Königsberg Cathedral, Kaliningrad
The cathedral in Kaliningrad is one of the oldest and iconic buildings in the city to be the real symbol of the city. The history of the cathedral dates back to XIV century and is full of noteworthy events and revolutionary turns.
The cathedral is built of brick and styled in Gothic. Throughout its long history, the cathedral used to more than a house of worship. Initially, it was designed as a defensive facility. In 1807, it was first used as a military prison. In 1804, Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher, the founder of German classical philosophy was buried at walls of the cathedral. The building of the cathedral was under construction time and again and in early XX century it was reconstructed. Before the war, it was richly decorated. In 1944, during massive air attacks followed by the city assault in 1945 by the Soviet army, the cathedral was badly damaged and completely burnt out. Only the building remained itself.
In the post-war period, once majestic and gorgeous cathedral turned into ruins. Like a ghost, it stood high over the island in the deep shadow fascinating and frightening at the same time. State authorities showed their ill attitude to this facility considering it as a “symbol of Prussian militarism and fascism”. It was not demolished due to the fact that I.Kant was buried at its walls. In 1960, the cathedral was acknowledged as the cultural heritage though no measures were taken to preserve or restore it. It kept on ruining. Finally in 1992, a private company proceeded to its restoration. Helicopters of the Baltic Fleet were even involved for works.
In autumn1995, the watch was installed on the cathedral tower manufactured by the famous Siemens company along with four bells. This watch is the most accurate in Kaliningrad since it is supported by the most advanced clockwork synchronizing the time via the satellite sitting behind the watch to imitate its historical view. In 1998, the roof was restored.
To date, all restoration work are completed. The latter-day exterior and interior of the cathedral differs from the historical style, indeed. However, the cathedral got a new life upon the long hours of really titanic works on restoration. Today, it is visited by up to 1000 people daily. The extensive museum exposition is located inside. It includes a range of various exhibits: model patterns of the city historical center, ancient armor and weapons, everyday items, books, paintings and lots of exhibits related to the life of I. Kant, including his posthumous mask. The museum also hosts an inclusive numismatic collection to include banknotes of almost all global countries of various historical epochs.
The cathedral is magnificent in its exterior and interior. On the island, a large park is found around the cathedral with a variety of monuments and sculptures to honor historical figures of Königsberg, Prussia and Germany.
Apart from the museum, the pipe organ hall is arranged in the cathedral. It is useless to describe the music created by the organ. One should listen and perceive it to judge. Anyone in Kaliningrad is allowed to listen to the organ playing in the cathedral, though tickets should be purchased in advance due to a huge number of people who strive to listen to this grand instrument in such a historical place.
It is worth spending at least one and a half to two hours to view its exterior and interior. By the way, other sights of the same significance are located at the walking distance.