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Where Gumbo Was #2: Kaliningrad Cathedral

Kalinigrad Cathedral [VVitaly)Most people seeing this picture of the Old Cathedral in Kaliningrad, Russia, assume they’re looking at the 19th-century because of the red-brick construction. But they’re wrong! The cathedral was begun in 1333 and nearly finished by 1380, using materials from the previous church which was demolished.


Built by Catholic bishops in what was then the Prussian city of KÖnigsberg, it became a Lutheran stronghold by 1523, and remained that way until it was burned out during WWII; since its rebuilding in the 1990s; it has been shared by Lutherans and Russian Orthodox. The city, which had been the capital of East Prussia, became part of Russian in 1945.


When built, there were two spires; after a 1544 fire, only one was rebuilt, and the clock was installed. The cathedral also housed important Renaissance murals and sculpture, and what was then one of the world’s largest libraries. The university shared an island in the Pregel River with the cathedral; the philosopher Immanuel Kant taught there, and his tomb adjoins the cathedral.


In Martin Cruz Smith's latest Arkady Renko mystery novel, the character Maxim Dal takes Renko on a tour of the city, including the Cathedral; while they are viewing Kan't tomb, they are (unsuccessfully) ambushed by Russian gangsters.


Kaliningrad Cathedral ruins, 1988

From 1946 until the 1990s, Kaliningrad was closed to the outside world because of its important Soviet naval installations, and it is still well off the common tourist path. For information on visiting Kaliningrad, click HERE


And here's a bonus: a picture of the wrong church offered by one of the members: the Kreuzkirche was built in 1930, 900 years late for this puzzle. Lightly damaged during the war, it was used as a factory until 1988 and then restored.




Wikimedia Commons by Vasily Vitaly, Helen Pavlyuchenko, Yuri Syuganov, digr




Images (4)
  • Kaliningrad Cathedral
  • Kalinigrad Cathedral
  • Kaliningrad Cathedral ruins, 1988
  • 768px-Kaliningrad_Krestovozdvizhensky_sobor

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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