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Klaipeda travel guide — Klaipeda tourism and travel information

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about Klaipeda

Klaipėda, (German Memel or Memelburg; Polish: Kłajpeda), is Lithuania's only seaport on the Baltic Sea. It has 194,400 inhabitants (2002), down from 202,900 in 1989. Today Klaipeda is a major ferry port with connections to Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. It is situated close to the mouth of the Neman River.

Klaipeda owns a picturesque framework-architecture similar to that found in Germany, England, and Denmark. Popular Lithuanian seaside resorts are found close to Klaipeda in Neringa and Palanga.

Klaipeda history

Klaipeda was founded by Baltic tribes in the 12th century. For a long time it belonged to East Prussia, during which time it was called Memel.

This Baltic Sea harbor city was founded by the Teutonic Knights in 1252 and is recorded as Castrum Memele (German Memelburg, also Mimmelburg). In 1254 Klaipeda was granted Lübeck City Right. The area was converted to Christianity by the Teutonic Knights. The Peace at Melno Sea in 1422 fixed the border between Province of Prussia and Lithuania. Memel was included in Prussia and the border remained unchanged until 1919. It was one of the longest unchanged borders in Europe.

Beginning in 1474 Memel was governed by the Culm Law of the Prussian Land cities. In 1525 Ducal Memel, under Albert of Prussia (Albrecht von Brandenburg-Ansbach-Prussia), adopted Lutheranism. It was the beginning of a long time of prosperity for the city and port, since Ducal Prussia was Polish fief and later part Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This border city served as port for neighbouring Lithuania, benefiting from its location near the mouth of the Neman River. The end of the prosperous times came, when between 1629 and 1635 Memel was attacked, damaged, and occupied by Sweden. It was rebuilt numerous times and 75 years later a large number of people in Memel died of the plague. With the creation of the united German state in 1871 Memel became the most north-easterly city of Germany.

In 1919 Klaipeda was placed under the protectorate of the Entente States. After the Treaty of Versailles the territory around Memel was separated from Germany and an autonomous under French occupation was installed. However, Lithuanian troops under the command of Colonel Budrys attacked in 1923 and the French troops left. Memel was annexed by the German Reich on March 22, 1939, after its annexations of Austria, Sudetenland, and Czechoslovakia.

During the Second World War, starting at the end of 1944 and into 1945, the inhabitants fled during active fighting. The city was captured by the Red Army in January 1945 and given back to the Lithuanian Soviet Republic.

Many of the remaining inhabitants were sent to Siberia, and the rest were expelled to Germany.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Klaipeda".

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