Once an important base for the Teutonic Knights and the Prussian capital, the City of Kaliningrad (Russian) became a solidly Communist community during the Soviet era. Today, it is not unusual to find old communists picketing the government for a return to the old system. The city was all but demolished during World War II, so there are few historic buildings left. But the Port of Kaliningrad boasts many new attractive parks and gardens. Closed to the West for almost 50 years, the Port of Kaliningrad has not been overtaken by the hotels and fast-food restaurants common in many cities. Visitors to the Port of Kaliningrad will find it a unique, if not mystifying, place with many surprises. For more information about the things to see and do in the Port of Kaliningrad, please visit the city's tourism website.
The Port of Kaliningrad enjoys a moderate climate with comfortable summers and cold winters. Temperatures range from an average high of 22 °C (72 °F) in July and August to an average low of -4 °C (25 °F) in January.
Visitors to the Port of Kaliningrad will want to check out the city's Amber Museum located in the restored Dohn's fortress building. Most amber is found along the Baltic Coast, and it has been an important trade good for the region for many centuries. The Amber Museum in the Port of Kaliningrad takes a number of different perspectives on the mineral: paleontological, mineralogical, geological, archaeological, historical, and scientific. With three floors containing 28 exhibit rooms, the museum contains five sections. One section provides information on the original of amber and its properties. Another section deals with amber in an historical and archaeological context, exploring the evidence if man's discovery and use of this beautiful mineral. Another section reviews the role of amber in the art of the 17th and 18th Centuries. The "Kaliningrad Amber Factory" section looks at the world's richest amber deposit in the Port of Kaliningrad region and the Amber Factory that produced amber objects. A final section looks at the use of amber in modern art like jewelry and mosaics where visitors can observe artists working with the mineral.
Before World War II, the Port of Kaliningrad's Kneiphof Island (now called Kant Island) was the city center, a busy place with narrow streets and ancient buildings. Today, the Konigsberg Cathedral is the only building on the island. Built in the 14th Century, the Gothic cathedral was the site for the coronation of Prussian kings. During the war, this beautiful Port of Kaliningrad building was almost completely destroyed, with only some of the outer walls still standing after the Battle for Konigsberg ended. Since the 1990s, the Cathedral has been reconstructed, and it looks much as it did before its misfortune. It houses a museum that tells the building's story and that of the Kneiphof Island city center, the heart of the German Konigsberg. The Port of Kaliningrad's Kant Island is now a nice park surrounded by the two runs of Pregolya River. Visitors can enjoy the park surrounding the Cathedral today where they will find the grave of Immanuel Kant.
The former 13th Century Konigsberg Castle was located in the heart of the Port of Kaliningrad. Before it was devastated by World War II bombs, the castle's inner yard covered some seven thousand square meters. Its west wing contains a chapel and the Moscowit Hall, and the southwestern tower stood some 97 meters tall. The south wing contained the Prussian Museum and the City Gallery. In 1969, the Port of Kaliningrad government cleared the space for a new Supreme Soviet building, blowing up the remains of the castle left after the war. Today, the castle ruins are being excavated, and they have discovered that subterranean areas of the castle have been preserved. Thousand of objects have been found, including an occult silver casket with medals and amulets. Upon completion of excavations, parts of the castle vaults will hopefully be made available to the public as an open air museum. The city decided to rebuild the castle, but they have not yet set the reconstruction schedule.
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