The first settlement on the site of the current city was the Prussian village Twangste. During the conquest of Prussia by Teutonic knights in 1255, a castle was founded there and named Königsberg (King’s mountain) in honour of the Czech king Ottokar II, who was an ally of the Teutonic knights.
Later, several settlements populated by German colonists emerged near the castle: Altstadt, Kneiphof and Löbenicht. Although at first they were separate, they gradually became the city that became known as Königsberg, after the castle.
In 1340 Königsberg became a member of the Hanseatic League. The university was founded in 1544. Later this university became famous because of Immanuel Kant, who studied and worked there.
In 1724 the three towns were amalgamated into one, so Königsberg became an administrative entity.
The city was heavily damaged during the Second World War, after which it became part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in the Soviet Union, together with the northern part of East Prussia. The German population was replaced by Soviet citizens. In 1946 the name was changed to Kaliningrad, after Soviet polititian Mikhail Kalinin. Kaliningrad became the capital of Kaliningrad Oblast.
After the disintegration of the Soviet Union Kaliningrad Oblast became a Russian exclave, separated from the rest of Russia.
The main branches of industry in Kaliningrad are fishery, heavy industry (shipbuilding yards, railway equipment), and the food industry.
The city is transportation hub. It has big ice-free harbour. The Khrabrovo international airport is located about 20 kilometres outside the city. Kaliningrad is connected to both Russian (broad gauge) and European (standard gauge) rail networks.
Public transport in the city consists of bus, trolleybus and tram networks.
Culture and education
The city has numerous museums, including:
- Museum of history and art
- Amber museum
- Maritime museum
- Art gallery
There are 21 higher education institutions, the most important being Kant Russian State University (humanities, social sciences, languages and economics), the Kaliningrad State Engineering University (technology and engineering) and the Baltic State Academy (maritime sciences).