Northwestern Federal District
Time: Eastern European Time Zone (known locally as the Kaliningrad Time Zone or the Russia Zone 1).
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Land and Resources: Kaliningrad Oblast is a non-contiguous exclave of Russia surrounded by Lithuania, Poland, and the Baltic Sea. Geographical features include: Curonian Lagoon - shared with Lithuania, Vistula Lagoon - shared with Poland. With an area of 15 100 km2, it is the smallest region of the Russian Federation. Despite being the westernmost part of the Russian Federation, it has no land connection to the rest of Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Climate: The climate is transitional from temperate continental to maritime. The average annual temperature ranges from +6.2 to +7.6 °C with an average July temperature of +17 °C and an average January temperature of +3 °C. The frost-free period is about 180 days. Winds are predominantly from the west. The mild, healthy maritime climate of the Kaliningrad coast with its lack of abrupt temperature fluctuations has great curative properties. The strongest solar UV radiation in Russia occurs in the city of Svetlogorsk in the center of Kaliningrad`s resort zone, where there are up to 135 sunny days per year. After storing up heat during the summer, the sea here never freezes.
Transportation: Borderless travel to the main part of Russia is only possible by sea or air. Kaliningrad is the only Russian Baltic Sea port that is ice-free all year around and hence plays an important role in maintenance of the Baltic Fleet. The Neman and Pregolya Rivers are navigable. All kinds of transport are well-developed. Kaliningrad has railway connections with Russian cities, Poland and Berlin in Germany. The most important junctions are Kaliningrad and Cherniakhvsk. There is an airport in Khrabrovo. Public transport in Kaliningrad consists of trams, trolleybuses and buses.
Kaliningrad Oblast is informally called Yantarny kray (meaning amber region).
Kaliningrad (formerly known as Königsberg) has historical significance as both a major city of Prussia and the capital of the former German province East Prussia, partitioned after World War II between the USSR and Poland, and renamed after Mikhail Kalinin.
The cities of Kaliningrad Oblast, despite being heavily damaged during World War II and after, still bear typical German architecture, such as Jugendstil, showing the rich German history and cultural importance of the area.
Relatively few travelers make their way to Kaliningrad Oblast, although Kaliningrad is a unique area in Russia. It is not only the westernmost, the youngest and the smallest region, but the territory of Kaliningrad Oblast is isolated from the rest of the country.
Kaliningrad Oblast is worth visiting for its old country-side Prussian castle ruins, as well as for its sunny beaches, the highest sand dunes in Europe, thick pine forests and the world`s largest amber mine. So, if in your childhood you were fascinated by novels about knights, their arm-bearers, heroic deeds, if you are dreaming to feel the past or to find a piece of amber on the shore of the Baltic Sea, then Kaliningrad Region is the place you need.
Kaliningrad has its own distinctive appearance: parks and squares occupy a third of the city`s territory, and typical Western European architecture gives way to styles common to modern cities. It is an economic and cultural center where the number of tourists has gradually been increasing in recent years. The city attracts attention because of unique monuments of the past that have been preserved to this day and the pride of the city, the Kaliningrad Zoo.
Kaliningrad was long considered a center of European culture and remains so today. The architectural monuments, fortresses, castles, and estates that have been preserved to this day are a unique feature of Kaliningrad Region, although many of them are in a partially ruined state.
One special reminder of Old Konigsberg is the Mausoleum of Immanuel Kant, the city`s most celebrated native and the founder of classical German philosophy. Kant was born in 1724 and lived to the age of 80. He was initially buried by the university walls, but his remains were later moved to a chapel near the Cathedral. Then in 1924, a mausoleum designed by the architect Lars was built on the site of the chapel; each element of the design has a symbolic meaning connected with Kant`s philosophy.
The ruined Stadthalle (concert hall), originally built at the beginning of the 20th century, was restored according to a design by the architect E. Popov and the Regional Museum of History and Art was relocated in it. However, Kaliningrad is not only known for its monuments; there are also many cultural facilities, including museums, exhibition halls, theaters, and a philharmonic. The Art Gallery, which opened in 1988 and has a fund of 5000 works, never ceases to amaze Kaliningrad residents with its exhibitions.
The Regional Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestra make an invaluable contribution to Kaliningrad`s intellectual development. Kaliningrad`s theaters introduce audiences to the arts and to classical and contemporary literature. The Kaliningrad Regional Drama Theater is very popular with Kaliningrad residents and visitors alike. Today, the theater stages productions from both the classical and contemporary repertoires: you can see the names of Shakespeare, Brecht, Alexei Tolstoy, Ostrovsky, and many other playwrights on the theater`s program. A small stage is used for performances of chamber works. The Tilsit Theater also makes a great contribution to the development of theater art in the region. There is a theater department at the State Institute of Dramatic Art (GITIS), which operates in association with the Antrepriza Lik private theater. Kaliningrad is the home of the only German theater in Russia, registered in November 1995. The theater stages performances in German with a Russian translation.
Kaliningrad Region occupies a special place among seaside resorts, with a 30-km-long resort zone along its coast. Nature has generously endowed this region where the open sea combines with endless golden beaches, moderately warm summers and mostly frost-free winters, and abundant and varied plant and animal life. Everything here is favorable for healthy recreation and effective health-resort treatments. The mild coastal climate of the Kaliningrad resort zone has special curative properties, and people are attracted here by the treatment centers that form the basis of an extensive system of health resorts.
Resort visitors are drawn most of all to the sea and the beautiful Baltic beaches that form a broad belt of fine light-colored sand. There are no beaches like them on the Black Sea. The gently sloping sandy sea-bottom is suitable for swimmers of all ages. The swimming season runs from June through mid-September; the average water temperature during this period is 17-19iN with a maximum of 22iN. August is the "velvet season" (i.e., the nicest month) on the coast.
The pure, clear sea air saturated with the scent of pine and flowers, air- and sunbathing, swimming in the sea, and walking along the scenic coast relieve stress and fatigue and raise the spirits. The climate, modern health-resort treatments, and the local therapeutic mineral waters and peat mud have a beneficial effect on people suffering from cardiovascular diseases, nervous-system and musculoskeletal disorders, and certain other illnesses.
The main health resorts are located in the Svetlogorsk resort area. The small seaside town of Svetlogorsk is the center of a large resort that has become enormously popular. More than a million vacationers make use of its services each year, leaving with fond memories of health centers like Amber Coast (Yantarny bereg) and Otradnoe. There is a group of specialized children`s sanatoria that effectively treat tuberculosis of the bones and joints, rheumatism, and the aftereffects of childhood neurological infections. The health resorts have all the necessary diagnostic and treatment equipment and experienced staffs of doctors and other medical personnel.
Curonian Spit, a narrow strip of land shaped by water and wind where the sea borders on a freshwater bay located above sea level. A surprising world full of harmony and contrasts and a distinctive microclimate welcome vacationers wanting to relax at the tourist centers, campsites, holiday homes, and children`s camps on Curonian Spit.
Today, the resorts of the Kaliningrad coast are full of life, with more bars, restaurants, casinos, and discos than any other Russian city.
The Botanical Gardens maintained by Kaliningrad State University are the pride of the city. The gardens` collection includes more than 2500 plant species from nearly all parts of the world. Visitors to Kaliningrad can also take in the Kaliningrad Zoo, which today has about 370 different animal species. There are daily tours to Lithuania offering visits to the Delphinarium, the Maritime Museum, and Curonian Spit National Park.
There are also organized tours to Poland on request, with visits to Malborg Castle, the tombs of the Prussian kings in Fromborg, Hitler`s headquarters in Wolfsschanze, organ recitals in Swieta Lipka, and the Tropikanka aquapark.
Brandenburg Gate, Kaliningrad
Statue of Lenin in Kaliningrad
Sackheim Gate, Royal Gate and Brandenburg Gate (Königsberg)
Dom Sovyetov of Kaliningrad
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (Kaliningrad)
Kaliningrad Zoo (formerly: "Königsberg Tiergarten") and former Ostmesse locality
Ploshchad Pobedy (city centre)
Immanuel Kant State University of Russia (located on the campus of the former University of Königsberg)
World Ocean Museum/Oceanic museum
The 2006 finished Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
Temple of the Christ the Savior
the Brandenburg gate
Sandy beach at the coast of Baltic sea, the Kurshsky plait
Encarta World Atlas
http://www.gov.kaliningrad.ru - Official Site of the Administration of Kaliningrad Region