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 BRIDGES AND "THE PREGEL'S ODOR"
Ivan Chechot / St. Petersburg, Russia
Let's walk along the quays of the Pregel River, between its former and present day bridges, from one to another, looking to the right and left, to the past and present. It's always pleasant to stroll along the river.
The Pregel River begins 118 kilometers from the city, in the place where the rivulets Angerapp, Pissa and Inster flow together. The Pregel is a beautiful and calm river. It flows in flood-lands behind which rise hills overgrown with pine. Ruins of castles and country estates may be there. The river used to be navigable in the pre-war and post-war periods, but it is now too shallow.
The Pregel has two branches in the city: the Old and the New Pregel. The old branch now flows near the Dom Sovetov; in ancient times it didn't take a sharp bend towards the Iunost Sport Palace but continued further, along Moskovskii Prospect, into the Old Pregel near Kosse Island in the port. The distance between the city and the sea is 42 kilometers; 35 kilometers of this distance consists of a sea channel that was built in 1891.
The Pregel was always crammed full with ships and squeezed in by barns on its banks. They were very beautiful and some had artistic details. All the barns disappeared in the flame of war.
In 1594, during the wedding of the Kurfurst Johann Sigismund, great fireworks were set off on the river for the first time. Navigation buoys for ships were set on the river in 1798, and the first steamer went through in 1833.
Kaliningrad's citizens drink water not only from the wonderful lakes which are on Samland Peninsula but from the Pregel as well. A secure pumping and purification station for drinking water was built in 1927 near the country estate Jerusalem (the present location of Emelianova Street).
Miraculously, not a single bridge was damaged during bombing by the British Royal Air Force in 1944. All of were destroyed later. An elevated bridge was built in the center in 1927, and ramshackle old bridges were demolished.
There were seven bridges in the center. Every mathematician knows Leonhard Euler's proof about these bridges. It became the basis for the science of topology, and the Koenigsberg citizen David Hilbert was its classical author.
We will begin our walk with the Green Bridge, which connected Langegasse on Kneiphof with Vorstadt (today's Leninskii Prospect). This bridge was built on the Old Pregel in 1322, burnt down in 1582 and was rebuilt in 1590. The 16th century structure with lifting mechanisms remained safe and sound until 1907(!), when the Green Bridge was replaced by a new one. Some features of modernism could be traced in its architecture. Splendid obelisks with lanterns, decorated with city emblems, rose on its abutments. The bridge looked like the front entrance to the city. It had openwork metallic triumphal arches with cartouches, upon which were written the bridge's name and the date of its erection (1907). The cartouche also depicted a rising sun with beams and a sailing ship, a symbol of the flourishing of the city and state. Latin mottos adorned the sail. The bridge's grating included motifs of shells and hippocampuses.
Not far from the place where Green Bridge used to be stands the grand building of the Palace of Culture for Sailors, which used to be Koenigsberg Exchange. The city's first exchange appeared in 1619. Its edifice was built on piles right in the water near the banks of Kneiphof, and its entrance was from Green Bridge. Thus it stood exactly opposite the present day exchange. Already in the 19th century, the Exchange, the Exchange Hall, and the Exchange Garden became places where the well-to-do and educated society used to gather. There club of the Koenigsberg Merchants' Association was there, and it began to host concerts in 1830.
Construction of a new large exchange began in 1875. A famous architect from Bremen, Heinrich Mueller, was invited for this purpose. He was a student of Teofil Hansen - a prominent Viennese architect of the mid-19th century, who was a devoted follower of the Neo-Greek style (in Vienna Hansen built the Parliament that resembles the Acropolis, the Philharmonic and many other buildings). Mueller adopted Hansen's idea for the strict application of the Greek orders: every floor has its own order, and the so-called horizontalism, parallelism, and minute structures of the front elevation also go back to Hansen. This is all clearly seen in the Exchange building.
This grandiose building stands on 2200 wooden piles, sunk to a depth of 18 meters. Its exterior is well preserved, having lost only its rich sculptural decoration. Inside, there is a monumental vestibule and rather beautiful gallery-hall with light arches and pillars that recall the Florentine Renaissance. One may enter this arcade by passing around the building. The hall faces the river. Prior to the construction of the House of Technique in 20th century, the largest public hall in the city was located in the Exchange; concerts and exhibitions were held there.
Its corners were adorned with sculptural representations of the parts of the world. The building is constructed from light-colored stones, and, of course, it hadn't been painted prior to the war. Now it sports the "optimistic" white-blue colors of underwear, and, unfortunately, it has a rusty crown with a long defunct advertising sign on top. But noble architectural details, profiles and capitals, castle stones and rustics have been spared, and it is the only complete monument of classical architecture in Kaliningrad. This is a real hymn to trade and trade disputes, being not devoid of bellicosity due to the rectangular towers of military angles at the water's edge. In the plan of the building, whose facades slip right into the water and colonnades present a Renaissance grandeur, one can trace a hint of that queen of the seas, Venice.
There are two expressive and rather aggressive sculptures of lions, examples of the Neo-Baroque taste of the Bismarck epoch. They are the work of Richard Emil Hundrieser (1846-1911), a famous Berlin sculptor who was born in Koenigsberg. He created propagandistic monuments such as the allegory Berolin and a monument to Kaiser Wilhelm on Kneiphof. Hundrieser cut these lions out of sandstone. Today they need to be cleansed of the black paint, which was probably used by the management of The Palace of Culture in order to make them look more frightful. In old times the caustic citizens of Koenigsberg called them "the Brothers Lowenstein" hinting at the role of Jewish capital in the exchange. It is noteworthy that Hundrieser planned a monument to the famous 18th century writer Johann Christoph Gottsched to be placed in Juditten, where this writer was born in a parson's house, but this plan was not implemented.
If one stands on the Elevated Bridge where the Green Bridge used to be, and looks in the direction of the port, he or she may see the junction of the two Pregels. Very few people know that this is the deepest part of the Pregel - a pit of 22 meters! And it is getting deeper and deeper all the time… It is said that a tower block on the left side of the river wasn't built because of this deep spot. There is a submarine near this deep spot; Putin visited it either before or after the wreck of the Kursk; it is the property of the Museum of the World Ocean the best museum in the city). The German-built scientific ship Vitiaz is behind the submarine. It has very beautiful interior decorations from the 1930s and features interesting exhibits. The new building of the museum, embellished with a lighthouse tower, stands opposite it. The Railway Bridge may be seen in the distance. Here is a real monument of technology. The Reichsbahnbrucke was begun in 1913. Because of the war, construction too ka long time and it was only completed in 1926. It is near the gates of the former Friedrichsburg Fort. One branch goes to Pillau-Baltiisk, the other goes to the Northern Train Station and to Tilsit-Sovetsk. As today, the bridge was two-storied; the first floor was for autos and trams, and the upper floor was for trains. But at that time it moved differently; there was a Konigsstuhle, where the middle part of the bridge turned to make room for ships to pass. "The Russians turned the badly damaged bridge into a static structure with ugly elevators." Ugly, but grandiose! Many tons of concrete blocks hang at a height of several tens of meters. This is my favorite bridge on the Pregel. You must go for a walk there to have a good look at everything - rivets, steel beams, a brick tower with peculiar cut granite eaves - and to go down to the water in order to draw in the river air, the smell of the Pregel.
Generally speaking, it is not smell, but a real stink. When the Northern wind first sprays water and then the river pushes it out to the bay, a special Pregelgestank - Pregel's Stink - is formed. Pregelgestank is local schnapps that was best prepared best in the small town Holstein (today this settlement is called Pregolskii).
This beautiful place is not far from the river's mouth. The 17th century ducal castle, Gross Holstein, still stands there (of course, it appears a bit disfigured but is still is recognizable and is surrounded by magnificent ancient trees). Ships moored there, and coaching inns and sailor taverns have been there since ancient times. Peter the Great with his embassy also went there in 1697. One can't buy this schnapps in Kaliningrad today, and other schnapps are also no longer available. Blutgeschwur (Bloody Hernia), for example, was a favorite drink of the longshoremen. It was prepared from egg liqueur, cognac and cherry brandy; this combination was red with yellow, just like a mature hernia. The vodka Speicherratte or "Brown Rat" was also very popular. But today there are quite a few local beverages. For us, aliens, it is, first of all the cognacs "Insterburg "and "Old Koenigsberg"; "Bastion" is even better, but a bit more expensive. Second, our beloved extract "Altaiskii" may be bought in drug stores and it is irreplaceable in creating a feeling of coziness and awakening philosophical thoughts and feelings during journeys across Kaliningrad.
Having taken a nip on the windy elevated bridge, where we were looking towards the port, we went go further on to where the Langegasse across Kneiphof to the Store Bridge. This is the first and most ancient bridge: it appeared already in 1286. There mercantile stores and money-changing offices were piled up on top of each other. The bridge was renamed several times. In 1339 it was called the Bridge of St. George, in 1397 it was renamed Koggenbrucke in accordance with the name of an ancient type of Varangian ship, the Kogge. In 1787 the bridge was rebuilt, and all the stores were demolished. Store Bridge was rebuilt again in 1900, when all the conductor cables were run across the bottom of the river -a great achievement about which was much written. The Elevated Bridge has been rattling here since 1972, but one can still find the place on the quays where the piles of the old bridge used to be. The appearance of the elevated bridge, beneath the piers of which endless galleries of concrete arches rush to nowhere, is one of those strange purely Kaliningrad sights that are admired by both experts and connoisseurs of the city, and because of which they are stubbornly against the bridge's demolition.
Blacksmith Bridge a little bit further along the stream of the New Pregel. Cathedral Bridge had been on this very spot since 1322. The cities Altstadt and Kneiphof shared the cost in building the Blacksmith Bridge in 1379. It was rebuilt twice, in 1778 and 1896. There is nothing left of this bridge. But the place is beautiful, uninhabited. Chestnuts are golden in autumn, and water in the river is not brown but blue. One may sip some more "Insterburg" after having come down to water.
Only two bridges were spared in the center of the city: the Honey Bridge, which tourists cross on their way to the Cathedral and Kant's tomb, and the Holzbrucke (Wooden Bridge), across which all trams and transport go to Lomze Island, a low area which is now built up with prefabricated structures (it also has the Kreuzkirche church by the architect Kikton; it was built in 1933 and is now most interesting architectural monument). We turn to the bridge as if from the square Munchenhofplatz, behind which is the ancient town Lobenicht, nothing of which remains.
The Wooden Bridge was built in 1404 by the citizens of Altstadt. It was rebuilt in 1901-1904, when a plaque honoring the chronicler Lucas David (1503-1583) was mounted on the bridge. A native of Allenstein, David received a master's degree from Leipzig University, after which Duke Albrecht called him to the court. In 1576 David started composing The Prussian Chronicles on the basis of ancient documents. It was published only in 1812, but since then these ten books have remained one of the richest sources of information about the Order's history before its defeat at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410.
The bridge has a beautiful grate with oaken leaves and acorns, which is painted with red paint to render it even more beautiful. Figures stones of bulls, the drawbridge mechanism, and a short flight of stairs leading to the water have been preserved. One can enjoy a magnificent view of the Cathedral and the spot at the corner of the river where the old University - where Kant worked - used to stand.
If one turns back, the towers and buildings of the old Feldmuhle pulp and paper mill is visible behind the pre-fabricated houses, almost on the horizon. It's both harsh and beautiful scenery at one and the same time. If you have courage, it is worth going there to scrutinize the modern villa of manager Heinrich Lauber, worker housing, and, of course, expressive industrial buildings, pipes, and workshops -- Gothic in the 19th century and strictly functional after 1930. This is already the outskirts and suburbs, and, standing on Wooden Bridge, one can feel how close nature and the city are to each other. The flood-plains of the Pregel are seen from here, and it seems that in good weather you can feel the smell of herbs.
A fragment of an old red brick house stands behind trees on Lomse Island, between the Honey and Wooden bridges. This is an orphan's house of a synagogue, which was situated a little bit to the right. Jews were admitted into Prussia by the "Great Elector" Friedrich Wilhelm and were granted the right to public worship in 1682. In 1753 Friedrich the Great allowed the construction of a synagogue. It was not situated. The synagogue on Lomse Island was built in 1896. It had a dome of 46 meters height, which evidently competed with the Cathedral. It was a Romanesque brick building with a big round stained-glass window that featured a six-pointed Star of David in the center. The synagogue burnt down in 1938 during Kristallnacht (Crystal Night), a pogrom dubbed "crystal" because of the quantity of glass and crystal that broke on this night in Jewish shops.
The Jewish culture of Koenigsberg was rich and essential. It's enough to mention such names as Moses Mendelsohn or Hannah Arendt, great philosophic thinkers of the 18th and 20th centuries. There were also the democrats of 1848, the doctor and entrepreneur Johann Jacobi, and a member of Frankfurt Parliament Eduard von Simson. The Jewish were in the vanguard of liberalism and democracy. It's worth recalling that the mathematician Hermann Minkowski, who provided research into Einstein work, was also a citizen of Koenigsberg; the philologist-classicist Ludwig Friedlander and many others were Koenigsberg citizens as well. Only a fragment of this orphan's house with its heterogeneous windows and oddly melancholic curving line of the fire wall has preserved Jewish building culture. It gives away the time and style of the building away - both modernist and Neo Baroque style on the eve of the World War II. It is said that the present day Jewish community is going to rebuild this synagogue.
Honey Bridge stands on the opposite side. It was constructed in 1542, after the Reformation, and the citizens of Altstadt called it the Honey Bridge because Oberburggraf Bezenrade had bribed corrupted councils with a few pots of honey in order to carry out his shady dealings. That's why the people who lived in Kneiphof were contemptuously called "honey-eaters" in the other cities of Koenigsberg. The bridge was rebuilt in 1882, and it has been standing there ever since. The wheels of its lifting mechanism are easily seen from one side.
Some people try to foist some trifles or amber off on tourists. The Germans stops, look at the water, and work their way across the bridge. Let's follow them. But we won't turn to the Cathedral but turn to the left, to the quay. There are two views from here: towards the Exchange and the port, and upward along the New Pregel. The remains of the Kaiserbrucke Bulls are visible in the distance. It was a smart looking bridge with lanterns and decorations (1905). A bit further behind the bend of the river is the High Bridge. It is still there now. It was first built for in1520, and a new bridge was erected in 1882. The beautifully shaped stones of the bulls and a small bridgehead chapel with a turret have been preserved. Kaliningrad artists love this charming Gothic pavilion very much. They are able to extract from it an elixir of German Romanticism, the spirit of E.T.A. Hoffmann and many other things. A restaurant is going to be opened there, but the genius of this place is seemed to be resisting… There is a second High Bridge, built in 1938, just a few meters higher. This is a typical concrete and metal structure with low towers. A miniature Koenigsberg "skyscraper" of the 1920s rises behind the bridge: a ribbed brick tower, to which a house, turning up along the street, is adjoined. From the bridge, the yard, and the street the view of this tower is beautiful. A fragment of a beheaded sculpture sits at the corner of the facade. This place is one of the most vivid in the city.
But let's turn back to the city. We are moving towards the Elevated Bridge. Pay attention to the height of the embankment - the remains of Kneiphof sleep below it. Soviet architects refined this embankment quite successfully with the help of a stone retaining wall made of granite: it strides gloomily forward in a zigzag manner. Approaching the traverse of the Exchange, one must imagine one more span: Giblets Bridge. It appeared in 1377 for the first time and was rebuilt as drawbridge in 1886. This bridge was called Giblets Bridge, because there was Kettelhof or slaughterhouse in Koenigsberg (it was demolished only in 1889). Koenigsberg had its own dialect, its own words. I will give some examples: to abrak means to tire somebody, Baidak - a sailing vessel; Buddel - a bottle, Dshimka or Flissak - a boatman from Poland; Ditchen - one coin; Dvach - a psycho, madman; gavnerig - to be canny, giliat - to stare at something; glubshen - peer into something maliciously; Gnashel - a worthless and paltry man; gnidern - to giggle; kabbeln - to argue, and if somebody is rahulirg it means that he/she is greedy; Tuntel - big nose or penis; Tsagel - a tail and penis, and a word vamzen means to punch somebody as he/she deserves it. Such a curious language, completely understandable, it's not even necessary to learn German.
We've wandered round the Island, flew up the estuary and along the river in our imagination. While walking in Kaliningrad one has to and wants to take such flights. After the war the city lost its tightness, it became transparent, empty. One end of the city is seen from another. It's a stone's throw from one epoch to another.
Translation by N. Shtock