Kaliningrad, until July 4, 1946 - Königsberg,
until 1255 - Tvangste - Russian city, which, by decision of the
Potsdam Conference of 1946, the northern part of the German province
of East Prussia, together with its capital Königsberg, was
transferred to the USSR after World War II. Today, the city of
Kaliningrad is part of Russia and the most western regional center of
Russia. It is located at the confluence of the Pregoli River in the
Kaliningrad Bay. Population - 475 056 people. (2018). According to
the city authorities, from 120 to 180 thousand residents of the
region and visitors from other regions of the country living and
working in Kaliningrad are added in a relatively legal manner.
Kaliningrad is the second most populous city (the first is St.
Petersburg) in the North-Western Federal District, the third (after
Riga and Vilnius) in the Baltic basin and the seventh among the cities of
the Baltic Sea coast. Kaliningrad is one of the six main centers of
internal migration attraction in Russia over the past two decades.
The city is the core of the rapidly growing Kaliningrad
agglomeration with a population of over 715 thousand people.
Kaliningrad is a major transportation hub: railways and highways; sea and river
ports; Khrabrovo International Airport. The headquarters of the
Baltic Fleet of the Russian Navy is located in Kaliningrad.
Kaliningrad is among the 25 largest industrial centers of Russia.
There are museums in Kaliningrad (Amber Museum, Historical and
Artistic, World Ocean, Art Gallery, Fortification Museum, etc.),
theaters, large libraries (in particular, fragments of the medieval
book collection - Wallenrodt Library), a zoo, a botanical garden. In
the center of the city is the Cathedral in the Gothic. Until 2010, Kaliningrad had the status of a “historic city”.
In 2018, the city held matches of the World Cup.
Travel Destinations in Kaliningrad
The old cathedral of Königsberg, Kanta 1 (Easily approachable by
foot either from the direction of the Kaliningrad Hotel (take the
left side of the Leninsky Prospekt auto bridge south, and descend
the stairs when the cathedral appears on your left) or from the
direction of the Fish Village), ☎ +7 4012 63-17-05. 9AM to 5PM.
Founded in 1333, largely reconstructed after World War II, the
cathedral on Kneiphof Island along the Pregolya River is a sight to
see. The cathedral links Kaliningrad to its German past, as it is
where the Prussian kings were once crowned. There are two rooms in
the Cathedral Museum devoted to the life of Kant, whose tomb lies
beside the cathedral walls. Up the stairs to the left of the main
door is a three-story museum dedicated to the life and work of
Immanuel Kant (separate ticket needed). Kant's grave can be viewed
outside the cathedral, on the northeast corner of the building. 270
The House of Soviets. Known to locals as 'The
Monster,' this is sort of an anti-attraction, but useful for
orientation in the city center. It was constructed on the ruins of
the Königsberg Castle, but was deemed structurally unsound and
therefore never occupied. Rumor has it that a mysterious owner
prevents it from being demolished. An archaeological dig is active
on the grounds, which is not open to tourists, but specialists may
be able to arrange for a visit of the remains of the castle.
The old fortifications
The old fortifications. From approx. 1860-70, they include 15
town gates - Sackheim, King's, Rossgarten, Attack, Railway,
Brandenburg, Friedland, Friedrich Wilhelm III. One of the towers is
home to the Amber Museum.
Königsberg knowingly gained the reputation of a fortress city,
built in the form of a bastion fortification system. There still
remains a large number of defensive structures: the city gates,
ravelins, reduits of bastions, barracks, defensive moats. The most
popular among tourists is a chain of preserved city gates, which
surrounded the central part of the city. The profile of the fortress
wall is quite well read on the map, and on the way there are other
objects that, incidentally, may be stylistically similar to
defenses, but have a great history. All the preserved gates were
built in the middle of the XIX century in the neo-Gothic style,
often at the site of the older gates.
The Royal Gate (the
intersection of Frunze Street and the Lithuanian Val). In 2005, the
Royal Gate was a symbol of the celebration of the 750th anniversary
of Kaliningrad. From the same year, the gate is a branch of the
Museum of the World Ocean. There is an exposition dedicated to
visiting the Konigsberg Grand Embassy of Peter I. Zakheim Gates.
The intersection of Moscow Avenue and the Lithuanian shaft. The
lower rooms are converted into an art cafe. Friedland Gate (the
intersection of Kalinin Avenue and Dzerzhinsky St.). At the gate is
a museum. Ravelin Friedland. The Brandenburg Gate (on
Bagration Street, a few hundred meters from the Kaliningrad Yuzhny
Railway Station). The only city gate of Kaliningrad, still used for
its intended purpose (through which passes the roadway, the tram
line and the pedestrian pavement). Friedrichsburg Gate.
Railway gates (located under the roadway of Gvardeysky Avenue, next
to the monument to 1200 guardsmen). Through the gate passes a
footpath leading to the park located behind the monument. In the
spring of 2007, the Railway and Ausfalsk gates were handed over to
the Kaliningrad History and Art Museum. The restoration of the gates
is planned, and the placement of museum expositions of
military-historical subjects in their premises. Together with the
monument to 1200 guardsmen and Victory Park, the gates should become
part of the military-historical complex. Ausfal Gates (in the
southwestern corner of the intersection of Guards Avenue and
Mountain Street, in the immediate vicinity of the monument to 1200
guardsmen). This gate is mostly hidden by the earth, so they are the
least visible and least known (many Kaliningraders do not even know
about their existence). An Orthodox chapel is built on the covering
of the gate. In 2007, the gate was transferred to the Historical and
Art Museum, their restoration and placement in the gate of the
exposition is planned. Astronomical bastion. Wrangel Tower.
Tower of the Don. Rostgarten Gate (next to the Amber Museum, on
Vasilevsky Square). Used as a seafood restaurant. Reduit the
bastion of Oberteich. Barracks Kronprinz. Reduit Bastion
Fishing Village. Red-roofed buildings and colourful exteriors
illustrate the charm of old Koenigsberg, what Kaliningrad used to be
Victory Square. The central area where the
administrative buildings, banks and shops are.
History of Kaliningrad
Sambians Königsberg was preceded by a Sambian (Old Prussian)
fort called Twangste (Tuwangste or Tvankste), meaning Oak Forest.
During the conquest of the Sambians by the Teutonic Knights in 1255,
Twangste was destroyed and replaced with a new fortress named
Königsberg. The declining Old Prussian culture finally became
extinct around the 17th century, after the surviving Old Prussians
were integrated through assimilation and Germanization.
Teutonic Order The settlement at the site of the present day
Kaliningrad was founded as a military fortress in 1255 after the
Prussian Crusade by the Teutonic Knights against Baltic Prussians, a
non-Germanic ethnic group related to the ancestors of the
present-day Lithuanians and Latvians. The new town was named in
honor of the Bohemian King Ottokar II. The crusade was followed by
immigration from Germany and other regions of Western Europe.
East Prussia Within the following seven centuries, the area
became predominantly German, with Polish and Lithuanian minorities.
During World War II the city of Königsberg was heavily damaged by a
British bombing attack in 1944 and the massive Soviet siege in
Soviet Union At the end of World War II in
1945, the city became part of the Soviet Union pending the final
determination of territorial questions at the peace settlement (as
part of the Russian SFSR) as agreed upon by the Allies at the
The Conference agreed in principle to the
proposal of the Soviet Government concerning the ultimate transfer
to the Soviet Union of the city of Königsberg and the area adjacent
to it as described above, subject to expert examination of the
The U.S. President Harry Truman and British
Prime Minister Clement Attlee declared that they would support the
proposal of the Conference at the forthcoming peace settlement.
Königsberg was renamed Kaliningrad in 1946 after the death of
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Mikhail
Kalinin, one of the original Bolsheviks. The survivors of the German
population were forcibly expelled in 1946–1949, and the city was
repopulated with Soviet citizens. The city's language of
administration was changed from German to Russian.
was rebuilt, and as the westernmost territory of the USSR, the
Kaliningrad Oblast became a strategically important area during the
Cold War. The Soviet Baltic Fleet was headquartered in the city in
the 1950s. Because of its strategic importance, Kaliningrad was
closed to foreign visitors.
In 1957 an agreement was signed
and later came into force which delimited the border between Poland
and the Soviet Union.
Russia The town of Baltiysk, just
outside Kaliningrad, is the only Russian Baltic Sea port said to be
"ice-free" all year round, and the region hence plays an important
role in maintenance of the Baltic Fleet.
Due to the collapse
of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Kaliningrad Oblast became an
exclave, geographically separated from the rest of Russia. This
isolation from the rest of Russia became even more pronounced
politically when Poland and Lithuania became members of NATO and
subsequently the European Union in 2004. All military and civilian
land links between the region and the rest of Russia have to pass
through members of NATO and the EU. Special travel arrangements for
the territory's inhabitants have been made through the Facilitated
Transit Document (FTD) and Facilitated Rail Transit Document (FRTD).
While in the 1990s many Soviet-era city names commemorating
Communist leaders were changed (e.g. Leningrad reverting to Saint
Petersburg), Kaliningrad remains named as it was.
early 1990s, the Kaliningrad oblast has been a Free Economic Zone
(FEZ Yantar). In 2005 the city marked 750 years of existence as
Königsberg/Kaliningrad. In July 2007, Russian First Deputy Prime
Minister Sergei Ivanov declared that if US-controlled missile
defense systems were deployed in Poland, then nuclear weapons might
be deployed in Kaliningrad. On November 5, 2008, Russian leader
Dmitry Medvedev said that installing missiles in Kaliningrad was
almost a certainty. These plans were suspended, however, in January
But during late 2011, a long range Voronezh radar was
commissioned to monitor missile launches within about 6,000
kilometres (3,728 miles). It is situated in the settlement of
Pionersky (formerly German Neukuhren) in Kaliningrad Oblast.
Even though the current German government has stated it has no claim
over Kaliningrad, the former Königsberg, the possibility of such a
return to German rule at some future time continues to come up in
discussion, creating what is known as "The Kaliningrad question".
In 2018, Kaliningrad hosted some games of the World Cup.
The best time to visit is in summer between June and August, when
the temperature is around 20 to 25 deg C. Temperatures in autumn
range from 10 to 15 deg C and the season lasts from September to
November. The Kaliningrad winter, which is from December to
February, is much milder winter than Russia, with temperatures from
5 deg C to minus 11 deg C.
Take along an umbrella, because
the weather is unpredictable and windy. The weather is quite humid
too, thanks to its proximity to the Baltic Sea. The Baltic sun is
Get in Visa As Kaliningrad is an exclave of the Russian
Federation, almost all visitors require a Russian visa to enter. If
you plan to travel overland between Kaliningrad and other parts of
Russia, you will need at least a double-entry visa in order to exit
and re-enter Russia. Travelling by air on domestic flights between
Kaliningrad and Moscow or St. Petersburg can be done even with a
single-entry visa. For more information about Russian visas, see the
visa section on the Russia page.
By plane 1 Khrabrovo
Airport ((Аэропорт Храброво) KGD IATA) (16 km (9.9 mi) away from
Kaliningrad). A regular bus (144) is going every hour from the
terminal to various stops in the city centre for 33 rubles. Taxi
service is also available; one company offers a fixed price of 300
rubles to get from the airport to any point in the city; other cab
companies might charge substantially more. Khrabrovo Airport on
Wikipedia Khrabrovo Airport (Q1431650) on Wikidata edit
Airlines and destinations include: Aeroflot (Moscow-Sheremetyevo,
St. Petersburg) airBaltic (Copenhagen Airport, Riga) Belavia
(Minsk) Gomelavia (Grodno, Gomel, Minsk) Rossiya (St.
Petersburg) Sky Express (Moscow-Vnukovo) UTair Aviation
By train Long-distance trains leaving
from Kaliningrad run on Moscow time, an hour ahead of the local
time. Thus a train advertised as leaving at 6:30PM actually leaves
at 5:30PM local time. Comedian Yakov Smirnoff might have said, "In
Soviet Russia trains are on time, you are late" Clocks at stations
use Moscow time. Just to confuse things, local trains run on local
time. After witnessing this system, you will no doubt understand
that the railways were one of the driving forces for standardized
time-zones throughout Europe. East-bound (towards Vilnius in
Lithuania) long-distance trains still run regularly. Departures are
daily from Moscow (22 h) via Minsk (11 h) and every two days from
Saint Petersburg (26 h, also via Minsk).
services are available from Kiev (26 h), Kharkiv (30 h) and
Chelyabinsk (69 h) in the Urals. There's also trains from Black Sea
resorts such as Sochi (61 h) and Sevastopol (41 h), expect 1-2
trains a week during summer. All cross-border services across the
Polish border have unfortunately been cancelled.
Kaliningrad-Passazhirsky (Калининград-Пассажирский), sometimes
called Kaliningrad South, is the main railway station and is located
at ul. Zheleznodorozhnaya, 15.
By car The road system is
extensive in the Kaliningrad region; however, they are not always
well-maintained, and sometimes it is hard to get around because of
absence of signage indicating directions/destinations (especially in
the city). Driving rules are generally the same as in most European
countries, but many do not follow the rules, especially during rush
hour in the city. Beware of the traffic police because they like to
stop foreigners and often expect bribes.
There are two ways
to get to Kaliningrad by car - from Poland and from Lithuania, but
you should expect delays on the borders (sometimes it can take a
couple of hours)! The green card for insurance has been valid since
beginning of 2009.
By bus Bus time tables for
international and regional buses (in English), see:
here Bus from Tallinn via Riga, see:
Bus to/from Gdańsk (Zloty 28, from Kaliningrad to Gdańsk 500 Rubles)
- leaves Gdańsk at 06:00, 06:30, 15:00, 15:30. See:
and here Bus
to/from Vilnius - leaves Vilnius at 13:15
A night bus also
runs from Kaliningrad to Warsaw. However, as of summer 2008 this bus
departed not from the main bus station, but from a bus station east
of the city centre. To get to this bus station, take Moskovski
Prospekt east from the main Leninsky bridge over the river and walk
for about a mile. The bus station is clearly visible on the right
hand side of the road.
By boat During summer there is a
boat service between Kaliningrad, and Frombork, Krynica Morska and
Elblag, Poland - more info at
Get around City has bus, minibus, trolleybus, and tram
networks. The best way to explore the city is by bus. The public
transportation system is very good. Half of the population live in
the city, hence it is very well-connected. Fares are kept low, at a
flat rate of 15 rubles (US$0.50, GB £ 0.30) on the bus and the
waiting time is short. Tickets on the buses are handed out by the
Taxis within the city may have meters, but most
prefer to negotiate fares in advance. Minimum charge within the city
is at least 100 Rubles, even for short distances.
Budget Komnata Otdyha (Комната Отдыха), Inside the main train
station (follow the Комната Отдыха signs). The station offers rooms
and small dorms. You do not need to show a rail ticket to stay. A
good budget option, especially if arriving late. 500 - 1500 RUB.
Mid-range 1 The Art Hotel «Pushkin Hall», Dostoevskogo st.
19, ☎ +7 4012 36-57-52. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. It is a
family hotel. €40.
Splurge 2 Kaliningrad Hotel, Leninsky
Prospekt 81, ☎ +7 4012 536021, e-mail: email@example.com.
A landmark hotel in the centre, clean and well renovated, within
walking distance to most sights. Breakfast buffet is 250 Rubles
extra. 2100-2500 Rubles per night. 3 Moscow Hotel, Prospekt Mira
19, ☎ +7 4012 352333, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Affiliated with the Kaliningrad Hotel, and quite similar although a
little bit up the road, but still near the centre. 2100-2500 Rubles.
4 Radisson Hotel Kaliningrad, Victory Square, 10, ☎ +7 401 259
3344, e-mail: email@example.com. On the historic main
square. 178 rooms and suites created by Swedish designer Christian
Lundveld. 5 Skipper Hotel, Oktyabrskaya Ulitsa 4A (In the Fish
Village), ☎ +7 4012 592-000, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A
boutique hotel. Breakfast buffet is 200 Rubles extra. 2500-2800
Rubles per night.
Papasha Beppe Pizzaria, Leninsky Pr. 20/26 and Baltiiskaya Ul.
12. 11AM to 11PM. Many locals consider this to be the best thin
crust and thick crust pizza in town, also a wide variety of salads,
pastas, risottos, and desserts. 200-600 Rubles per pizza.
Karamel, Leninsky Prospekt 30 (On the top floor of the Plaza Center;
note the separate elevator to the right of the main entrance to the
shopping mall.), ☎ +7 4012 53-04-61. Some of the best views from the
city from this cafe. Excellent food and fairly broad range of
European cuisine, approximately 500 rubles per entree.
Razgulyai, Ploshad' Pobedy 1, ☎ +7 4012 533-689. Cafeteria-style
restaurant with rustic decor. Good for children. Solyanka Cafe,
24 Prospect Mira, ☎ +7 4012-936-203. Try the solyanka, a thick,
piquant soup that is either meat-based, fish-based or
vegetable-based. It is cooked with preserved cucumbers, olives,
capers and tomato puree that give a strong sour-salty taste to the
soup. Solyanka is perhaps one of the most popular soups besides
borscht (beetroot soup) in Russia, but remains unknown beyond the
national boundaries. 500 rubles. Zarya, Prospekt Mira 41/43
(Just up the street from the Moscow Hotel), ☎ +7 4012 21-39-29. A
trendy, upscale restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, wide
selection on the menu, excellent desserts. In the same building as a
Drink Twelve Chairs (Dvenadstat' Stulyev).
A very chic bohemian style cafe with a decent food menu. In the
Shadows of the Castle (V Teni Zamka) (In the strip mall across from
the Kaliningrad Hotel). opens at 11AM. One of Kaliningrad's
longest-lasting cafes. Local beer brands that are available in
stores include Ostmark and Königsberg.
Hmel Restaurant and
Brewery, Pobedi Square, 10 ('Klover' Shopping Centre, 2nd Floor), ☎
+7 4012-593-377. Live music starts at 9PM every night. A gigantic
brewery on the second floor churns out home-made beer. 95
rubles/glass. Kropotkin, Teatralnaya ulitsa 30 (next to the big
McDonald's near Victory Square), ☎ +7 401 266 8060. Self-made beer
(100 RUB 0,5l), probably the best in town. Try the unfiltered one.
Acceptable food, cosy beerhall atmosphere and business lunch. 400
Europa shopping mall, Ploshad Pobedy, 2A Victory
Square (Train to Severnyy vokzal), ☎ +7 8 4012 21-08-23. 66,000 m2
of high-end boutiques, cinemas, food and beverage outlets ranging
from fine-dining restaurants, cosy cafes to cheap food kiosks.
Viktoriya Supermarket, Leninsky Prospekt 30 (Ground floor of the
Plaza Center). A 24-hour supermarket, useful for self-caterers.
Other locations throughout the city, too. edit Amber jewellery
and art and craft is the local specialty:
Factory, Ul. Chernyakhovskovo 62 (also other locations in the city),
☎ +7 8 4012 53 05 45, e-mail: email@example.com. Factory store
offering a wide variety of jewelry and objets d'art for almost any
budget. edit Amber pavilion (A few blocks up Leninsky Prospekt
from the Kaliningrad Hotel). opens at 10AM. Several stores grouped
together with a variety of amber items at competitive prices.
Yantarny, Information tourist center «Gorod Vdohnoveniya», Masterov
Square, Yantarny settlement (Located an hour's drive from the city),
☎ +7 8-911-462-79-59- 8-911-462-79-59, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yantarny has the biggest amber mine in the world and accounts for
more than 90 per cent of the world's output. This settlement has a
wide variety of amber products. Amber Museum's gift shop, 1,
Marshal Vasilevsky square, ☎ +7 8 4012 46 68 88, +7 8 4012 46 65 50,
e-mail: email@example.com. You can buy a piece of amber from 240
Visa Centers Estonia Estonia (Estonian
visa service provided by the Consulate of Lithuania), Proletarskaya
street, 133, ☎ +7 4012 95-7688, +7 4012 95-9486, fax: +7 (4012)
95-6838, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mon-Fri, 8-30 - 12-30.
Hungary SloveniaHungary and Slovenia (Hungarian and Slovenian
visa service provided by the Consulate of Latvia), Engels street,
52-а, ☎ +7 921 107-4224, +7 411 270-6755, +7 401 256-5502, +7 8 4012
295-7441, fax: +7 (921) 232-9750, e-mail:
email@example.com. Mon-Fri, 9AM-6PM. Sweden Sweden
(Swedish visa service provided by the Consulate of Poland),
Kashtanovaya Alley, 51, ☎ +7 (4012) 976-440, +7 (4012) 218-741 (visa
issues), fax: +7 (4012) 976-443, e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Mon-Fri, 9AM - 2PM.