Exploring the North of Klaipėda: from suburban to royal

Type: cognitive-historical
Length – 4 km
Duration – 1 h
for those who:
– like to explore and feel the suburban life
– want to visit the botanical garden

We recommend starting the walking route in the bus stop “Panevėžio”, which you can reach by taking busses 9, 14, 15A or 17 (find the schedules here: http://www.klaipedatransport.lt/en). After leaving the bus stop, turn to the right towards Panevėžio street. Turn to the left on Panevėžio street (towards the river). On your right, you will see St. Casimir’s church (1).

The place for a church was purposely picked in this area – here used to be the lands of residency for King of Prussia Frederick William III and his wife, Queen Louisa. The church was also dedicated to St. Casimir, who was the prince of the Kingdom of Poland and of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 15th century. Royal legacy was imprinted in the architecture of the St. Casimir’s church – composition of the towers resembles a crown. The shape of the whole church can be interpreted as a ship figure, iconic for a seaside port city of Klaipėda.

Continue to walk through the suburban area of the city.

This borough is called Small Village (2) (lith. “Mažasis Kaimelis”), and is mainly occupied by private houses. Private houses in this area started to appear after WWII. At the time this was quite unconventional practice because city mainly focused on building multi-story houses (condominiums). However, in 1958, the Klaipėda city executive committee decided to allocate the plot of land to various companies, organizations, and institutions, which in turn distributed the land to their employees.

At the end of the street turn to the left and go down the hill. Turn to the left on the pedestrian pathway. You should now be heading to the north – river on your right, residencies on your left.

Residencies on your left side are part of the community garden, or allotment (3) (lith. “kolektyviniai sodai”), private plots used for growing various food plants, or gardening for non-commercial purposes. The first community gardens in Lithuania were established during the Soviet occupation. Particular gardens were called after the names of rivers, plants, towns – the community garden on your left is called Baltic (lith. “Baltijos sodų bendrija”). Similar community gardens can be found in the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan. Initially, most of the allotments are located outside of the city, near forests, rivers or other water bodies, however, during city expansion, some of them – like this one – turn into suburban areas.

Continue to walk along the riverside.

Danė river (4) (otherwise known as Dangė or Akmena) rises in Kretinga district (a small town outside Klaipėda), flows through Klaipėda city, drains into Curonian Lagoon (Kuršių Marios) and, consequently, into the Baltic Sea (Baltijos jūra). Danė was the home river for the port of the city for a very long time – from 13th to 19th centuries. The harbor was situated in between two main bridges – Biržos and Castle bridge (Pilies).

Now the main harbor is too big and is therefore located in the Curonian Lagoon.

Tauralaukis – city borough, where you are now – is known for its connections with the royal family of Prussia – King Frederick William III, Queen Louisa and their children, who liked to spend their time here in a manor house. As a dedication to the Queen, city built the monument for the Queen (which, unsuccessfully, did not remain to these days), and planted oak tree for Louisa. The name of the borough Tauralaukis can be translated to Auchor’s (extinct species of domestic cattle) field. In 20th century, Tauralaukis could be reached from the city by motor ship “Tante Anna”, where citizens liked to spend their time in a restaurant or traditional squares. Bird shooting, martial arts and gymnastics competitions were amongst popular activities.

A little bit closer to the city center it is possible to find a second historic site of Tauralaukis borough: a site where Frederick William III met with Tsar of the Russian Empire Alexander I in 1802. To acknowledge this occasion, the city community later planted a small Royal Forest (Karališkas miškelis), which was connected to a restaurant area by a 5 km length tree avenue, called the Vynerio promenade.

Walk until you reach Klaipėda University Botanical Gardens (5).

Botanical Gardens work every day, and we definitely recommend to visit: follow the pathway and cross the bridge over Danė river. Go up the steps and turn to the left on Klaipėda street. Turn to the left again at the traffic circle and walk until you reach the gates to the Gardens on your left.

Klaipėda University Botanical Gardens have an area of 9.3 hectares. The main botanical garden in Western Lithuania exhibits 4 different plant collections – coniferous woody, deciduous woody, herbaceous ornamental, and herbs as well as medicinal plant collection. Not only domestic Lithuanian species, but plants from all over the world can be found here.

Altogether, the gardens have around 40 thousand plants.

We recommend finishing the walking route here in the Botanical Garden. You can go back to the city center by taking busses 9, 14 or 17.