important role in the Russian Baltic Fleet maintenance.
Kaliningrad is a large center of machine-building. Metallurgy is developed as well as light, printing and fishing industries. Industries absolutely new for Kaliningrad region were formed in the oblast, for example, the automobile plant “Avtotor” (1996) which produces cars licensed by BMW (Germany), KIA (Korea), General Motors (USA).
Freight turnover of Kaliningrad railway and Kaliningrad sea- and fishing-ports is growing. Oil terminals located in Kaliningrad sea canal provide export of over 2 million tons of oil product a year from Russia to the countries in western Europe and Scandinavia.
There are 6 museums in Kaliningrad. The oldest of them is Kaliningrad historical and art museum (founded in 1946). In 1979, the Amber Museum was opened. Kaliningradsky art gallery opened on November 24th, 1988, is one of the youngest and rapidly developing museums in Russia. In its 8 exhibition halls up to 40 exhibitions of the Russian and foreign art are held every year.
At the end of the 20th - early 21th centuries, the unique World Ocean Museum was founded which possesses interesting exhibits and 3 museum ships. The Museum of “Lost and Found” was formed, collecting the ancient items found while purifying the lakes and constructing the houses. It is located in Freedland Gates which is the ancient monument itself.
In 2001, Kaliningrad non-state museum of fortification and military equipment was formed on the basis of the Fort #5.
Among the other attractions of Kaliningrad is the general architectural outlook of the city. There are almost no pre-war buildings in the center of the city. The German constructions remained close to the outskirts.
At the end of the 20th century, the attitude towards German architecture changed, some German buildings remained till that time were restored. Later the Cathedral church was restored as well as the historical Konigsberg House of Engineering.
In 2008, the program on restoration of the historical center of Kaliningrad was adopted and it was suggested to reconstruct the pre-war buildings in the central part of the city and to construct the new Konigsberg castle on the old base.
By the end of the 20th century, the Cathedral church was fully restored and at present the cultural and religious center is located there. One can listen to concerts of spiritual and organ music there. There are 2 organs in the church, one of them is the largest in Europe, it was restored with the help of the old drafts.
Orthodox and Lutheran chapels are located in the church towers as well as exhibits of Knaiphof island history, philosopher Kant and the Cathedral church itself. The Cathedral church (was mentioned for the first time in 1333) was the main church in Konigsberg and now it is one of the main places of interest in Kaliningrad.
Beside Cathedral church, 9 pre-war churches are retained in Kaliningrad. Yuditten-Kirkha (at present - the Orthodox St.Nickolas church) is the oldest building survived in Kaliningrad. It was constructed in the 12th century. All the rest survived churches of the German time are much younger and are referred to the end of the 19th - early 20th centuries.