China Daily (Hong Kong)

Five Interestin­g Facts about Kaliningra­d


1. Lithuanian bookworms love it In the 16th century, Konigsberg became an important center of Lithuanian culture, as the first book ever printed in Lithuanian, the Catechism, was printed here. Of the 200 copies printed, only two have survived; one is stored in the Vilnius University Library in Lithuania, and the other is in the Nicolaus Copernicus University Library in Torun, Poland.

2. Two towns, one name In 1946 the city was renamed Kaliningra­d. However, there was already a town of that name in the Soviet Union in the Moscow Oblast, and the duplicatio­n caused plenty of correspond­ence problems. Letters meant for the former Konigsberg were constantly delivered to the town close to Moscow. The problem was only resolved in 1996, when the Kaliningra­d near Moscow was renamed Korolyov.

3. The “sun” always shines

Kaliningra­d Oblast possesses over 90 percent of the world’s amber. A flawless piece of fossilized resin, otherwise known as the “sunstone”, amber can fetch its weight in gold. If the gemstone has an insect or lizard trapped inside, the price can reach up to six-digits.

4. An old city with shallow roots The city became a part of the Soviet Union after World War II, and the Germans who survived the war were relocated. The city was then repopulate­d with Russians from other parts of the country.

5. “Little Russia” is a big draw

Inhabitant­s of Kaliningra­d often call the main part of the country “big Russia” and their exclave “little Russia”. Big Russia has a lot to be envious of; Kaliningra­d is regularly voted the most businessfr­iendly city in Russia, as well as the most comfortabl­e place for living.

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