Kaliningrad is a city that strikes with its beauty and riddles. Many historians, archaeologists, and even lovers of ancient architecture visit it annually, study a rich heritage. It's amazing, but still there are finds of historical value. In many respects this is facilitated by the dungeons of Koenigsberg. According to legend, it was in them that the famous lost Amber Room was hidden. What are these buildings? Is it really a subterranean city under Kaliningrad, or are they just isolated forts and bunkers? We'll figure it out.
History of the city of Germany - Prussia
The history of Koenigsberg begins in the middle of the XIII century, when a fortress was laid on the site of a small fortress. First a wooden one, and later rebuilt from a stone. Gradually around the castle begins to form the city: people settled because of the advantageous geographical location (proximity to the navigable path), as well as for protection reasons.
Gradually the city is joined by three nearby urban settlements, the cathedral is being rebuilt, and in the 16th century the first university was opened.
The first time the city became Russian in the reign of Catherine the Great, when it was taken during the Seven Years' War.
It was with the XIX century that the first mysteries of the dungeons of Königsberg are connected. It was at this time that active construction of fortifications, bastions and other defensive structures began. The city is developing: public transport appears, the tram is launched. Konigsberg becomes the first settlement in Germany, where the airport is opened (1919).
By the beginning of the Second World War, Konigsberg is a city with a very developed infrastructure.
The history of Koenigsberg during the war is very sad. Without any pity, the great monuments of architecture are being destroyed. So, in the "Kristallnacht", ideologically inclined fellows literally carry the New Synagogue, which has not stood for 100 years.
Destroyed by the city and constant bombing by the British. The historical center suffered greatly.
For their military history, the dungeons of Koenigsberg are overgrown with a large number of legends and secrets. Which ones? We'll tell you a little later.
The history of Koenigsberg in the Soviet period is connected with the restoration of the city. Unfortunately, some monuments were irretrievably lost, others, for example, the Royal Castle, did not begin to be restored for ideological reasons. Its walls were simply blown up, and the territory was occasionally started up by archaeological groups. But in fact it is believed that it is in the ruins of the castle that the main entrance to the underground Königsberg is located.
With the end of the Union's existence, an important milestone in the history of the city is connected: its leadership begins to actively cooperate with Germany in the restoration of historical monuments of the city. Recently, negotiations are underway to re-establish the Royal Palace.
Named Konigsberg Kaliningrad in honor of MI Kalinin. It happened in the beginning of the Soviet period, in 1946.
Secrets and legends of the city
Koenigsberg is an ancient city with a rich history. Of course, it is covered with a lot of legends and secrets. They were born with popular rumor. Although some of them have a real historical background.
The most common legend says that during the Nazi Germany near Koenigsberg, a real underground city was built. And it is not just a system of tunnels. The dungeons of Koenigsberg were bunkers, factories, storage facilities, even railway stations. Transport routes are laid directly under the ground in such a way that the leadership - and, first of all, Hitler - could freely enter Poland.
When the Soviet army was already on the outskirts of the city, the Nazis flooded these structures. According to legend, there were numerous treasures seized by the Nazis during the offensive. There is also the "Amber Room".
Adherents of the legend motivate their correctness by the fact that the defeated Germans allegedly wanted to rebuild the city completely, if they were allowed to take the treasure. One thing is obvious: a large number of diggers study the dungeons of Koenigsberg, hoping to find at least some treasures of Nazi Germany.
If you believe the legend, all communications are at a depth of 60 meters. It is difficult to find them, because the Germans destroyed the entrance before the retreat: the blast hit him 16 meters deep.
Underground: the story of the legend
On the basis of what arose such a legend? If you analyze the life of the post-war city, you can see that it was mainly inhabited by people from rural areas. How did they see Koenigsberg? Numerous forts, bunkers, bomb shelters, tunnels ... Naturally, the philistine imagination drew a picture of what is part of some invisible infrastructure. For them, conventional hatches were an unusual construction.
In addition, the works devoted to the Amber Room, which were published in the 1950s, are of interest. This is the "Secret of the Amber Room", and "The Secret Fairway" and many others.
What makes a legend bankrupt
There are two points of view regarding the legend: one refutes it, the other justifies it. Let us first analyze the facts that lead to the proof that there is no underground city and can not be.
We will make a reservation at once, these facts are denied only by the presence of a developed infrastructure under Koenigsberg. They do not dispute the availability of all kinds of underground communications (hatches, bomb shelters, bunkers). These elements are not connected in any way.
So, the most important argument, which is led by those who deny the reality of the legend, is that the city stands on soils, dotted with underground groundwater. This makes the process of underground construction very laborious and expensive.
This fact is proved by numerous ground fortifications (forts) and defenses (bomb shelters). The first under the ground are very rare. They are a complex system with water protection. Most of the forts are structures covered with a thick layer of earth.
The bomb shelters were built in several floors with thick walls, without windows.
Evidence of the existence of dungeons
Much more evidence shows the legality of the legend.
The first is connected with the active construction of bomb shelters. Koenigsberg - a city that is probably strategically important for the Germans - in the opinion of the townspeople, should sooner or later be exposed to shelling. In this regard, management and ordinary people begin to equip places where you can save your life.
Along with the structures described in the previous chapter, the citizens themselves are trying to determine the place for the bomb shelter. The safest is the cellar. In order to have more room for people, and also so that you can go to another area without risking yourself during the bombardment, the cellars were joined together (the walls were simply broken). Thus, there appeared passages under the ground with a length of several kilometers. At first these corridors confused new residents of the city.
Another proof is connected with the railway tunnel, which passes under one of the squares of Koenigsberg. If you walk along it - you can notice a few walled doors. What are these secret passages? By no means. Just this way they took the prisoners to the cells: the prison was on Handel Street. Thus, the local residents of the city did not see crowds of convicts on the beautiful streets of the city. The passages were laid already when Königsberg became Kaliningrad.
There is another proof, not directly related to the existence of the city: in pre-war time in Koenigsberg there were a lot of firms that were engaged in construction under the ground.
Thus, the facts say that on the basis of already existing underground objects, the nazis could have developed a network known as the dungeons of Koenigsberg.
The bunker of General Lyash and the "Amber Room"
The history of the masterpiece called "Amber Room" is still shrouded in many secrets. Firstly, why was not it evacuated together with the entire decoration of the palaces? Secondly, according to the NKVD, two copies of the room were made, and the original went as a gift to the United States. One copy was immured in the cellars of the Catherine Palace, and the second was placed in the original place. It was taken away by the Germans.
According to researchers, the masterpiece can be in the bunker of Lyash, the commandant of the city. The building was built in 1944. Historians argue that this underground structure is very large, it has a minimum of two floors and an extensive system of corridors and secret rooms. This is where the "Amber Room" is hidden, as well as a large number of ingots of melted gold.
In addition, scientists hope to find in the bunker the materials of the research of the Nazi laboratory "Koenigsberg-13". It is known that Hitler and his companions developed a "weapon of retribution." It could also be here.
The results of research and other trophies were hoped to be obtained not only by Soviet intelligence, but also by allies. That is why there were fierce discussions about who should be the first to enter the city.