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Kaliningrad

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* <see name="The old cathedral of Königsberg (founded in 1333)" alt="" address="" directions="Easily approachable by foot either  from the direction of the Kaliningrad Hotel (take the left side of the Leninsky Prospekt auto bridge south, and descend the stairs  when the cathedral appears on your left) or from the direction of the Fish Village" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="9am to 5pm" price="">Largely reconstructed after World War II, the cathedral is a sight to see.  Up the stairs to the left of the main door is a three-story museum dedicated to the life and work of Immanuel Kant (separate ticket needed).  Kant's grave can be viewed outside the cathedral, on the northeast corner of the building.</see>
 
* <see name="The old cathedral of Königsberg (founded in 1333)" alt="" address="" directions="Easily approachable by foot either  from the direction of the Kaliningrad Hotel (take the left side of the Leninsky Prospekt auto bridge south, and descend the stairs  when the cathedral appears on your left) or from the direction of the Fish Village" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="9am to 5pm" price="">Largely reconstructed after World War II, the cathedral is a sight to see.  Up the stairs to the left of the main door is a three-story museum dedicated to the life and work of Immanuel Kant (separate ticket needed).  Kant's grave can be viewed outside the cathedral, on the northeast corner of the building.</see>
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[[Image:Kgradmonster.jpg|thumb|The 'Monster' as viewed from the Plaza Center]]
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* <see name="The House of Soviets" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">Known to locals as 'The Monster,' this is sort of an anti-attraction, but useful for orientation in the city center.  It was constructed on the ruins of the Kaliningrad Castle, but was deemed structurally unsound and therefore never occupied.  Rumor is that an ownership dispute also prevents it from being demolished.  An archaeological dig is active on the grounds, which is not open to tourists, but specialists may be able to arrange for a visit of the remains of the castle.</see>
  
 
* <see name="The old fortifications (approx. 1860-'70)" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">Includes 15 town gates. One of the towers is home to the Amber Museum</see>
 
* <see name="The old fortifications (approx. 1860-'70)" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="">Includes 15 town gates. One of the towers is home to the Amber Museum</see>

Revision as of 04:35, 8 July 2008

Kaliningrad, also known by its original German name, Königsberg, is the capital city of Kaliningrad Oblast in Russia. It has about 450,000 inhabitants. It is also called 'Karaliaucius' in Lithuanian, as Lithuanians (cousins to the 'Old Prussians') used to live there. So it is truly 'City of the Four K s: Kaliningrad / Konigsberg / Krolewiec / Karalaucius '. Following WWII, it was briefly known as Kyonigsberg (Кёнигсберг), the Russified form of the original German name.

Get in

As Kaliningrad is an exclave of the Russian Federation, almost all visitors require a Russian visa to enter. If you plan to travel overland between Kaliningrad and other parts of Russia, you will need at least a double-entry visa in order to exit and re-enter Russia. Traveling by air on domestic flights between Kaliningrad and Moscow or St. Petersburg can be done if you hold a single-entry visa.

By plane

Kaliningrad Hrabrovo Airport is located 16 kilometers away from Kaliningrad. There are buses to/from the terminal to the bus station (Avtovokzal) which leave every hour on the hour during the daytime. Taxi service is also available; drivers may try to negotiate a fixed price in advance, and they may begin bargaining at 1000 Rubles or more. Paying by the meter, rather than agreeing to a fixed price, costs about 700 Rubles to the center/Kaliningrad Hotel in normal traffic.

Airlines and destinations include:

  • Aeroflot (Moscow-Sheremetyevo)
  • airBaltic (Copenhagen, Riga)
  • Belavia (Minsk)
  • Gomelavia (Grodno, Gomel, Minsk)
  • KD Avia (Amsterdam-Schiphol, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin-Tegel, Budapest, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Kiev-Boryspol, London-Gatwick, Milan-Malpensa, Moscow-Domodedovo, Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Munich, Rome-Fiumicino , St. Petersburg)
  • LOT Polish Airlines (Warsaw)
  • Rossiya (St. Petersburg)
  • Sky Express (Moscow-Vnukovo)
  • UTair Aviation (Moscow-Vnukovo)

By train

The South Train Station

Train number 345 departs Berlin daily at around 21.00, arriving in Kaliningrad around 16.00 the next day. Train 344 operates the return trip, leaving Kaliningrad around 18.30 and arriving in Berlin around 07.00 the next day. Timetables of trains to/from Germany at DB.

Several trains from Moscow pass through Belarus and Lithuania. There is also a daily train to/from Saint Petersburg via Lithuania. Timetables at Timetables of trains to/from Poland at Poezda.net.

Timetables of trains to/from Poland at PKP - Polish Rail.

By car

The road system is extensive in the Kaliningrad region (thank to the Germans, who lived there before); however, they are not always well-maintained (a major Russian problem), and sometimes it is hard to get around because of absence of signage indicating directions/destinations (especially in the city). Driving rules are generally the same as in most European countries, but many do not follow the rules, especially during rush hour in the city. Beware of the traffic police because they like to stop foreigners and often expect bribes.

There are two ways to get to Kaliningrad by car - from Poland and from Lithuania, but you should expect delays on the borders (sometimes it can take a couple of hours)! You must have Russian insurance to cross the border. The green card is not valid yet (expect it to be valid in 2007 or 2008). The cost of insurance is about $40-50 for 2 weeks.

By bus

Eurolines.ee Bus from Tallinn via Riga.

Bus to/from Gdansk (Zloty 28) - leaves Gdansk at 07:00 and 15:30. See http://www.itisnet.com/english/e-ce/e-poland/e-gdnsk/e-t-gdn.htm

By boat

During summer there is a boat service between Kaliningrad, and Frombork, Krynica Morska and Elblag, Poland - more info at Zegluga Gdanska

Get around

City has bus, trolleybus, and tram networks. The public transportation system is very good and quite cheap. Taxis within the city may have meters, but most prefer to negotiate fares in advance. Minimum charge within the city is at least 100 Rubles, even for short distances.

See

  • The old cathedral of Königsberg (founded in 1333), (Easily approachable by foot either from the direction of the Kaliningrad Hotel (take the left side of the Leninsky Prospekt auto bridge south, and descend the stairs when the cathedral appears on your left) or from the direction of the Fish Village). 9am to 5pm. Largely reconstructed after World War II, the cathedral is a sight to see. Up the stairs to the left of the main door is a three-story museum dedicated to the life and work of Immanuel Kant (separate ticket needed). Kant's grave can be viewed outside the cathedral, on the northeast corner of the building.
The 'Monster' as viewed from the Plaza Center
  • The House of Soviets. Known to locals as 'The Monster,' this is sort of an anti-attraction, but useful for orientation in the city center. It was constructed on the ruins of the Kaliningrad Castle, but was deemed structurally unsound and therefore never occupied. Rumor is that an ownership dispute also prevents it from being demolished. An archaeological dig is active on the grounds, which is not open to tourists, but specialists may be able to arrange for a visit of the remains of the castle.
  • The old fortifications (approx. 1860-'70). Includes 15 town gates. One of the towers is home to the Amber Museum
  • Amber Museum, Marshal Vasilevsky Square 1 (In the Dohna Tower of the city wall), (4012) 46 68 88 (, fax: (4012) 46 65 50), [1]. 10am to 7pm, daily except Monday. 90 Rubles.
  • Bunker Museum, (Enter the first courtyard to the right behind the Kaliningrad Hotel). daily except Wednesday, 10am to 4pm. A bit hard to find (one must weave through three or four courtyards and children's playgrounds before finding it, which is barely marked except by two black upright triangular canopies over the bunker doors), it was the headquarters of the local German command during the 1944 battle. A museum of the German occupation and Soviet liberation of the city, including several interesting dioramas of events during the days of the battle. 50 rubles.
  • Museum of the World Ocean, Nab. Petra Velikovo 1, (4012) 53 89 15 (), [2]. 11am to 6pm, Wed-Sun. includes two museum ships and one submarine.

Do

  • Annual Jazz Festival 'Don Chento Jazz', [3]. Takes place in August

Buy

Amber is the local specialty.

  • Kaliningrad Amber Factory, Ul. Chernyakhovskovo 62 (also other locations in the city), 8 (4012) 53 05 45 (), [4]. Factory store offering a wide variety of jewelry and objets d'art for almost any budget.
  • Amber pavillion, (A few blocks up Leninsky Prospekt from the Kaliningrad Hotel). opens at 10am. Several stores grouped together with a variety of amber items at competitive prices.

Eat

  • Papasha Beppe Pizzaria, Leninsky Pr. 20/26 and Baltiiskaya Ul. 12 (Central location on Leninsky Prospekt is within walking distance of the Plazma Center). 11am to 11pm. Many locals consider this to be the best thin crust and thick crust pizza in town, and Papasha Beppe also offers a wide variety of reasonably-priced salads, pastas, risottos, and desserts. 200-600 Rubles per pizza.
  • Zarya, Prospekt Mira 41/43 (Just up the street from the Moscow Hotel), (4012) 21-39-29. A trendy, upscale restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, wide selection on the menu, excellent desserts. In the same building as a movie theater.
  • Karamel, Leninsky Prospekt 30 (On the top floor of the Plaza Center; note the separate elevator to the right of the main entrance to the shopping mall.), (4012) 53-04-61. Some of the best views from the city from this cafe. Excellent food and fairly broad range of European cuisine, approximately 500 rubles per entree.
  • Razgulyai, Ploshad' Pobedy 1, (4012) 533-689. Cafeteria-style restaurant with rustic decor. Good for children.
  • Twelve Chairs (Dvenadstat' Stulyev). A very chic bohemian style cafe with a decent food menu
  • In the Shadows of the Castle (V Teni Zamka, (In the strip mall across from the Kaliningrad Hotel, on the same block as the 'Monster'). opens at 11am. One of Kaliningrad's longest-lasting cafes.
  • Viktoriya Supermarket, Leninsky Prospekt 30 (Ground floor of the Plaza Center). A 24-hour supermarket, useful for self-caterers. Other locations throughout the city, too.

Drink

Sleep

  • Kaliningrad Hotel, Leninsky Prospekt 81 (Very center of the city), +7 4012 536021 (), [5]. A landmark hotel in the city center, clean and well renovated, within walking distance to most sights. Breakfast buffet is 250 Rubles extra. 2100-2500 Rubles per night.
  • Moscow Hotel, Prospekt Mira 19, +7 4012 352333 (), [6]. Affiliated with the Kaliningrad Hotel, and quite similar although a little bit up the road, but still near the city center. 2100-2500 Rubles.
  • Skipper Hotel, Oktyabrskaya Ulitsa 4A (In the Fish Village), +7 4012 592-000 (), [7]. A boutique hotel in the Fish Village, within walking distance of the cathedral and the circus. Breakfast buffet is 200 Rubles extra. 2500-2800 Rubles per night.

Get out

Curonian Spit
  • Curonian Spit National Park (Kurshskaya Kosa), [8]. A nearly 50-km-long spit stretching between Zelenogradsk and the Lithuanian border, separating the Baltic Sea from the Curonian Bay, it includes pine forest, hiking paths (beware of encephalitis-bearing ticks), and beaches. Possibly difficult to reach by public transportation, since buses from Zelenogradsk run only occasionally during the day and are often packed when they do run. Entry fees are 30 rubles per person, plus 200 rubles per car..
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