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Architect seeks to rebuild historic core of Königsberg

The Local · 27 Oct 2010, 12:00

Published: 27 Oct 2010 12:00 GMT+02:00

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Arthur Sarnitz, born in Kaliningrad to Estonian parents, wants to rebuild its urban core to resemble how it was prior to World War II, before Allied bombing and the Red Army destroyed much of the then German city.

“My plans are ready,” Sarnitz told daily Die Welt this week. “It would be the biggest project of its kind in the world.”

Following Nazi Germany’s defeat in 1945, Königsberg and the surrounding East Prussian territory was handed over to the Soviet Union. The German residents were mostly expelled and Soviets renamed the region wedged between Poland and Lithuania Kaliningrad.

Die Welt reported Sarnitz envisioned first excavating the foundations of Königsberg currently buried beneath modern buildings. His first target for demolition and reconstruction would be the 7.5 hectare central district of Kneiphof including the local town hall.

“If we uncover the top layer, we see the walls of old Königsberg,” he told the paper. “That’s what we want to dig up and we’re being helped by Polish, Russian and German archaeologists.”

Though the buildings would appear outwardly historic, Sarnitz wants to outfit them with modern interiors adapted to 21st century life.

Sarnitz even hired a computer-game company to create a simulation of the reconstructed old town, where Königsberg’s most famous resident – the philosopher Immanuel Kant – strolls through the winding pixelated streets.

The ambitious architect is banking on support from the Kremlin, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whose wife comes from Kaliningrad, has reportedly backed rebuilding the town’s historic castle.

Story continues below…

However, while Sarnitz admitted financing the project will be difficult at best. “There is no money whatsoever,” he said, explaining he had pegged his hopes on Russian corporate sponsorship.

“A good cause will always find money,” he told the paper. “And the reconstruction of historic Königsberg is historically and morally a good thing.”

The Local/rm

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Your comments about this article

13:53 October 27, 2010 by William Thirteen
first the the Defense Ministry moves back to Berlin and now Königsberg will be restored - there's something in the air!
22:32 October 27, 2010 by Saphrein
I live in Kaliningrad and every day I see how those "architects" make my native town hideous. I really don't understand why they want to rebuild everything as it was before?! Why they want to destroy nice park area?

There's only one implication - to get more money from sponsors and hereafter to misappropriate the biggest part of money.
10:18 October 28, 2010 by catjones
I'm thinking about rebuilding my history... My past-self was better than my current-self and my future-self will then be my past-self.
02:29 October 30, 2010 by Paul Mannstein
After visiting Kaliningrad in the year 2000 restoring the city to it's former state would be a welcome development.

Incidentally a large portion of the population of Koenigsberg was shipped off to the Gulag for slave labour immediately after the war.
10:07 December 5, 2010 by Domdeone
Absolutely brilliant idea, these old towns developed over hundreds of years & through recent turbulant times & socialist ideals, people have been placed in modern, concrete structures-the link with the past being broken. It feeds the imagination this sort of project, is charming, pleasing to the eye & creates tourism. In Britain voted the most desirable place to shop is York with its overhanging 'shambles'. Forget shopping centres & retail parks, they are bland,bland,bland.

Whoever goes out of their way to visit places like these? Look at Kracow (formerly Breslau). Beautiful to live in, same with Dresden & there are plans to reconstruct central Frankfurt.
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