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
A STROLL THROUGH THE CENTER
Ivan Chechot / St. Petersburg, Russia
The initial part of Prospect Mira, beginning at Victory Square, is a small and well preserved fragment of Konigsberg. Everything reminds one of the past here, from the buildings to the width of walkways and borders. This place is simultaneously busy and quiet, official and intimate, as is always the case where such things as a library, a military unit and a theater that is closed during the day are combined. This prospect was called the Hansa Ring in German times. The building of the Administrative and Land Court was constructed in a neo-baroque style in 1913. In present-day Kaliningrad, where each fragment has a slightly dislodged new function, it seems almost like a real monument of the 18th century, in part due to the fact that during Soviet times they painted it two colors, like Rastrelli's Winter Palace in Leningrad. The sculptural details, the horns of plenty and putto, almost mock with their pomp. Everything has been preserved inside: old rooms with heavy oak doors, a vestibule and stairs with winding flights; the asymmetrical yards with arches are interesting. The whole complex is huge and also includes the investigating prison (now a tribunal). When the sun sets in the evening, the high facade in the style of the first quarter of the 18th century that overlooks Ushakov Street looks especially striking.
On the right this "Baroque" building is adjoined by the ascetic gray block of Kaliningrad Technical University that was completed in 1933 and was designed for the Court. In this building there are also interesting interiors and details (grates, capitals). The space of the vestibule was effectively designed with high well-shaped columns and stairs illuminated by rectangular bay windows. This may be seen in the corner between the old and new court buildings. This building is the most expressive example of the New Objectivity style with the details in the manner of Art Deco - it is perhaps one of the most powerfully German accents in the center of Kaliningrad.
Opposite, behind the trees, appears a horizontal line, the four-storied facade of buildings from the 1920s. At the left-hand corner stands the building of the Ostmarkenrundfunk, the Radio Station of East Prussia. This is a purely Constructivist building from 1933-1934, with no signs of the style of the Third Reich. Only at the entrance the retaining column is made not of concrete or limestone but from a single block of polished granite (this is worth seeing). The radio station was established in the city in 1924. It became part of the history primarily due to its orchestra, which was conducted by Hermann Scherchen, an outstanding promoter of new music. He conducted compositions by Schonberg, Berg, Stravinsky and Prokofiev.
Behind the facade there was a large concert hall for recording that was outfitted and decorated in accordance with the highest requirements of technology and style.
Unfortunately, it has been destroyed. The radio building is adjoined by the similar flat facades of neighboring buildings. One of these buildings features a simple yet elegant stairwell with a huge mirrored window that is as high as the building itself overlooking the yard. Further along, from under the branches of chestnut trees, opens up a view of the endless parallels the banded windows of the Prussian State Archives (1930). This wonderful building in the style of Bauhaus is by the architect Robert Liebental. At the corner of the building there is a tower-shaped bulk with winding stairs (it is enough to come inside and look upwards to see the effective perspective). Both within and without some metal parts, latches, and opaque glass have survived. The yard facade, with narrow horizontal slit windows, is also interesting. The majority of the most valuable documents (including the most ancient documents, which were stored in oak boxes made at the time of the Order) was taken to Berlin in 1944, survived the War and is now kept in the Secret State Archives of Prussian Cultural Heritage. The City Archive of Konigsberg was lost almost completely because it was left (by order of Gauleiter E. Koch) in the old university building on Kneiphoff.
Opposite the Archive stands the tall majestic building of the Kaliningrad Theatre. It is pink and white, striking with its overly monumental portico. Behind it a pleasant deep niche runs into the shade, painted dark red and terracotta with lighter details. This Stalinist architecture of the 1950s is quite good; I especially appreciate the subtle graphic decoration of the walls of the niche and its vault in the manner of 16th century Renaissance art (made under the obvious influence of the great Moscow architect I. Zholtovsky). Only by going around the theatre will the keen observer be able to sense the double-ply nature of this building. The pre-war structure, a high and a little haughty stage box decorated with Doric pilasters, is almost unchanged; the semi-circular projecting niches at the sides date are of German origin. The side portal, back facade and the cafe door placed in a monumental "Doric" projecting frame - all this is old. The theatre is decorated with a magnificent frieze with garlands and portraits of Russian writers (Pushkin, Gogol, Mayakovsky, Turgenev), masks and other original details. This colonnaded building introduces a very strong Russian and Soviet emphasis here, where so much of the old architecture has remained. However, this classicism is also recognized here unambiguously; it had already been prepared before the War, and it was simultaneously different and indistinguishably similar.
Across from the theatre stands another white portico, at the corner of Brahms Street (one of the few German names retained). Behind it today there is the building of the headquarters of the Baltic Fleet. It has erected here, for a clear and justified reason, a new and unfortunately inane monument to Peter the Great, who seems to have a tail like a crocodile. Earlier the Oberpostdirection - the Chief Postal Administration - was located in this building. The building was constructed in 1918-1919 (they obviously had money and opportunities, despite the post-war disorder) in the manner of Palladian official classicism, and it very much resembles the buildings of Russian Neo-Classicism of the 1910s. Only a few minor details -- a small rectangular portal and the proportion of the base to the windows - give away the German origin of the whole building. In front of it one should pay attention to the wonderful pyramidal oak tree, a true masterpiece of nature. Neither old nor young, it is in endlessly in the prime fresh strength. There are many wonderful trees in Kaliningrad; some of them are very old, from the late 18th century.
At the intersection between the Archive (wherein the library is now situated) and the Theatre there is a monument to Friedrich Schiller, and a little further there is a large round fountain (see the article about fountains by Popadin). Schiller has been standing in this place since 1936 (except for a short break after the War, when he was placed in the Zoo). In 1910 he was first erected in Paradeplatz, between the University and the old Opera House.
The theatre tradition of Konigsberg is very significant. The theatre was established in 1806, during a most difficult period for Prussia. Its director in 1814-1815 was the famous playwright and author August Friedrich Ferdinand von Kotsebu. From 1823 it was headed by Adolf Schroeder, father of the great singer Wilhelmine Schroeder-Devrient. In the 1830s the conductor was Richard Wagner. The theatre was conducted by R. Strauss, G. Pfitzner; the role of Hamlet was played by a famous Adalbert Matkowsky. It was a theatre of both opera and drama. In 1810 Schiller's William Tell was performed on its stage; this production was of political importance, as it was marked by the pathos of the national liberation struggle against Napoleon. Schiller was performed throughout the 19th. In 1905 they celebrated the 100th anniversary of his death. In 1919 Goethe's Faust was performed at the theatre with all the prologues, and the part of the Poet was played by an actor in the mask of Schiller.
The building of the Kaliningrad Theatre is a post-war reconstruction of the New Drama Theatre, or Luisentheater. The latter was first the Theatre of Musical Comedy, though in 1901 they presented the scandalous and revolutionary play Weavers by Gerhart Hauptmann (with a special permission). The building was constructed in 1911 - 1912 by the Konigsberg architect Otto Walter Kuckuck (1871 - 1942; he also designed the famous tower and round bathhouse - now a sanatorium - in the center of Svetlogorsk). In 1924 the theatre was bought by the city treasury, and the successful New Drama Theatre moved into it. It became famous all over Germany as a contemporary chamber theatre directed by the Leopold and Fritz Jessner (until 1933). On its stage constantly appeared a great actor of the expressionist generation, the Konigsberger Paul Wegener (he played the part of Doctor Caligari in The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari). On the facade of the theatre was an inscription-quotation from Schiller that was chosen by the wonderful cultural and education activist Paul Stettiner (who committed suicide in 1941, after refusing to wear a yellow star). The poet's words were as follows: "Only fantasy can be always young - Ewig jung ist nur die Phantasie." Schiller, as "the German Shakespeare," occupied a significant place in the theatre's repertoire. In 1935 the theatre performed Maid of Orleans in the yard of the Castle. National Socialist theatrical policy was also oriented towards Schiller and provided him an exaggerated nationalist interpretation. During the 1930s, Schiller's cult was crowned with the transfer of Stanislav Kauer's statue to the square in front of the theatre building.
Schiller had never been in Konigsberg, but the ideas of this poet and scholar were always directed to where his philosophic teacher and ideal, Kant, lived. He was a direct successor of Kant, especially in the field of aesthetics. Monuments to Schiller were erected all over Germany during the 19th century. The most famous ones are in front of the theatre in the Gendarme Market in Berlin (R. Begas), and in front of the National Theatre in Weimar, where he appears together with Goethe. A monument by Karl Kauer, Stanislav's uncle, stands in Mannheim, one of the theatre capitals of Germany. The Mannheim and Berlin monuments date to the era of the rise of big business and capitalist robber barons; they are somewhat stylized in the manner of feeble 18th century academic statues. The Konigsberg Schiller is from a different epoch, when in his art and in his entire image the Schiller-man that they searched for was not only a Romantic but would also express existential intensity and high intellectualism. It is more strict, severe, neo-classical, slightly reminiscent - its head especially -- of the work of the outstanding Stuttgart sculptor Danneker, a contemporary of the poet. I especially admire his ski-like feet (size 45) and heavily hanging coat. His nose is easily recognizable and remembered, covered with skin, as if burnt, ascetic face of the poet obsessed by brilliant ideas. One can see badly repaired holes from bullets here and there. The pedestal is primordial, neoclassical.
I know nothing about the post-war fate of Schiller, of the Soviet Schiller in Kaliningrad. Were his plays performed? Were translations of his works published? Were articles and dissertations written? Were flowers laid on the monument's pedestal? This spring European culture is going to commemorate Schiller. 200 years have passed since his death. Schiller's dramas have not at all become out of date; they excite contemporary directors as much as they did a hundred years ago. But Schiller's memory here will be covered by a shadow and dazzled by the light of the Victory - because he died on May 9, 1805.
Translation by N.Andreeva