What to know

Kaliningrad: The Most Western World Cup City

The soviet union founded the city of Kaliningrad as it is today, and now, it is part of the 2018 world cup in Russia

You might know Kaliningrad because it will host some World Cup matches this year, but why is it apart from Russia?

If you picked up a map to check out where all the 2018 World Cup matches are being played, you will notice that a few games will happen in the city of Kaliningrad, which is geographically not a part of Russia.

Aerial view of the city with the Kaliningrad Stadium.

Aerial view of the city with the Kaliningrad Stadium.

Although odd and unusual, there is a perfectly clear explanation to why this Russian city at the Baltic sea lies cramped between Poland and Lithuania.

Before conquest by the Teutonic Knights in 1255, the city was called Twangste, meaning Oak Forest in Sambian (Old Prussian). However after the conquest, Twangste was destroyed and a new fort was built, Königsberg.

Fortification bastion tower Der Dohna turm. It has now been turned into a museum.

Königsberg city became the capital of the Duchy of Prussia and East Prussia (today parts of Germany), and remained so until World War II.

Over the next few centuries, immigration and settlements made the population of Königsberg predominantly German, while there also were Polish and Lithuanian minorities.

Towards the end of World War II, the city was heavily damaged by British bombers and by a Soviet siege the following year, in the spring of 1945.

Aerial view of the city.

By the end of the war, the city had become part of the Soviet Union, with the support of the United States and Britain.

In 1946, Königsberg was renamed Kaliningrad, after the death Mikhail Kalinin, on of the original Bolsheviks and leader of the Soviet Union from 1919 to 1946. Following that, most of its German population either fled or became a minority when the new Russian population moved in.

Kaliningrad didn’t really become a problem for Russia until the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The new Russian Federation had inherited the city, but even though it was connected to the country by sea, it was divided by two countries lying between the two.

 One of the venues for the 2018 World Cup.

One of the venues for the 2018 World Cup.

Today, the city of Kaliningrad is one of the cities that are hosting matches for the 2018 World Cup.

In preparation, a new stadium known as the Kaliningrad Arena was built on the Oktyabsrky Island, near the embankment of the Staraya Pregolya River. It has a seating capacity of 35,000 spectators.

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