Cycling through historical Klaipėda center and industrial sites

Distance 8 km
Approximate duration 45 min.

Sailing vessel “Meridianas” (1) is one of the main symbols of the city. The vessel was built in 1948 in Finland. For over 20 years it was the property of the Lithuanian Maritime Academy and was operated as a training ship for trainees, sea navigators, and captains.
In 2012, because of the poor condition, it was even decided to sink the vessel, however, new owners were determined to preserve the symbol of the city. Now permanently docked vessel was renovated in 2014, with a luxurious seafood restaurant set up inside.

Danė river (2) was the home river for the port of the city approximately from 13th to 19th centuries. The harbour was situated in between two main bridges – Biržos and Castle (Pilies) bridge, expanded up to the length of 3 km in the later years. Busy harbour area held various important industrial facilities, including sailing and steamboat shipyards, sawmills and warehouses, herring storehouses and central city scales, which were used for a variety of agricultural and industrial needs.

The earliest churches in the Klaipėda city (3) (Turgaus str. 37)
Around 16th – 17th centuries at the banks of Danė river settled the first churches of the city – German church of St. John (šv. Jono) and Lithuanian church of St. Nicholas (šv. Mikalojaus). The churches were relocated in 1625, when city was preparing for the war with swedes and started building various fortifications. Because of the big fire in 1854 which has demolished the Lithuanian church, a warehouse for herring, important and useful at the time, was built in that place.

Cities Historic fortifications (4)
The history of the fortification hill fort starts in the beginning of the 17th century when engineer Charles Rose started drafting the city according to Dutch technology fortification constructions. The fortification complex consists of three main sections: ramparts (defensive boundaries formed of banks), external ditches filled with water (moats), and ravelins (inner banks, intended for bastion protection from the sides). Ramparts as tall as 3.5 m and bastions with external ditches were built in several places around the city and because of their size are now classified amongst the category of great royal fortresses. This small artificial island is a part of the historical fortification system.

“Pelenynas” (transl. “Ashery”) (5) (Pylimo str. 6)
To the east of the city’s historical fortifications lies the suburb by the name of Pelenynas – Ashery. Having emerged around the 17th century, the suburb gets its name from the former potash factory, which was both producing potash and recycling ash for glass manufacture. In 1854, ironically, the great fire of the Klaipėda city left the Ashery suburb in ashes. Only one building survived until these days and is now holding the Rowing Club.

Klaipėda Power Station (Danės str. 8)(6)
Thermal power station of Klaipėda city was built in 1928–1929, and was an important economical advancement for both the city and the country, as Klaipėda port handled 70–80 % of all import and export in Lithuania. Up to 400 workers were employed to create the foundation of the power station by hand hammering together more than 20 000 wooden poles. Electric power transmission lines around the city were constructed along with the power station, and 12 transmission substations were built in different suburbs. With the area of almost 2.5 ha, in 1935 the station had reached the power of 9500 kW.

Mokyklos str. bridge (7)
There are six bridges across the Danė river: Pilies (Castle) bridge, Biržos bridge, Mokyklos str. bridge, Geležinkelio (Railway) bridge, Liepų str. bridge and Klaipėdos str. bridge. With the length of total 510 m, Mokyklos street bridge is the longest bridge over the river in the city, and its traffic flow reaches up to 3 000 vehicles per hour.

Chemical fertilizer factory Union (Artojo str. 7) (8)
Chemical fertilizer factory in Klaipėda city started with the small plant opened in 1869 for manufacturing and utilizing bone manure as an organic fertilizer. With time the small plant grew into Union chemical fertilizer factory, specializing in the production of superphosphate fertilizers and sulfur acid.
In 1930, company received a gold medal at a national agriculture exhibition. The factory was spread out in the area of 123 000 m2 and had 20 different buildings. After the WW2, however, superphosphate production was assigned to Artojas company, various chemical substances were manufactured by “Sirijus” factory.

From Bernhard Waldmann personal archive

Railway bridge across Danė river Railway (Geležinkelio) bridge (9) across the Danė river was built in 1874, together with the railway section Klaipėda–Tilžė (now known as Sovetsk in Kaliningrad region). The bridge was made of stones and formed five semi–circular arcs, with the biggest arc reaching 8.5 m in height and 13.5 m in length. Unfortunately, the bridge was still too low for sailing boats, which had to take off their masts upon passing through. For this reason a special construction to bring the masts up was built beside the Railway bridge. During the occupation of the city in 1944–1945 the Railway bridge was demolished. It was rebuilt during post-war period, this time using metal constructions.

Joniškė cemetery (Joniškės str. 36) (10) was opened in 1959, and nowadays already holds around 20 000 burial sites. The remains of Jurgis Lėbartas (1868–1946), one of the leaders of 1923 Klaipėda revolt (during which Klaipėda region was detached from French administration and reunited with the mainland of Lithuania), are buried in this cemetery. Interestingly, an older cemetery, dating more than one thousand years, has been found right beside Joniškė cemetery in the 19th century.

Bachmann manor (Jaunystės str.) (11)
The lands of Bachmann get their name from German language – bach meaning creek, mann meaning man. During the Middle Ages the region, full of water creeks, was a source of drinking water for the city, and especially for castle and its inhabitants.
Already in 15th – 16th centuries a couple of small mansion houses started to set up in the area. July 29, 1605, marks the date when in one of these houses the poet Simon Dach was born. He was the author of the first-ever poem about Memel (old German name for the Klaipėda city) and in addition, was a well-respected professor at Koningsberg university. The current city icon – monument of a girl Ann from Tharau, a central figure in a love poem written by S. Dach – was built in 1912 in dedication to the poet.

Former boy orphanage (Jaunystės str. 12) (12)
Former Bachmann manor house especially flourished in 18th century, under the governing of Wilhelm Gerhard von Koschkull. Fourteen different buildings of the manor were preserved until these days, including the main living house (Jaunystės str. 22), smithery, houses of the milkmaid and the household manager, barns and other general household buildings, and the former boy orphanage. The orphanage was founded by Sophia Ursula, the widow of W. G. von Koschull. The building of the boy orphanage was built in 1881, together with a monument in dedication to Sophia.

Psychiatric hospital (Jaunystės str. 2) (13)
Just a little up from the Bachmann manor house, there is a former psychiatric hospital, built around 1930–1931. Holding 75 beds, the hospital employed two doctors and seventeen nurses, had a sewing house, hot bathtubs, a nice garden with the walkways. The hospital house itself was built in neo-romantic and Bauhaus styles. In 1939 all the patients were transferred to Tapiau psychiatric hospital (now Gvardeysk), which had euthanasia program.

Klaipėda State University of Applied Sciences (Jaunystės str. 1–2) (14)
In 1946, the former area of the Bachmann manor house and psychiatric hospital was given to the Raseiniai School of Agriculture, and formed a new Technical College of Agriculture. The institution has changed a lot over the years, forming new educational goals, guidelines and names until 2009, when it became Klaipėda State University of Applied Sciences. A number of famous Lithuanians got their education here, including V. Intas, the founder of Mosėdis Museum and Exhibition of the Stone Collection, and K. Saja, a well-known writer and scriptwriter, who was among one of those who signed the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania in 1990.

Klaipėda city butchery (Liepų str. 53–55) (15)
The buildings of the city butchery were built around 1914–1915 (architect Walter Kleemann). The house no. 53, decorated with the heraldic bearings of the Klaipėda city, was the office and the household of the chief butcher. On the ground floor of the house no. 55 used to be restaurant “Būrų stuba”, while the second floor was the home for the butchery workers. Now the buildings belong to the sport center.

Water supply infrastructure (Liepų str. 49a) (16)
Until the end of the 19th century, Klaipėda city did not have a centralized water supply – since the 17th century the main water supply was public water wells, set up in various places around the city – market square, main crossroads, city gates. Only in 1899, the first borehole was made. The city’s water tower, water supply, and sewage systems were consequently constructed in 1902.

Gas factory (Liepų str. 47) (17) of the Klaipėda city was built in 1860–1861 (architect J. Hartmann, director of the gas factory in Koningsberg). Only
three out of twenty-eight buildings are still upheld – two-storey red brick administration building and two separate gas storing facilities. In the beginning gas factory produced gas only for lamplight, but later started distributing gas also for industrial facilities and cooking needs. Ammonia, resin, benzene and other substances were also manufactured in the gas factory. After the war, gas factory buildings were turned into apartments for living and used until 1981.

Russian Orthodox Church of All Saints (Liepų str. 45) (18)
In 1938–1939 a small chapel was built beside the city’s cemetery. Over the time, chapel has served not only for religious purposes – right after the second world war it was used as a grain warehouse. In 1947 it was granted to the local orthodox community, which at the time had more than one thousand members – interestingly, the first official religious community in Klaipėda city was orthodox, not catholic. The tower of the chapel was changed to a typical Eastern Orthodox cupola (dome), from the closed church in Latvia members of the community also brought iconostasis – a characteristic luxurious wall covered with orthodox icons. In addition to orthodox, until 1990 chapel served as a church for Lutheran community, which did not have their specific religious setting at the time.

Klaipėda Sculpture Park – the old cemetery (Liepų str./Trilapio str.) (19)
One of the bigger parks in the city center has a name of a Sculpture Park (Skulptūrų parkas), and since 1820, when the city’s cemetery was moved here from another location, used to be an old graveyard. Around forty thousand people were laid to rest in this territory, including well-known public figures and philanthropists. The last funeral at this cemetery was held in 1959. In 1977 Soviet Government ordered the cemetery to be destroyed and converted into a park. Over the years the park has been filled with various sculptures, created mostly in small Smiltynė village during summers.
Now the park has an area of over 10 hectares and is an outdoor exhibition ground for 116 artworks of 61 sculptors.

Monument for the rebels of 1923 (20)
Klaipėda Revolt took the place in January 1923 and was organized by Lithuanian Government – after the WW1 the region and the city itself officially was under provisional French administration, even though the total majority of the population were Lithuanians.
Despite the fact that the rebellion met little resistance from the French Government and Army, twelve of Lithuanian rebels, two French and one German policeman died during the Revolt. The monument for the rebels was built in 1925, sculptor – architect and artist Adomas Brakas. Words “To those who died for freedom in 1923” are carved into the stone on the monument.

Julius Ludwig Wiener (21) (1795–1862) was one of the greatest philanthropists of the city. Born in Gdansk, J. L. Wiener was a member of the Klaipėda city Council. Over the years he gained the affluence by selling plant seeds and after death left all of his wealth as a legacy to the community of Klaipėda city. More than 300 thousands thalers were used for church and synagogue renovation, building of educational institutions, feeding the poor. The Wiener Charity Funds were active even until the WW2.

Girls’ Lyceum of Queen Augusta Victoria (K. Donelaičio str. 4) (22)
Girls’ Lyceum was set up in the 20th century and became the most modern higher education institution in the whole Prussia at the time. School had advanced heating system with the automatic air conditioning system, keeping up the consistent temperature and cleaning the dust from the air. The school had a luxurious hall, decorated with frescoes and stained glass. In 1941 lyceum was turned into a war hospital. After war the building held the Association of the Teachers, now it is the Arts Faculty of the University of Klaipėda.

K. Donelaitis Square (23)
Up to the 19th century K. Donelaitis square used to be the cemetery of Krūmamiestis – a small village on the margins of the Klaipėda city. Together with the expansion of the city, the area of the old graveyard was turned into a recreational spot, with a garden and linden tree boulevards, hence later called Linden Square (Liepų aikštė). In 1939 a monument for Kaiser Wilhelm was set up in the square, but later, in 1973, was changed to a monument for a famous Lithuanian pastor and poet Kristijonas Donelaitis (sculptor P. Deltuva, architect P. Šadauskas). He wrote a classic Lithuanian language poem The Seasons (Metai), which became one of the principal poetry works in Lithuania, depicting the everyday life of people in late 18th century, their connection with the nature, and annual cycle of their lives.

Former, the Old Post Office building (Liepų str. 16) complex (24) emerged at 1893. The complex can be characterized as a blend of three different architectural styles – various elements of classicism, neogothic and Art Nouveau. The complex is composed of two-floor post building together with one-floor buildings from both sides, which used to be warehouses and stables. Every Saturday and Sunday the 42 m height Post Tower revives with music sounds from one of the biggest carillon in Lithuania, which is housed in the tower. Carillon was built in the Netherlands in 2006, and consists of 48 bells with the diapason of four octaves. Taken together, the bells weigh around 5095 kg.

Clock and Watch Museum (Liepų str. 12) (25)
Around 18th century the present Linden (Liepų) street was still a suburb and a popular place of residence among the merchants of the city, which filled the street with the classic style mansions. One of these mansions belonged to the merchant J. Simpson. Decorated with four classic pillars and various statues displaying merchants and crafts, the mansion was built in 1820 and later, in 1930, was bought by the bank institution. The Museum of Clocks and watches was opened here in 1984.

Monument for G. J. J. Sauerwein (Liepų str. 5) (26)
Built in 2011, a monument in the Linden (Liepų) street was dedicated to a notable humanitarian of 19th century – Georg J. J. Sauerwein (Jurgis J. J. Zauerveinas). Born in Germany, G. Sauerwein (1831–1904) is well known as the greatest linguistic prodigy of his time and during his life have mastered 75 different languages, including Lithuanian. He is also known as an active supporter of small countries and minorities across the world and is nowadays acknowledged in many countries. He was one of the first people to address the problems of imperialism and establish the idea of freedom and respect for all nations and countries, the idea that is now the foundation of the European Union. During his life, G. Sauerwein frequently stayed in Klaipėda city, where he was recognized as a politician and poet – more than 300 poems in Lithuanian language are his legacy. Quite often he would stay in a small tavern at Linden (Liepų) str. 5, where these days one can find a huge granitic statue (sculptor G. Jonkus, architect V. Mazurkevičius).

“Arka” (transl. “Arc”) monument (Tiltų str./Danės str.) (27)
Monument Arka (The Arc) was built in 2003, on the commemoration of the eighty years after Klaipėda Revolt. The statue weighs around 150 tons and reaches 8.5 m height. Red pillar symbolizes Lithuania Minor (Klaipėda region), while the bigger, grey part represents the mainland of Lithuania country. The missing top part on the right depicts the lost lands of Kaliningrad region. Carved into the stone of the statue are the words: ‘We are one nation, one land, one Lithuania’ (Esame viena tauta, viena žemė, viena Lietuva). Sculptor A. Sakalauskas, architect R. Krištopavičius, constructor T. Tubis.

As the oldest and one of the main bridges in the city, Biržos bridge (28) had a strategic significance until the end of 18th century and was surrounded by fortifications on the right bank. The bridge also had a great economical value – each passing ship was charged with a bridge lift fee: a small entry space in a then wooden bridge was opened for the masts of the sailing vessels and up to the 1770 was unofficially called The Bridge Gate (Tilto vartai) of the city. The current name of the bridge – Biržos – means ‘the market’ and is called that way because of the market that was situated nearby. During the WW2 bridge was destroyed, but then rebuilt in 1948.