desing:feed         memory         notes
store soon


Königsberg Kaliningrad

The dissonance of combinations of German-Soviet architecture, a measured rhythm of life, active teenagers and cultural development, if we describe Kaliningrad in a nutshell.

Very lively city with a lot of young people who are almost everywhere. They play basketball, ride bicycles, go to the cinema, play the guitar in public gardens and seem to have not use a mobile phones at all.

Kaliningrad is the capital of the Russian province of the same name, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania along the Baltic Coast. Dubbed Königsberg during centuries of Prussian rule, the city was largely reconstructed after WWII. Traces of its German heritage can be seen in the surviving Brandenburg Gate and the riverside Fishing Village, a dining and shopping destination with re-created medieval-style buildings.

The city was rebuilt after of World War II , 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 Oblast 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.
Since 1991, the city has been open for international cooperation with foreign countries, primarily with Germany and Poland, in the field of business, culture and education.

Now in the city has many foreign institutions that provide the necessary information, administrative and visa support to the city.

House of Soviets

Although is widely claimed that the House of Soviets was built directly on top of the Königsberg castle, the actual building stands to the east, on a former castle moat.Whatever remained of the castle was blown up and cleared away between 1967 and 1969.

The vision for the redevelopment was heavily influenced by works of Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer, specifically the development of the Brazilian city Brasília.

Construction started in 1970 on what was intended to be the central administration building of the Kaliningrad Oblast. Placing the heavy concrete structure on top of the ruins resulted in structural problems, not to mention that the castle itself was built on marshy soil.
In 1992 there was an attempt to finish the construction with Danish funding but it was abandoned. The building was left unfinished for many years.

In 2005 the exterior was painted light blue and windows were installed. The new color diminished the sense of brooding mass, but some criticized this update as a modern Potemkin façade. The interior remained unfinished and unusable.

While some consider the building to be one on the worst examples of post-war Soviet architecture, the House of Soviets was seen by others as a good example of Brutalist architecture, particularly before its pastel paint job.

Curonian Spit

The Curonian Spit is a 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. Its southern portion lies within Kaliningrad Oblast, Russiaand its northern within southwestern Lithuania. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site shared by the two countries.

Did you find an error or inaccuracy in the article? Notify me of it —
Footnotes: Photos taken on a Canon Mark II with 40mm f/1.8
Location: Russia, Kaliningrad