Eastern and Central Europe (Eyewitness Travel Guides)

(Ben Green) #1


For hotels and restaurants in this region see pp68–9

Founded in 1252 by the Livonian Order who built the
city’s first fortress, Klaipėda was the main trading port
until 1629. The order named the city Memel after a river
of the same name (Nemunas in Lithuanian). Briefly the
capital of Prussia after the Napoleonic wars, Klaipėda
remained an important port under Prussian control until
World War I. However, in 1923, the Lithuanian Army
claimed the city, renaming it Klaipėda. Despite serious
damage during World War II and its status as a military-
industrial centre during the Soviet years, this thriv ing city
is Lithuania’s third largest city and a major port today.

Klaipėda 4

Cafés lining a pedestrian street in the Old Town

E History Museum of
Lithuania Minor
Didžioji vandens 6. Tel (46) 410 524.
# 10am–6pm Tue–Sat. &
Located inside one of the Old
Town’s loveliest build ings, this
museum (Mažosios Lietuvos
istorijos muziejus) paints an
illuminat ing picture of the
earliest inhabitants of the
eastern region of Lithuania
Minor. Coins, maps, clothes,
old photo graphs and models
give a glimpse of the lives
of the local German- and
Lithuanian-speaking com-
munities before World War II.
The highlight is a collection
of photo graphs taken during
Hitler’s visit in 1939.

E Blacksmiths’ Museum
Šaltkalvių 2a. Tel (46) 410 526.
# 10am–6pm Tue–Sat. & 8
Black metal crosses, fences
and cemetery gates are exhib-
ited in a garden beside an old
working smithy originally
owned by Gustav Katzke, a
metalwork artist of the early
20th century. Some of the
crosses were rescued from
destruc tion when the
Sculpture Park replaced the
city’s main cemetery in the
1970s. Lithuania’s cross-
crafting tradition, in metal and
in wood, was recognized by
UNESCO in 2001.

location. In 1989, a replica of
the original statue was placed
in the middle of the fountain.

Ännchen of Tharau
Taravos anikė.
In front of the theatre in the
Theatre Square, which is the
heart of Klaipėda’s Old Town,
stands the statue Ännchen of
Tharau. The statue is the focal
point of the fountain dedicated
to Simon Dach (1605–59), one
of the city’s eminent personali-
ties. Born in Klaipėda, then
known as Memel, Dach was a
leading Prussian poet from
the late 1630s until his
death. He is well known
through out Germany for
his songs, hymns and
dialect poems. The
statue was inspired by
his poem Ännchen of
Tharau, written in 1637.
The original statue was
created in 1912, but it
mysteriously vanished on
the eve of World War II
to make way for a
statue of Adolf Hitler.
On 23 March 1939, Hitler
made a speech
from the theatre
balcony behind
its original

E Castle Museum
Pilies 4. Tel (46) 313 323.
# 10am–6pm Tue–Sat. &
Housed in a 17th-century
castle, this museum (Pilies
muziejus) is one of modern
Klaipėda’s most recog nized
symbols. The castle was built
on the foun da tions of the
city’s first fortress dating
back to 1252. In 2002, an
exhibition opened inside
one of the ramparts,
illus trating the develop-
ment of the fortress and
the city from the 13th
to the 17th cen turies.
The exhi bits include
weap ons, household
articles, wooden tools
and re-created models
of the castle and the
city in the 17th cen tury.
A Renaissance-era
gold ring encrusted
with diamonds
is the high-
light here.

Old wooden clock inside the
Clock Museum

Ännchen of Tharau in
Theatre Square

E Clock Museum
Liepų 12. Tel (46) 410 413.
# noon–5:30pm Tue–Sat,
noon–4:30pm Sun. & 8
From sundials to atomic
clocks, this unique museum
offers a fascinating insight
into man’s attempts to measure
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