Amalienau: the architectural legacy of Königsberg

Welcome to Amalienau, Kaliningrad (a.k.a. the Central district), the most prestigious neighborhood in what used to be Königsberg in Prussian times. It starts at the Central park and ends near Lake Poplavok, former Zwillings See (‘Twins Lake’). It might take you a whole day to investigate, but it’s well worth it: you’ll see the most luxurious German and Prussian villas and mansions and experience the provincial lifestyle of the early 20th century.

Located between Ulitsa Karla Marksa, Prospekt Mira and Prospekt Pobedy, Amalienau comprises of two parts, divided by Prospekt Mira. Amanlienau and all its villas were designed by Friedrich Heitmann, a well-known Prussian architect of the 19th-20th centuries.

Following the concept of a garden town, the area’s low-rise houses are smothered within abundant trees, flowers, and shrubs. The then-Prussian town has an unusual construction plan: a major avenue (former Korteallee, now Ulitsa Kutuzova), gives rise to lots of smaller alleys from its neat circular squares and crosses curved streets on the way. There are no sharp angles on any intersections. All the villas share a similar design: with 30-35 meters between them, they are two-storied, with a separate attic and have a well-lighted inner corridor, uniting the bottom floor apartments in a circle.

Many buildings are well-preserved, such as the Schmidt Villa, Makowsky Villa, Schlegelberger Villa, Doppelvilla, Honkamp Villa, Steinkopf Villa, Rosenthal Villa, and St. Adalbert Church. As for the architectural style, Art Nouveau and Fachwerk styles manage to tastefully neighbour Bauhaus and Neoclassicism, with pleasant architectural details: textured walls, complex roofs, bas-reliefs, towers, weathercocks, sculptures, forged fences and fire hydrants – making the entire area a real treat for a sophisticated architecture freak.

As if it was all planned out for you, at the end of the route, there are numerous benches to recharge your batteries at the newly reconstructed Lake Poplavok, a serene lake, with two islets and small footbridges. Take some time to feed the local birds, admire the flowering pond, and relax in the midst of large trees. When you are done, feel free to continue your tour towards the Rasthof area located further between Prospekt Pobedy and Prospekt Mira, as far down as Khimicheskaya Ulitsa to explore some more of Amalienau.

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