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Along the Amber Route: Kaliningrad

‘You’re from London and you’re going to Kaliningrad?’ a young man in Lithuania asked. ‘That’s like me going to Mars.’

I drove through a tract of concrete that could have been anywhere in the former Warsaw Pact, down potholed lanes flanked by decrepit industrial premises. Raw, unlovely, it was by far the biggest city I’d been in since Riga. With its Communist street names, Khrushschev-era housing and Komsomolskaya Pravda on sale at roadside kiosks, it felt like I was back in the USSR.

Kaliningrad is one of Europe’s strangest anomalies, a pocket of territory separated since the collapse of the Soviet Union from the rest of Russia by Poland and Lithuania, both now members of Nato and the EU. Conquered from Germany at the end of the Second World War, the region measures some 200 kilometres from east to west and a little over 100 kilo- metres north to south – about the size of Northern Ireland – and has just under a million inhabitants.

From Along the Amber Route by C.J. Schüler

Back to the map.

C.J. Schüler

C.J. Schüler