From the editors
CULTURE IN A "FOREIGN" SPACE: AN INTRODUCTION
TO GENIUS LOCI KALININGRAD AND KOENIGSBERG
KALININGRAD IN THE YEAR 2020 - A NOT QUITE FICTITIOUS CONVERSATION
DESTINATION - KALININGRAD
FROM KALININGRAD DICTIONARY
MAP OF THE CITY
FORMA URBIS. SYMBOLIC PARALLELS
IN OR OUT
THE RAILWAY STATION AND ENTRANCE TO THE CITY OF KALININGRAD
BINARY STATES OF "K" CITY
Eugeny Umansky, Karpenko-Karpenko
IN THE CENTER
Andrei Monastyrsky, Sabina Haensgen
EMPTY CENTER K.
FOLLOWING SILENT WORDS
FA+ (Ingrid Falk & Gustavo Aguerre)
THE MYTHICAL FOUNDATION OF KALININGRAD
PRETERITION: KNEIPHOF ISLAND
THE BRIDGES AND "THE PREGEL'S ODOR"
John Craig Freeman, Greg Ulmer
IMAGING KALININGRAD: THE SEVEN BRIGES OF KOENIGSBERG
FORGOTTEN KANT AND THE KANT-BRAND IN KOENIGSBERG
KANT'S BRIDES: A READYMADE PHOTOGRAPHIC CHRONOTOPE
THE CATHEDRAL AND KANT FOR EVERYONE, OR IS GOD FEARSOME WITHOUT MORAL
THE CASTLE OF SOVIETS
THE ROYAL CASTLE
A WHITE SEAGULL ABOVE THE CITY: THE SYMBOLS OF THE OLD NEW CITY
WRITING OF DREAMS
LIGHT UP DOM SOVETOV
THE HOUSE OF SOVIETS
THE MOST PROFOUND SECRET OF ONE KOENIGSBERG LAWYER: HOFFMANN
A LEGEND ABOUT FIVE LITTLE ULRICHEN AND FERRYMAN ANDRE
KOENIGSBERG-KALININGRAD. THE TASTE OF MARZIPAN
THE COUNTRY OF PENSIONERS - OR THE GERMANS
CONCRETE ELEMENTS OF KALININGRAD
THE UNDREAMED OF CITY
TOWN PLANNING MATHEMATICS
MOSKOVSKII PROSPECT & THE SHADOWS AROUND ALTSTADT
OUR TOWER Ivan Chechot
THE TOWER-REDAN "KRONPRINZ"
THE KRONPRINZ TOWER. Projects for the National Centre for Contemporary Arts by Students of the Institute for Theory and Design in Architecture (Braunschweig, Germany)
THE AMBER ROOM
BASTIONS IN DIAMONDS AND EMERALDS
THE HOUSE OF MACHINERY: THE RECONSTRACTION AND EXPLOITATION OF THE POPULATION
V.I.P. (Very Interesting Person)
PLACE OF EXECUTION
TRACES OF A VIRTUAL HISTORY IN A VERY REAL CITY
CHRIST THE SAVIOR CATHEDRAL
LIFE AND EGGS (A sketch about trams)
A STROLL THROUGH THE CENTER
IN THE FLOW: FOUNTAIN SEASON
WILD WEST OF RUSSIA
ANIMALS IN KALININGRAD AND A MOSAIC
KOENIGSBERG'S SPIRITUAL HERITAGE IN TONS, ITEMS AND SACKS. From the history of lost and found cultural heritage
WE ALL ARE GOING TO BE THERE
MONUMENT TO 1200 GUARDSMEN IN KALININGRAD
MATTER AND SPIRIT
FRAGMENT OF A SYMPHONY FOR SLOW READING: IVANOV AND HIS SURROUNDINGS
ATTIC OF RECOGNITION
MAN AND WOMAN
THE SMALL SCULPTURE "GIRL"
ON THE STREET
Igor Isaev, Dmitrii Demidenko
THE FIRE HYDRANT
Kalle Brolin, Kristina Muntzing
THE WATERFALL HERACLES' BOLT
V.I.P. (Very Interesting Person)
NATASHA POTERYASHINA. Inteview
TO BE IN THE MOOD FOR PACKING
Dmitrii Bulatov, Pavel Savel'ev
ACEPHALUS: OPTICAL MODELS
LIGHT THE CRYSTALS OF KALININGRAD!
THE BRIDGE THAT THE "RUSSIANS COULDN'T PULL DOWN"
THE ROAD TO BERLIN: FROM EPIC TO BANAL. Interview with Valerii Bugrov
HOAR-STONES AND BOUNDARY SYMBOLS
MUSCOVITES ARE HANGING
BEFORE THE CITY
THE RAILWAY STATION AND ENTRANCE TO THE CITY OF KALININGRAD
Ivan Chechot / St Petersburg, Russia
Kaliningrad Central or Southern Station. A train slowly pulls up to the platform, passengers exhausted from a monotonous journey emerge from carriages. Some are met by someone, others are not, but all are met by the railway station. One cannot pass by without noticing it. It is big, dark, loud. It is the only one in Russia. This is definitely the place in Kaliningrad where the spirit of Germany remains. Of course, not everyone may notice this, but those who do cannot but appreciate it and will perhaps drop in at the station in order to observe and feel the atmosphere. There are enormous low placed steel piers, powerful supports, and next to them are the posts signs to the underground pedestrian crossing that have survived from the pre-war era. They feature the style and spirit of the first decades of the 20th century with their pathetic feeling of machinery. Construction of the station started at the beginning of World War I.
The underground pedestrian crossings are lofty, noisy tunnels that impress with their magnitude and proportions. Until recently they retained the old tiles. One of the tunnel entrances takes the form of a separate pavilion, whose bare windows survive (to the left of the main entrance, deep inside). The entrance to the main hall is ceremonial and sudden. Austere, with high narrow windows and a coffered ceiling, the hall is decorated with modern chandeliers of samovar gold, which greatly resemble church chandeliers. Indeed, that is exactly what they are; they were made at the church plate ware factory in Sofrino, near Moscow. This patriotic emphasis that appeared only recently almost hides the severe business-like expressiveness of the hall, whose front opens up towards the square with a row of narrow gothic embrasures.
On the left the hall widens and runs deep inside. There one may the find better restored lower rooms for booking offices that are illuminated from above. The round counters of the booking offices have survived. The space is divided by pillars. This simple, logical architecture in concrete brings real satisfaction; it is truly worth seeing.
When entering the square and looking back, one can see the building itself: it is quite low (the roof was changed after the war, and it lost its tiles) with a central cubic projection that is cut through by a lancet arch. The building is faced with dark clinker bricks of very high quality. To the right of the entrance survives an attractive grate made in the style that, like the style of the whole of the station, is a synthesis of gothic, constructive and expressive features. Hence, it received the conventional title "Expressionism." Developed in the early 1920s, it was one of the artistic expressions of the Weimar Republic that combined functionality with decorativeness. There were and there still are other examples of this style. The part of the station facade that faces the opposite side, the trains, appears especially decorative. It usually remains unnoticed, but a curious aesthete will find and appreciate its latticework and other decorative parts. The small bricks for the station, in the so-called Oldenburg form, were made at the famous Kaiser Estate of Kadinen, near Frauenburg-Frombork (now in Poland), where they produced beautiful faience and tiles.
Above the entrance to the station from Reichsplatz, or Kalinin Square, stands a freshly painted coat of arms of the Russian Federation from 1936. Before the war this location was occupied by a distinctive sculptural group that portrayed the Greek god Chronos (the god of Time) galloping on horses - an allegory of progress, speed, and connection. It was made of travertine, a very firm stone, by the sculptor Hermann Brachert (1890-1972). The monument has been lost, but the coat of arms has also become a monument. They began to build the main city station after the rampart fortifications completely lost their significance in 1910. As early as in 1914 the Dusseldorf company Flender started building 178 meter-long steel piers. They look most impressive from the back, if one goes round the whole station, from the bank of the old city moat (still extant and containing water). The station was completed and opened on September 19, 1929. The railway itself first appeared in 1853, and by 1860 the railway line reached the border of Russia. ). However, the Southern/Eastern Station was located in a different place and does not survive. Loaded with refugees, the last train for Berlin left that station on January 21, 1945.
The station complex extends across a rather large area and seems to creep along the ground. If one takes a look from the opposite side of the square, it comprises an entire panorama of buildings: glass piers with a row of distinctive tall Lombardy poplars in front of them, the main entrance, the low buildings of the luggage office (there are peculiarly shaped underground crossings there) and further down is the rectangular block of the Central Post Office. At its corner one can see a square tower with a painted clock. Further on the facades are subordinated to horizontal lines, and the windows of the ground floor are placed into strict frames made of gray limestone. But most impressive is the courtyard entrance through a parabolic arch with a powerful cast-iron grate with a cruciform motif. Through it one can see a perfectly preserved black steam yard, whose walls are fully covered by a brickwork grate.
Photo by D. Vyshemirskii, 2001
Under the arch is the entrance to an antique shop. Of course, you will not find Gainsborough's pictures or paintings and sculptures by famous German artists, but there are some peculiar things: statuettes, crockery, coins, medals, badges. The atmosphere of the shop, being purely that of Kaliningrad of the privatization era, is cozy and smart. There is a wide array of Soviet military uniforms, icons, Kaslino castings. On the walls the plush Soviet banners hang next to kitsch German oleographs (dogs, ladies, towns). Occasionally one can find the Fuhrer's relief, a picture of Hindenburg, and so forth. The complex stretches out further. It consists of high brick walls covered with rhomboid ornament, interrupted by peculiar workshops with lanterns. As you step into the workshop's yard, be sure to pay attention to the elegantly bent cornices and carved wooden doors.
At the site where the station complex ends, comical storybook Brandenburg Gates have touchingly settled down and quite ugly house-propylaeums were reconstructed after the war (towards the city exit road, in the direction of Poland and Germany). They appear opposite the station, further down and against the backdrop of tall nine-storied buildings from the 1970s. This is a different Brandenburg, East Prussia, a small settlement with ruins of the Order Castle and a church tower on the shore of the Frische Haff, Vislinsky Bay. The Gates are part of the belt of 19th century fortifications and are embellished with beautiful sculptural and decorative pieces. These are the only functioning gates in the city. A connoisseur should go inside the arches and examine the block-stone, the laying of the vault and metal parts. There is always beautiful lighting here, but it is really special on a warm summer evening. The bricks flare up red, the stones of the pavement shine.
Let's go back to the square. The main attractions here are Kalinin, flowers and emptiness. The monument should be protected - by aesthetes - "to one's dying day." This is a marvelous, pure and strict sample of the high Stalinist style. Just look at the faceted pedestal of red polished granite! And the architectural design of the site, architrave, lanterns! Kalinin's figure is the work of Nikolai Tomsky, one of the greatest artistic representatives of Socialist Realism of the post-war period. It lacks any deviation or eclecticism. The silhouette is strict and integral. It should be enjoyed on a cool and crystal-bright evening, when the sun has already set but the sky is still shining.
To the right of the station, upwards, above on a ramp is a railway museum - one of the genuinely beautiful new structures. It was made without any serious flaws, exactly coordinating with the railway station in a style that, in my view, is very close to Prussian. In front of it is the deaf silvery block of the bus terminal with typical decorative elements of the 1970s (I should note that it is high time to learn how to understand this). Inside the building there are large dusty photos of city sights on glass. From here searchers for the past may set out on a journey about the region. Behind the high tower-like building, where the Railway Roads Department is located, the dusty verdure begins. However, it is better than it first seems. The half-dug city ramparts turn into a park with beautiful ponds, continued by alleys. One can find parts of fortifications, the foundations of the demolished Nazi hall Prussia House, the directorate of the park and next to it a Soviet sculpture of a deer.
Directly opposite the station are gray five-storied buildings, the upper parts of which are for no obvious reason decorated with a wide strip of noble meander. There is another antique piece here. Between the buildings in the center there is a straight street with a boulevard of Lombardy poplars in the middle. It rounds the hill and goes down. This was my first street. It was the street that I took in 1979, when I was entering Koenigsberg with trepidation and expectation. It is a very beautiful and quiet street, the real Kaliningrad of the 1960s-1970s. With fevered imagination and a special attitude it may be called a pure Prussia: a row of trees, gray buildings, and behind them, if you look back, the heavy black wall of the station with its arrow-shaped portal extends to the ground.
The city starts at the station and ends here as well for those who depart from it by train. This is a Russian, Soviet, formerly German city, and today it is a city with an amazing imposition of layers and meanings, associations and memories. It is neither Europe, nor Russia. It is a school of endurance and comprehension for a historian and a physiognomist of city culture.
The station is crowded only when a train arrives, and their number is declining. Like everywhere in Russia, there are stalls and kiosks. The authorities have been constantly trying to build something in the square, but they have failed thus far. For holidays, they have placed decorative lanterns in front of the station facade, as if it were Moscow Station in St Petersburg. They do not fit at all, but in fact it is a typical practice today that is quite wide spread. To the right, where cars gnash, whistle and rumble at the broken up intersection, the city starts. It is many-colored, extremely discordant. It is hard to make out its specific tune, as it is constantly changing, wandering and lacking in a key-note. A wonderful fashionable car has just slid up, a Volkswagen Beetle convertible, and here crawls a half-broken GAZ 62. The old pavement slides apart between the tram rails like teeth diseased by periodontosis; they are going to be pulled out and everything will be smooth again. The crooked front of the smeared three-storey buildings with bay windows and shabby decorations descends in a stair-like manner. Extensions, rows of boutiques and simpler stalls crowd together. Stalin or someone else or both shaped this facade at the beginning of Leninsky Avenue. The restaurant "Olsztyn" (the present Polish name of the city Allenstein) reminds one of old time banquets and dances. Behind and opposite it on Mount Haberberg (where there was a big church, almost at the location of the present cinema, now the cultural center embellished with a memorial plaque to either Vladimir Vysotsky or Igor Talkov) rise up modern architectural structures- a tall "elite" residential building and something half-built. Further on the street widens and the whole of its right side is built up with the high flat facades of residential houses of the 1930s with figures of headless workers above the front entrances (1937). The buildings are rather well painted, in light colors - blue, yellow, white, pink. An expert can sense the Berlin air, the presence of the school of Bruno Taut, a left-wing architect of the 1920s. This impression is enhanced if you go inside the yard of this building: the entire symphony of small and large windows, polyrhythmic syncopated play will strike you with the whole width of the yard and you will have a feeling of aesthetic gratitude.
Somewhere here at the crossroads of Leninsky Prospect and Bagration Street the entrance to the city ends. The paunchy brand new cylinder of the trade center is shiny and round, stating that everything is OK here in Kaliningrad. Even better, from here one can already see the elevated bridge and, consequently, the historical and memorial center of the city - that emptiness where the old Koenigsberg was located. Let's go there!
Translation by N.Andreyeva