Ploshchad Baltiyskoi Slavy

Evgeny Morozov/

Ploshchad Baltiyskoi Slavy, or Baltic Glory Square, was created in 1975, replacing a neighbourhood that had been largely destroyed in the battle of Baltiysk during the Great Patriotic War. The entry to the square is lined by the statues of a soldier and a sailor. There are two B-132 ship’s cannons a little further on, and a torpedo boat, which is now a monument.  

The first documented mention of a populated community in the area of the modern Baltiysk dates back to 1258. An epic storm in 1510 changed the fortunes of this place, forming a navigable strait, separating the Vistula Spit from the Peninsula. From then on, Pillau would develop as a major shipping port.   

The Prince-Elector of Brandenburg, Friedrich Wilhelm I, visited Pillau twice in the mid-17th century. The Russian Tsar Peter the Great visited the town on three occasions, in 1697, 1711 and 1716. Peter studied the art of bombardment and fortification here. Pillau received its urban credentials and a coat of arms in 1725. The town got its local newspapers and telegraph in the 1850. The Pillau-Koenigsberg railway opened in 1856.

Pillau saw several wars in the course of its centuries-old history. During the Polish-Swedish war of 1626, in which Prussia was involved, Swedish forces captured Pillau and founded a pentagonal fortress, the Pillau Citadel, which was completed after 1635 by order of Elector Georg Wilhelm. Russian forces occupied Pillau from 1758 to 1762 during the Seven Years’ War. The town was also occupied by the French army for six months in 1812. Battles raged here during the First and Second World Wars. Pillau was captured by the Soviet Army on April 25-26, 1945, following an intense battle.

Pillau was renamed Baltiysk at the end of 1946. Russia’s largest naval base on the Baltic Sea was inaugurated here in 1952. On account of this, Baltiysk remained a restricted-access town until the early 2000s.