Russian Baltic Coast
The untouched Baltic Coast and the great Tatra mountain chain will deeply impress tourists and make them engage in many activities, sports and recreation… But never forget: first of all — sights, especially as the nature is the primary sight here!!!
Kaliningrad SeasideThe Kaliningrad Seaside is a health-resort zone stretching for over 60 km between Baltiysk and Zelenograd, plus 50 km of fantastic beaches of the Courland spit natural national park. The nature richly endowed this nook where shoreless vasts of the Baltic Sea strikingly match the boundless coastal strip of goldish fine sand beaches. The mild climate without drastic temperature jumps is wholesome. The sea accumulates warmth in the summer and never freezes. In fall and winter Atlantic winds bring the warmth of the Gulf Stream here. The gently sloping sand sea bottom is good for swimming. The beach season lasts from June till mid-September. The monthly average temperature varies between 17 and 19°C, and the warmest one is 22°. The clean and clear sea air filled with the aroma of conifer needles and flowers, air-baths and sun-baths, walks in picturesque sites, seven-century-old history of Eastern Prussia and the present of the western-most Russian part — this is what a vacation in the Kaliningrad Seaside can offer.
ZelenogradskThe city of Zelenogradsk features some interesting cult buildings. There is a church in the eastern part built in 1896 42 m tall known as St. Adalbert’s Kirche. After the war the church was used as a gym for a long time. St. Andrew’s catholic chapel and a synagogue were good neighbors in the downtown. The latter was built in 1911 in the pseudogothic style, and its ruins could still be seen in 1950 in the courtyard of the Zelenogradsk sanatorium (former Kranz). Zelenogradsk is the oldest spa in the Baltic Coast. In 1916 this town was made a seaside resort per resolution of then land minister Theodor von Schen. Before the war Zelenogradsk was called Kranz which means a wreath in German.
Nice small streets in the eastern part of the city can make on nostalgic for old times — some of the facades still have wooden adornments made by carvers of the 19th century and depicting many pagan symbols of the Prussian culture. Zelenogradsk is always full of holiday-makers. This town has many admirers — those who go on vacation to Zelenogradsk often come back over and over again. Even Kaliningradians prefer this resort to Svetlogorsk. Small cozy cafes and restaurants can always welcome and feed guests of the town. There are no deep slopes here, so people suffering from heart, locomotor or respiratory diseases find it more convenient here. The town has its mineral water called Zelenogradska. Experts praise it highly as wholesome. Finally, Zelenogradsk is where the unique national park of the Courland spit starts. So if you just walk on the beach you can end up in this famous Russian reserve.
In 1998 Zelenogradsk was given the status of a republican health resort. Clean sand beaches, the widest in the Kaliningrad coast are a feature of the town. There are sand clearings between dunes along the beaches. The dunes are covered with small bushes and trees and protect the clearings from the wind. You can sunbathe in the clearings even in early spring. The sand-bottomed sea is getting warm quicker than in neighboring Svetlogorsk, and is always warmer by several degrees.
Zelenogradsk has had a good reputation of a health-resort town for over two centuries. At the beginning of the 19th century famous physician Friedrich Kessel concluded that fresh air, sea water, sun and mudbaths can help the sick better than blood-letting and bitter medicines. This simple and natural (from a modern viewpoint) conclusion gave a great impetus to the development of health-resorts in entire Europe. This process did not leave coast settlements of Kranz and Rauschen (Zelenogradsk and Svetlogorsk) alone. They had actually been summer vacation destinations for the people of Koenigsberg by that time.
Courland spit The Courland spit is a unique reserve which has no analogs in the world. It is a strip of land 98 km long. Its width varies between 600 m in the shortest part and to 4 km in the widest part. Several millennia ago waves and winds formed a sand spit to the north-east from the Sambian peninsula. It is changing its shape nowadays too. The Courland spit has the Baltic sea on one side and a heavily desalinated bay on the other.
If you look in the direction of the sea, you will be charmed with the untouched beauty of the beach but when you look in the direction of the bay you will be stricken with the dunes reaching 60 m in height. Hundreds of singing birds find food and good shelter here while flying from the north to the south and back. Diverse nature of the Courland spit is under protection and since 1987 it has the status of a National Park. It is only in the Courland spit where you can see sand dunes and mossy lichen meadows, wet alder thickets and dry pine woods, tall pines and low mountain pines, broad-leaved forests and southern taiga, sand mountains and flat fields, moving and stationary dunes, elevated and high and low bogs, sand beaches stretching for tens of kilometers, sea coast and lake banks — all in one day. There are three settlements on the Russian part of the Courland spit: Rybachiy, Morskoye, Lesnoye (famous for its resort cottages). There is a Courland spit museum near Lesnoye. The museum features history and nature of this wonderful nook.
The Village of MorskoyeThe village of Morskoye is close to the Lithuanian border and one of the tallest dunes in Europe named Efa. There is an observation platform on top of a dune and you can hear famous ‘singing sands’ from it.
Royal ForestEven before the sand disaster the forests of the Courland spit were very diverse in the fauna thanks to a special location and microclimate. Deer and elk were numerous. it is no wonder then that the spit which was convenient for hunting and abounded in the game was the favorite area for royal hunting since the 16th century and for hundreds of years since then. However, rich hunting opportunities also attracted poachers who were responsible for the drastic decrease in the population of deer. It was the reason for the royal decree of Friedrich Wilhelm the 1st which founded a reserve called Royal Forest in the virgin forest in the root part of the spit. Thanks to it the wonderful part of the fur forest in the southern part of the spit was saved from deforestation. Introduction of species indigenous to other areas and climate zones surely started at the dawn of humankind. It is possible to speak in terms of introduction in the territory of Eastern Prussia at the end of 19th or the beginning of the 20th century.
The impetus to the rapid development of introduction was given by a disaster which happened in the forests of Eastern Prussia at the end of the 17th century through the middle of the 18th century when they were nearly completely destroyed by the processionary moth. Five large forestries were set up under Albertina Koenigsberg university to restore forests as well as several research stations. Various species were tried for possible introduction all over the country during that great experiment, but the specific conditions of the Courland spit which was experiencing the sand disaster right then caused it to become the central introduction testing ground for entire Eastern Prussia.