The Kaliningrad Region is a unique region of Russia. Region is located on the southeastern coast of the Baltic Sea and is the westernmost region of the Russian Federation completely separated from the rest of the country by the land borders of foreign states and international sea waters.
With its small territory, Kaliningrad region is characterized by special natural conditions. A strip along the southern ice-free part of the Baltic Sea, which is a humid lowland plain with mild winters and a cool summer - these are quite favorable natural conditions of the region.
Kaliningrad was founded as Koenigsberg in 1254 after the Teutonic Knights seized the area from the native people, called the Prussians. The Knights invited the Germans and the Polish to inhabit the land and cultivate it. The city became a member of the Hanseatic League, an important and powerful trade association on the Baltic Sea, which in addition to the main cities on the coast of the Sea included Novgorod, London and was involved in the trade of English fabric, Russian furs, German grains and other regional goods. Koenigsberg was originally the capital of Sambia, a district of Prussia, controlled by the Teutonic Order under the feudal overlordship of Poland. When Prussia was secularized, Koenigsberg became the capital of the fiefdom of Ducal Prussia in eastern Prussia, remaining under the sovereignty of Poland. In the seventeenth century, the fiefdom of Prussia was united with Brandeburg.
In 1701, Prussia was granted independence from Poland and became the Kingdom of Prussia. King Frederick III was coroneted in the cathedral of Koenigsberg as the kingdom’s first king. Koenigsberg became the capital of East Prussia, a province of the newly-created kingdom. Prussia was incorporated into the German Empire in 1871. After the First World War, East Prussia became separated from the rest of Germany by the Polish Corridor of Danzig. Hitler’s desire to reunite the two regions was one of the causes of the Second World War. During that war the territory was seized by the Russian military forces as a result of fierce fighting. East Prussia was granted to the USSR in 1945.
Under the Soviets, the city was rebuilt in Soviet fashion and renamed as Kaliningrad, after Mikhail Kalinin, a president of the Supreme Soviet. Today, Kaliningrad remains a Russian city, although it is situated in an exclave of the country known as Kaliningrad Oblast, separated from Russia by Lithuania and Belarus. Kaliningrad remains the single never frozen port of Russia on the Baltic coast.