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The Museums of Kaliningrad

Russia's westernmost oblast, Kaliningrad, is located on the Baltic Sea coast between Lithuania and Poland. As the capital of the oblast, the city of Kaliningrad lies at the mouth of the Pregolya River and has long been an important port and trading post, playing a significant role the history of the region. Prior to World War II, Kaliningrad was known as Köningsberg and was Germany's largest easternmost city. Toward the end of World War II, the city was captured by the Soviet Union and renamed Kaliningrad in honor of Mikhail Kalinin, a Bolshevik revolutionary and nominal head of state of Russia and the Soviet Union between 1919 and 1946. Large parts of the city were destroyed at the time, but later restored. Visitors to Kaliningrad will find a number of interesting museums to explore, including the Regional Museum of History and Arts, the Kaliningrad Amber Museum, and the museum dedicated to Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant.

The Kaliningrad Regional Museum of History and Arts is located in a magnificent early 20th century building that was a performing arts theatre named Stadthalle when the city was part of Germany and known as Köningsberg. During World War I the building was used as a military hospital, and during World War II it was badly damaged when the city was bombed by the RAF Bomber Command on August 26, 1944. The building was restored in the mid-1980s and has housed the museum since 1991. Its exhibits include collections detailing the geology and nature of the Kaliningrad Oblast, as well archeology and history highlighting World War II and post-war Kaliningrad.

Visitors to the Kaliningrad Amber Museum located in a mid-19th century fortress tower on the shores of Lake Verkhneye, will find 1,000 square meters of exhibition space with superb examples of amber, many of which encapsulate and perfectly preserve plants, insects and spiders. Amber is the fossilized resin of conifer trees that grew in the region tens of millions of years ago. It has been fashioned by artisans into various items, but more often it has been fashioned by nature. The museum also includes a research facility dedicated to studying natural phenomena such as amber.

The former research vessel Wityaz, located on the Pregel River, is home to the Museum of the World's Oceans. Visitors will be able to view the latest technology related to sea research, as well as the incredibly diverse marine life found in the oceans and seas of the world. Certainly, the museums of Kaliningrad offer a wealth of interesting information.

 



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