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Kaliningrad, the former German city of Königsberg, founded more than seven centuries ago, now combines two periods of its existence: German and Russian, both equally important, despite the gap in the length of historical spaces.

The city was founded as a fortress by crusaders of Teuton Order in 1255 and got the name Königsberg, which means Kings mountain. The protective power of the fortress gave the start to the growth of three settlements: Altstadt, Lebenicht and Kneiphof, each with its separate administrative rights, law and other attributes of self-government. The administrative unification of the three cities dates 1724, when Königsberg gets its name officially. Thus, this year can be considered the birthday of the city and coincides with one more remarkable date in Königsbergs history birthday of Immanuel Kant. This outstanding philosopher was born, spent his entire life and died in Königsberg. Despite the fact that the citizens of modern Kaliningrad are not overwhelmingly familiar with Kant`s works, his name is mentioned there as often as the name of a god.

Read: What to Eat in Kaliningrad 

However, in 1701 all Prussic kings started to get crowned in Königsberg. In 19th-20th centuries Königsberg turned into one of the main trade centres between Russia and Europe. The importance of this economical cooperation was marked with the building of a special trade-exhibition complex for trade relations with Russia. The defeat of Germany in WWI resulted in isolation of the city from the metropolis, and by the beginning of WWII Königsberg had turned into the portal of German forces transition to the East. Furious bombardment by the British Royal Air Force in 1944 destroyed the central part of the city. In 1945 the city was taken by storm by the Soviet army and this brought additional damage to Königsberg. In 1946 the city integrated into the USSR with the name of Kaliningrad. During 1947-1948 the German population of Kaliningrad was deported and here new history of the old city starts. Separated from the rest of the federation after the USSR collapsed in 1991, Kaliningrad faced economic and social decline.

The city has witnessed many famous figures coming there at different times and with different intentions. Peter the Great and Napoleon, Kutuzov and other well-known commanders stepped on Königsbergs land. Thatd be fair to mention, that Königsberg was the place where Peter the Great led his first negotiations at European level, where he was taught artillery and obtained the status of bombardier and commander. The city also gave birth to such people as Martin Knutsen (professor and teacher of Kant) and Ehrenfried Nicolai (composer). It was the place for wedding ceremony of the outstanding composer Richard Wagner with the actress Minna Planer. Turgenev, Nekrasov, Esenin and Mayakovsky were among the visitors of the city.

In 2005 Kaliningrad marked its 750th anniversary. Taking into account the dual history of the city and its roots, the celebration obtained international importance. Political and ethical disputes over the appropriateness of such celebration broke out prior to the anniversary. Later it was decided, that Kaliningrad apparently has the right to mark two birthdays, and this conclusion followed by one more celebration in 2006, marking the 60th anniversary of the citys foundation. To remember the history of the nowadays non-existent city of Königsberg and 60-year-old Kaliningrad is vitally important for the integrity of self-consciousness of its citizens and future development.





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