History of the city: from Tvangaste to Kaliningrad

Get to know Kaliningrad – History of the city: from Tvangaste to Kaliningrad

What to see in Kaliningrad, one of the ancient cities of Russia. Seeing Kaliningrad is a good opportunity to know about its history and how it came to be what it is today. Visiting Kaliningrad is ideal for you.

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Time of Tvansgaste

Before the arrival of the Knights of the Teutonic Order in Sambia; on the site of modern Kaliningrad, there was a Prussian fortress of Tuvangste (Twangste, Twangeste). The story left no reliable information about the foundation of Twangste and the descriptions of the fort itself. According to legend, the Twangste fortress was founded by Prince Zamo in the middle of the 6th century.

Time of Königsberg

The Tvangaste fortress was conquered and burned at the beginning of the year 1255. In the same year the fortress of Königsberg was founded by King Otakar II of Bohemia.

There are several versions of the origin of the name Köenigsberg. The most common version is connected to the name of the Koenigsberg fortress, with the name of King Otakar II. According to her, the fortress and the future city were named after the King of Bohemia. Other versions of the origin of the place name connect it with Vikings or Prussians. Maybe “Koenigsberg” is a form of “Konungberg”, where “king”, “cunnigs” – “prince”, “leader”, “head of the clan”, and the word “berg” High shore “. In the Russian chronicles and maps until the end of the 17th century; instead of the name Koenigsberg, the toponim Korolevets was used.

Since the sixteenth century the city has become an important center of Lithuanian culture; The first book in Lithuanian was published here, and the important figures of Lithuanian culture used to live: Martynas Mazhvidas, Kristiyonas Donelaitis, Ludvikas Reza and others lived here.

The “triple” city (Altstadt, Löbenicht and Kneiphof), which was actually a city, but consisted of three administratively independent parts (each of the three cities had its own town hall, its burgomaster, its own court, etc.).

In the year 1724, three cities, numerous towns, villages and suburbs, as well as a castle that before had not been part of any of the cities, but had a special status of government residence, were merged into the city of Koenigsberg.

During the same year in Koenigsberg, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was born, the most famous native of the city in its entire history.

In 1919, Königsberg opened the first airport in Germany and one of the first airports in Europe and the world. In 1922 the air service begins between Königsberg-Riga-Moscow.

After the rise of the Nazis during the “Night of the Crystals” in Königsberg, the New Synagogue was destroyed, built in the years 1894 – 1896.

Before the end of World War II; in August 1944 the city of Königsberg was badly damaged by British bombers during “Operation Nemesis”. It has bombed mainly the center of the city, where there was virtually no military installation. Many civilians were killed, the old city and the most important historical monuments were burned. Later, the city was assaulted by Soviet troops.


Soviet era

The assault of the city of Koenigsberg by the Soviet troops in the course of the Eastern Prussian operation began on April 6, 1945.

The most ferocious battles took place in the strong number 5 “King Frederick William III”; That kept the rights to the northwest of the city. During the assault of the Red Army under the command of Marshal Vasilevsky it was for the first time the tactics of infantry of attack before the discharge of artillery; Avoiding enemy fire in the approach to reinforce the garrison by surprise and capture the fortifications. On April 9, 1945, in the “Der Don” tower; where the Amber Museum is currently located; The red flag was raised, which marked the end of the German history of the city.

By the decision of the Potsdam Conference of 1945, the northern part of the German province of East Prussia, together with its capital Koenigsberg, moved to the Soviet Union. Later, when signing with the frontiers, the Koenigsberg region was fully recognized as the possessions of the Soviet Union.

On July 4, 1946, after the death of the Bolshevik revolutionary and Soviet politician Kalinin, in his honor the city of Königsberg by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR was renamed Kaliningrad, although Kalinin had no city

After the war, the city began to be populated at a rapid pace, production was restored. But the city had a half-closed state in a relationship with the strategic situation and the abundance of troops. For foreigners, however, the city was completely closed, an exception to the friendly visits of neighboring Poland, almost never a visit by foreigners.

The authorities do not pay attention to the heritage of the German culture. The old city was not restored, and the ruins of the castles were demolished in the last 60 years, despite the protests of the architects, historians.

Kaliningrad in the Soviet era
Kaliningrad in the Soviet era

What to see in Kaliningrad today

Major changes begin in the decade of the 90s; The collapse of the Soviet Union gave the beginning of a new stage in the development of the Kaliningrad region. In October of 1996; Elections were held for the mayor of the city and then for the governor of the Kaliningrad region.

Since 1991, the city has been opened for international cooperation with foreign countries; mainly with Germany and Poland, in the direction of business, culture and education.

Kaliningrad today
Kaliningrad today


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