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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.

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. The foundations proved to be inadequate to support the original 28-story plan and only 21 stories were completed. Continuation of development was stopped in 1985 after the regional Party Committee lost interest in the project and ran out of funding. 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

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Footnotes: Photos taken on a Canon Mark II with 40mm f/1.8
Location: Russia, Kaliningrad