The gates of Königsberg

Ancient Königsberg was a fortress city, which could be accessed only through one of the ten city gates. After World War II only seven remained. Now they are heritage sights, offering both tourist attraction and cultural value.

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The Neo-Gothic Brandenburg Gate of Königsberg is the only remaining gate you can walk or drive through. A modern street, Ulitsa Bagrationa (Bagrationa Street), goes through the gate. The only function of the gate nowadays is to let traffic through. The gate is not far from the city's main transport hub, Southern Railway Station. Eponymous with the famous Brandenburger Tor in Berlin, the gate was named after the Teutonic Castle of Brandenburg, the ruins of which still exist in Ushakovo, southwest of Kaliningrad.

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Centuries ago, the Russian Emperor Peter I trained artillery at the gate of the former Fortress Friedrichsburg which drawings became the basis for the Peter and Paul Fortress. Today, the gate is the only element left of the old fortress. It is a branch of the Museum of the World Ocean and its exposition is devoted to the history of shipbuilding. Visiting the Friedrichsburg Gate, one can attend a lesson at the nautical school or drop by Peter the Great’s room. A collection of traditional boats of the people of the world is displayed at the territory.

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As we approach Ploschad Marshala Vasilevskogo (Marshala Vasilevskogo Square) we can see the Rossgarten Gate, built along with the other Litovsky Val fortifications in the 1850s. It has a 4-metre (13-foot) wide passage with three casemates on either side of the gate. The main arch is decorated with reliefs of Prussian generals Gerhard von Scharnhorst (1755-1813) and August Neidhardt von Gneisenau. The gate was renovated 40 years ago, and now houses the Solnechny Kamen (Sunstone) Restaurant. It is just a stone's throw from here to the Dohna Tower.
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Built in the 19th century, Sackheim Gate soon lost its defence value, and became simply a decoration - a semblance of an Arch of Triumph - for the city. After the Second World War the gate was put to work as a storehouse, and that it would remain until 2006, when the historical landmark was restored. Sackheim Gate currently serves as a venue for various exhibitions under the Kaliningrad Union of Photographers.

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The Koenig Gate is another museum’s branch located in the historic part of Kaliningrad. They became a symbol of the 750th anniversary of the city. The Museum of the World Ocean restored the gate in record time. The expositions located there allow visitors to travel in time and learn the history of the walled city, the remarkable people who visited Koenigsberg, the secrets of Russian diplomacy and long-standing ties between this land and Russia, as well as have some tea at a medieval chemist’s shop at the Koenig Gate.

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The Friedland Gate is a young museum. It was established in 2002. It is housed in a fortification that used to be part of Königsberg's defence ring. The Friedland Gate was built in 1862 presumably based on the design of German architect Friedrich Stuler. The gate's facade is decorated with two sculptures of Teutonic Order rulers. The museum's collection is dedicated to Königsberg's everyday life, mostly of the pre-war period. The Friedland Gate Museum offers a possibility to make a virtual tour along the streets of the East Prussian capital with the help of animated old photographs.