Zelenogradsk — a pearl in the edge of amber, preserving attractions
In the Kaliningrad region, on the Baltic Sea coast, 24 km from Kaliningrad, the resort town of Zelenogradsk is located. Until 1946, this small town (about 15 thousand people live in it) was called Krantz, and in 1999 it was recognized as a balneological resort of federal significance.
The Kaliningrad region is the most western part of the country, which became part of the Russian Federation only in 1946. For a long time these lands belonged to the kingdom of Prussia, which formed a unique for Russia architectural look of the historical cities of this region. One of them is Zelenogradsk.
The history of Zelenogradsk begins in 1252, with the construction of Teutonic knights of the roadside tavern «Krantakrug». The name of the tavern comes from the Prussian word «Krantas», which translates as «steep bank.» Judging by written sources, at the end of the XIII century, this area was occupied by the Order settlement Krantsckuren, and in 1283 Neuhaus Castle was built. In 1308 the village was burned by the Lithuanians, the Teutons dismantled the castle and moved it to another place. And although Kranzkuren rebuilt again, he no longer had strategic importance.
The next mention of the future Zelenogradsk refers to the XVII century, where it appears in the documents as the fishing village Kranz.
The settlement flourished in the 19th century, when, with the development of the resort industry in European countries, the recreational and recreational opportunities of the south-eastern coast of the Baltic Sea were appreciated.
In 1946, after the transfer of the northern part of the German province of East Prussia under the jurisdiction of the Soviet Union, the city was renamed first Baltiysk, then Nakhimovsk, and in 1947 Zelenogradsk.
The catch phrase «Sun, air and water are our best friends» can be the motto of any seaside resort. These words are true in relation to Zelenogradsk. Just need to add — and mud baths.
The history of the then Prussian Kranz as a resort begins in 1816, although the project of arranging these places for a wellness holiday appeared much earlier. The Napoleonic wars put off its implementation for several years, and in 1800 the Prussian king Frederick William III ordered the health services to develop a program to create a resort in Cranz.
The initiator of the transformation of the fishing village into a fashionable resort is the professor of the University of Königsberg, Ludwig von Backo, who noted that the inhabitants of the coastal zone are much healthier and live longer than the inhabitants of the central regions. Thus, the healing effect of the Baltic seaside climate, its fresh air and sea water was discovered.
So, in 1816, Kranz acquired the status of a royal resort, and by the end of the 19th century, gained a reputation as a resort city with excellent mud treatment facilities and hotels, trendy shops and amusement parks. Steamships and stagecoaches went to Kranz, since 1885 — trains.
The resort is becoming popular not only among the Germans, but also among residents of other countries, including Russia. At the beginning of the 20th century, up to 10 thousand people a year rested in Kranz.
During the First World War, the city became empty, but already in the 1920s, new sanatoriums, hotels, cafes and restaurants appeared here, treating visitors with fish delicacies.
After the Second World War, the city renamed Zelenogradsk gradually regained the status of a resort — first of all republican and then of federal importance.
The main specialization of local sanatoria is mud therapy and therapeutic and preventive water procedures. Here are treated diseases:
- of cardio-vascular system;
- respiratory organs;
- nervous system;
- musculoskeletal system and several others.
Architectural monuments and museums of Zelenogradsk
The architectural appearance of the city was formed mainly in the late XIX — early XX centuries, so the center of the city to this day resembles a typical Prussian town of the nineteenth century, differing, however, by a big advantage — it is located on the seashore. Moreover, Zelenogradsk-Kranz was rebuilt as a resort city, so its infrastructure was initially created with the expectation of the convenience of tourists.
The fierce battles of World War II miraculously passed the city, and it retained its historical appearance almost intact.
Among the architectural sights of Zelenogradsk worth seeing:
- Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral, located in the building of the former Lutheran church of St. Adalbert. The church building was built in the Gothic style at the end of the XIX century. The height of the tower is 42 meters;
- Church of the Apostle Andrew the First-Called in the building of the former Catholic chapel of St. Andrew. The building was built in the years 1903-1904 in the Gothic style;
- the building of the railway station Kranz (end of the XIX century);
- the post office building of Kranz (early 20th century) in the neo-gothic style;
- residential building with a pharmacy (early 20th century). It is distinguished by a bright, festive facade with elegant white balconies;
- a residential house with a large mezzanine (early 20th century);
- a large and elegant building of the Kurhaus Krantz Hotel, built in the middle of the 19th century;
- «The House of the Starry Sky» — the former building of the Sternfeld trading house (beginning of the XX century)
- building water baths with a clock;
- the building of the hotel «East Prussia» with stucco on the facade and wrought-iron balconies (early XX century).
The building of the former villa Krell (the beginning of the 20th century) houses the Zelenograd city local history museum. The structure is made according to a unique project, in which elements of the Russian style are intertwined with Gothic.
Zelenogradsk is a very nice attraction — the local Museum of cats. It is located in an old water tower, and the number of exhibits reaches 4.5 thousand. Among the exhibits there are various images of cats and cats, books devoted to them. The Murarium Museum is the largest cat museum in Russia.
The black-and-white cat a’Murr, who personally chose the tower as his place to live and work, serves as the museum’s keeper, the Tower Ranger and simply the Lady’s favorite. The 40-meter-high water tower is crowned by an equipped platform, from where you can see the city and the sea.
The sights of Zelenogradsk include the Curonian Spit, a natural monument listed as a UNESCO. This national park begins in the vicinity of the city and is a sandy spit with a length of 98 km. The territory of the spit is divided between Russia and Lithuania. Russia owns 46 km.
Spit covered with forests and dunes. At the 23rd kilometer of the Curonian Spit there is the oldest bird-ringing station in Europe for bird ringing: the spit is a bird’s bridge, a natural corridor for the migration of millions of birds. In addition to the many birds, about 300 species of animals live here and 600 species of vegetation grow, including endangered ones.
The most significant natural sights of the Curonian Spit:
- “Dancing forest” — a pine forest made up of bizarre trees:
- the dune of Efa is one of the highest moving dunes of the spit, it is called the only desert in Europe;
- Müller’s height is a high dune, from the observation deck of which there is a stunning view of Chaika Lake, the forest and meadows;
- beaches of the Curonian Lagoon; The main difference from the sea beaches is that the water in the bay is fresh and very warm. The sand is fine and clean;
- Lake-estuary Swan — a real oasis for waterfowl and a paradise for fishermen.
Interesting fact: in 1982, the feature film “Treasure Island” was shot on the Curonian Spit.
Features of rest in Zelenogradsk
Zelenogradsk is a very cozy town. It is not so deliberately ceremonial as Svetlogorsk, and not as industrial as Pioneer.
The climate in Zelenogradsk is comfortable for rest and treatment at any time of the year: the winter is warm and mild, the air temperature during the day rarely drops below 0, and the summer is not hot. The water of the Baltic Sea warms up to + 23 ° C.
The descent to the water and the relief of the seabed near the sea is flat and even. The beach is wide (up to 200 m) and long (2 km), with fine golden sand. Natural attraction beaches Zelenogradsk — the so-called «pans» — cozy areas of the beach, surrounded by shrubs and protected from the wind, which allows them to sunbathe in early spring.
It is no coincidence that the city is named Zelenogradsk: there are many large and well-kept parks that turn into a pine forest outside the city, and the famous Curonian Spit attracts everyone who wants to see the wonders of nature.
A special attraction of the city is the beautiful embankment of Zelenogradsk (Promenade), filled with people walking every day at any time of the year, however, it is crowded here and at night.
The measured atmosphere of the town, the calm sea set up for an unhurried and serene rest.