Thursday, 29 December 2011
That's a statue of Peter the Great on the right but the lighthouse and houses of the Fishing Village really don't look much like the Russia of my imagination. It is though. This is Kaliningrad.
Kaliningrad is geographically completely separate from Russia, and not just by a little bit - hundreds of miles. It is separated from Russia by Lithuania and Poland. It was once called Königsberg and part of Prussia, then Germany. It was almost destroyed during WWII and occupied by the Red Army. It was renamed in 1946 after Mikhail Kalinin.
It was once one of the Hanseatic League cities. The Hanseatic League was set up during the 12th century between merchants from northern Europe, mainly German and Scandinavian. It became so powerful it lasted for approximately three centuries. The word "hansa" can still be found today, most notably in Lufthansa, the German airline.
In 1980 a new Hanseatic League was formed, open to all former members, to promote tourism and trade. Kings Lynn in Norfolk is the only English member. It was once the third most important port in England. It still has two warehouses dating from those times.