Klaipeda – contemporary port on Baltic
Klaipeda is an attractive transit port, connecting the main transportation corridors between the East and the West. It is the most northern ice-free Baltic seaport. Harbour waters do not freeze even at -25°C.The depth of the harbour waters at the northern part of the port quays is 14.5 meters and in perspective the depth is to reach 17 meters.Klaipeda port is a State port. Its land and harbour waters belong to the State. The port of Klaipedais managed by the Authirities of Klaipeda State Seaport, the founders of which are the Communications Ministry of the Republic of Lithuania.Klaipeda has a number of advantages over other ports in the region for transit:it has excellent road links with the only motorway standart road in the Baltic States linking a port complex to the countries of the former Soviet Unionit is the nearest port in the region to western Europe and as such this minimises the slow shipping section of a transit journeyit has new, modern container and ferry terminals providing excellent inter-modal facilitiesit is located west of the major industrial locations of Belarus and western Russia and involves no diviation from the direct route between the European Union and the main sources of freight trafficit is linked to the rail system of Belarus and Russia on the same rail gauge
. Today, Klaipëda has a population of more than 206,000 and is vital to Lithuania’s economy as the country’s main seaport. Archaeological evidence reveals that this area was once densely populated by the Balts, ancestors to Lithuanians. From the 9th century, their lands were perpetually raided by the Vikings. From the 13th century, the site suffered new invasions by German feudal lords and the Teutonic Order. In a move to consolidate its governance over the territory, in 1252 the Order erected a castle on the delta of the river Danë, named it Memelburg and used it to control the strait between the mainland and the Curonian Spit. After this, Lithuania’s main waterway trade route via the Nemunas river to the Curonian Lagoon, Baltic Sea and so to Gotland and Scandinavia was sealed shut.The site, now controled by the Teutonic Order, was a natural harbour around which a town soon developed (to the east of the castle). In some years the town of Memel was granted similar rights as had the Hanseatic towns of Dortmund (1254) and Lubeck (1258). But, it was a foreign encroachment, a tiny wedge of German territory carved out of Lithuania and for many centuries the native people were subjected to political and economic oppression and denied their true identity. This situation only changed with the Treaty of Versailles after World War I, which took the territory from Germany and temporarily placed it under French control. In 1923, the Lithuanian government seized control of the Klaipëda region from the French, the region was soon recognized a part of Lithuania by the international community. Klaipeda today – an Ancient Town and a Modern City Klaipeda has developed into a modern city, with the characteristic quays and warehouses of a port, and with clusters of old German fachwerk buildings. The city centre has an eclectic mixture of buildings in various styles, including the old City Hall, the neo-gothic Post Office, the former Louise Gymnasium, the theatre and some private houses. The old town itself is laid out in a rectangular network of streets dating from the 13th to 15th centuries, where it is still possible to see remains of the old castle and citadel, sections of the castle towers, ramparts, bastions, ditches, ravelins and other medieval defenses. At Kopgalis, a restored fortress houses a Marine Museum, Aquarium, and dolphinarium.ion during the summer
Klaipeda – city of success The majority of Klaipeda residents, who celebrated the 750th anniversary of the city on August 1, 2002, claim that they are happy and they are not going to move to any other city.Young, pushing, liberal, open, tolerant, bright, ambitious, and perhaps a bit crazy – these are the words that are most often used to describe the city of Klaipeda. Namely these epithets is a key for those who strive to unriddle the secret of Klaipeda’s unique, for those who try to realise how, in comparatively short period of time, Klaipeda, being grey and undistinguished industrial city, could become one of the leaders of the country, and now it is reasonably titled the capital of Western Lithuania.There is hardly anyone who would decide to challenge the fact that Klaipeda, having celebrated its 750th anniversary on August 1, 2002, in the recent decade surpassed the second largest Lithuanian city Kaunas in many fields and has already become a serious competitor for the capital Vilnius. Today, Klaipeda and its region receive not only foreign and local capitals, but also the brains of the country.So, what is the secret of Klaipeda’s success? If a frequent Lithuanian is asked a question what Klaipeda is, he would undoubtedly answer that it is a city on the shore of the Baltic Sea, the only one and, incidentally, all the year round ice-free Lithuanian seaport. The selfsame definition of Klaipeda could be found in every manual of geography or in a travel guide. Namely the sea, according to many Lithuanians, not only give exceptional features to Klaipeda, but it is also the main factor, which determines its attractiveness and very fast development – both economical and cultural.It is undoubtedly true. On the other hand, to claim that all the Klaipeda’s strides of the recent years were achieved only due to favourable geographical location would be rather primitive. There is one good proverb – a full stomach does not like to study. That ‘stomach’ would have stayed full, but thanks to the people who more than fifty years ago, after World War II, came to the devastated and emptied city. The people appeared to be very hard working, ingenious, enthusiastic, open to innovations, and ready to embody them. Today these people, their children, and grandchildren can surely call themselves real residents of Klaipeda and rightly be proud of the offspring of their hard work and feel happy.Besides, what concerns luck… In 2002, the municipality of Klaipeda ordered a survey. The results showed, that there are more residents in Klaipeda, as compared with the ones from other Lithuanian cities and towns that consider themselves happy. Some data of the survey surprised even its clients. As it happens, more than 90 % of respondents of the seaport are proud to be residents of Klaipeda and – what seems to be fantastic – are pleased with the municipal government. Klaipeda is really successful with leadership. A political stability is a result of their clever leading. In Klaipeda, as distinct from other Lithuanian cities and towns, a new leader, instead of derogating what has been created by his predecessor, he continues the unfinished works. This feature of Klaipeda is extremely valuated by foreign investors and businessmen. Though the municipal leaders change, good specialists remain in the municipal administration. Namely it was they who were the first in the country to create, to approve in April 2001, and to start implementing the strategical plan of Klaipeda city development. The plan, after opinions of different interest groups have been judged upon, includes the main guidelines of city development up to 2010.
The city leaders and officials, who give much attention to the budget, regret that the financial city foundation is formed according to the principal common to all cities and towns of the country. On the other hand, that motivates to look for other finance sources, to organise various projects, the most often financed by PHARE and ISPA funds.Klaipeda is also a definite leader in the field of international communication. It’s efforts to actively operate in the sphere of international communication and to support the national strategical objective of integration into the European Union and NATO were noticed. Besides, people almost from all Lithuanian municipalities constantly come to Klaipeda for consultations on the development of international communications, and what is more important, the works of the seaport on propagating the ideas of European unity received international acknowledgement. In 1999, Klaipeda became the first Lithuanian city, which was awarded with the Flag of Honour of the Council of Europe, in 2001 – with the Plaque of Honour, and in 2003 – with European Prize. The European Prize, established in 1955, is the highest award, which could be given to a European city or regional authority for their activity propagating international communications and cooperation. Klaipeda – the first Lithuanian city to receive this very honourable distinction.Klaipeda – a member of unions of Baltic cities and European largest cities – EUROCITIES, together with Klaipeda County – and Euro region ‘Baltija’. Today, Klaipeda is in twin town relations with 16 foreign cities. Most of them are also seaports: Liep?ja (Latvia), Gdynia (Poland), Kotka (Finland), Karlskrona (Sweden), L?beck (Germany), Kaliningrad (Russia). Besides, Klaipeda actively cooperates with Cleveland (USA) and a Japanese city Kuji. Currently, everything is done to revive communication with one of the oldest partners of Klaipeda – Debrecen (Hungary).So, is Klaipeda still a province? Vilnius, standing high above is likely to say YES. However, hard working, ambitious and optimistic residents of Klaipeda have other o pinion. Moreover, they are sure, that after Lithuania will have become a full member of the European Union, Klaipeda will not be rejected for sure.Klaipeda has developed into a modern city, with the characteristic quays and warehouses of a port, and with clusters of old German fachwerk buildings. The city centre has an eclectic mixture of buildings in various styles, including the old City Hall, the neo-gothic Post Office, the former Louise Gymnasium, the theatre and some private houses. The old town itself is laid out in a rectangular network of streets dating from the 13th to 15th centuries, where it is still possible to see remains of the old castle and citadel, sections of the castle towers, ramparts, bastions, ditches, ravelins and other medieval defenses. At Kopgalis, a restored fortress houses a Marine Museum, Aquarium, and dolphinarium.ion during the summer