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Klaipėda ( , ; ) is a city in Lithuaniamarker situated at the mouth of the Curonian Lagoonmarker where it flows into the Baltic Seamarker. As Lithuania's only seaport, it has ferry terminal connections to Swedenmarker and Germanymarker. Some of its older buildings have picturesque half-timbered construction, similar to that found in Germany, Francemarker, Englandmarker, Denmarkmarker and southern Swedenmarker.

The population shrank from 207,100 in 1992 to 187,442 in 2005. Popular seaside resorts found close to Klaipėda are Nidamarker to the south on the Curonian Spitmarker, and Palangamarker to the north.


Map of Old Town of Klaipėda

The Teutonic Knights built a castlemarker in the *Pilsāts Land of the Curonians and named it Memelburg; later the name was shortened to Memel. From 1252-1923 and from 1939–1945, the town and city was officially named Memel. Due to political changes between 1923 and 1939, both names were in the official use; since 1945 the Lithuanian name of Klaipėda is used.

The names Memelburg and Memel are found in most written sources from the 13th century onwards, while Klaipėda is found in Lithuania-related sources since the 15th century. The first time the city was mentioned as Caloypede in the letter of Vytautas in 1413, for the second time in the negotiation documents of 1420 as Klawppeda, and for the third time in the Treaty of Melnomarker of 1422 as Cleupeda. According to Samogitian folk etymology, the name Klaipėda refers to the boggy terrain of the town (klaidyti=obstruct and pėda=foot). Most likely the name is of Curonian origin and means "even ground": „klais/ klait“ (flat, open, free) und „ped“ (sole of the foot, ground).

The lower reaches of the Neman Rivermarker were named either *Mēmele or *Mēmela by local Curonian inhabitants. It means in the Couronian-Latvianmarker language mute, silent (memelis, mimelis, mēms). This name was adopted by speakers of German and also chosen for the new city founded further away at the lagoon.


Coat of Arms

The coat of arms of Klaipėda is also used as coat of arms of Klaipėda city municipalitymarker. The modern version was created by the designer Kęstutis Mickevičius. The modern coat of arms was created by restoring old seals of the Memel city (analogous with those used in the years 1446, 1605 and 1618). It was affirmed on July 1, 1992.


Historical populations
Year Population

1992 207,100
1999 203,300
2003 190,906
2004 189,477
2005 188,042
2006 187,316

As of 2007, the population was 185,936. The population by age was: 0-14 14.0%, 15-59 67.1%,60+ 18.9% There were 85,493 men and 100,443 women in the city. The ethnic composition in 2003 was:

Of the city's area of 98 square kilometres, 38 % was used for buildings, 1.4% for roads, 8.45% for farming, 14.08% was water, and the remaining 38% was "other uses". Klaipėda contained 17 post offices, a railroad station, a bus station, a harbour, 26 hotels, 4 Catholic chapels,a synagogue, 10 museums, 4 theaters, and 15 sport centers.

City municipality

Klaipėda city municipality council is the governing body of the Klaipėda city municipality. It is responsible for municipality laws. The council is composed of 31 member elected for four-year terms.

The council is the member of the Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania.




Klaipėda's climate is under the influence of the Baltic sea

Winters are cold to mild, and summers are warm. In July and August, the warmest season, high temperatures average 20 °C (68 °F), and low temperatures average 14 °C (57 °F). In January and February, the coldest season, high temperatures average 0 °C (32 °F) with low temperatures averaging −5 °C (23 °F). It is not uncommon to have temperatures of 30 C (86 °F) in July or −18 C (0 °F) in January. Extremes range from 34 °C (93 °F) to −33 °C (−27 °F).The wettest month is November with a mean total precipitation 90 mm. Not only November, but also August, September and October are wet months because of the warmth of the Baltic sea in relation to the continent and the westerly winds. The driest month is February averaging 31 mm of total precipitation. Spring is not particularly wet.

Klaipėda is a windy city with many stormy days per year. In autumn and winter, gales are not unusual.Sea breezes are common from April to September.Snow can fall from October to April and a phenomenon resembling lake-effect snow is frequent. Severe snowstorms can paralyze the city in winter.

Klaipeda has unsettled weather all year round. Winter can be cold and snowy, similar to that in Moscow, while another one can be mild, windy, and rainy, similar to the weather in Scotland. August 2005 was very rainy, while August 2002, barely had any precipitation at all.


Residential building on Baltijos street

Klaipėda has 31 neighborhoods:

  • Baltijos
  • Bandužiai
  • Barškiai
  • Dauguliai
  • Debrecenas
  • Eglė
  • Gandrališkėsmarker
  • Giruliai
  • Kauno
  • Kopgalis
  • Laukininkai
  • Lypkiai
  • Mažasis Kaimelis
  • Melnragė
  • Miško rajonas
  • Mogiliovas
  • Naujakiemis
  • Pempininkai
  • Rimkai
  • Sendvaris
  • Smeltė
  • Smiltynė
  • Sportininkų
  • Sudmantai
  • Tauralaukis
  • Trinyčiai
  • Virkučiai
  • Šauliai
  • Švyturio
  • Žardė
  • Žvejybos uosto rajonas

Port of Klaipėda

The port of Klaipėda handled almost 22 million tons of cargo in 2005

The Port of Klaipėda is the principal ice-free port on the eastern coast of the Baltic Seamarker. It is the most important Lithuanian transportation hub, connecting sea, land and railway routes from East to West. Klaipėda is a multipurpose, universal, deep-water port. 19 big stevedoring companies, ship-repair and shipbuilding yards operate within the port and all marine business and cargo handling services are being rendered.

The annual port cargo handling capacity is up to 40 Mt. The port operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all-year round.


Notable buildings

The tallest building in Klaipėda is 34-story Pilsotasmarker. A 40-story commercial building is scheduled to be built in 2012, which would become the tallest building in Klaipėda.

Tallest buildings
Name Stories Height Built Purpose Status
Pilsotasmarker 34 111.9 m. 2007 Residential Built
BIG 2 Complex 25 72-82 m. 2009 Mixed use Built
K Tower 20 71.9 m. 2006 Office Built
D Tower 20 71.9 m. 2006 Residential Built
Klaipėdos burė 22 66 m. 2009 Residential Built
Aukštoji Smeltė 20 66 m. 2009 Residential Under construction
Minijos Banga 20 62.2 m. 2007 Residential Built
Neapolis Business Centre 16 56.7 m. 2007 Office Built
Baltijos Avenue Tower 15 50 m. 2002 Residential Built
Vėtrungė 13 42 m. - Retail Built


Passenger ferry Kintai
Klaipėda's public transport is very logical and comfortable for travelling because of its geographical peculiarity the city has expanded along the coast, from north to south. In the beginning of year 2007 a new electronic monthly ticket system was introduced. It is possible to buy an electronic card in shops and newspaper stands and fill it with an appropriate amount of money.

The principal public transport routes in Klaipėda are:

  • 3 - From Žvejybos uostasmarker to Klaipėda's southwest;
  • 6 - From south citys microdistrict to Melnragė;
  • 8 - From south citys microdistrict to Klaipeda's Railroad Station;
  • The special routes 1, 1A, 12, and 19 carry workers to the biggest harbour enterprises.

Klaipėda is being serviced by Klaipėda Airportmarker. Domestic and international commercial scheduled airline services are provided by Palanga International Airportmarker.

Main sights

One of Klaipėda's most recognizable symbols - sailing boat Meridianas
Public sculpture at the city's Old Town


Klaipėda's main attractions are the historic buildings in the city's centre, dating from the 13th to 18th centuries. Other places of interest include:

  • The remnants of the Memelburg Castle, built in the 13th century by the Teutonic Order. It had a massive bulk and a quadrangular tower, surrounded by the ramparts and brick bastions. It lost importance after the Russian occupation from 1756 to 1762, and thenceforth started to decay.
  • The Žardė ancient settlement, situated on the right bank of the Smiltelė River. It is dated to the late Iron Age (10th century), and was inhabited until the 16th century.
  • The remnants of the so-called 'Dutchmarker' defence system around the entire town from the 17th-18th centuries.
  • The maritime museum in Fort Wilhelm, built at the end of the 19th century at the spike of the Curonian Spit.





Club Sport League Venue
Neptūnas Basketball Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL), Baltic Basketball League (BBL) Neptūnas Hall
Nafta-Uni-Laivitė Basketball National Basketball League (NKL) Žalgirio sporto rūmai
Atlantas Football Lithuanian Football Federation II League (II Lyga) Žalgiris Stadiummarker
Dragūnas handball
Lemminkainen Basketball Lithuanian Women Basketball League (LMKL)
FC Klaipeda Football Lithuanian Football Federation I League (I Lyga) Žalgiris Stadiummarker





Notable residents

Sister cities and areas

See also


  • Baedeker, Karl. Northern Germany. London, 1904, p.178.
  • Christiansen, Eric. The Northern Crusades. Penguin Books. London, 1997. pp. 107, 160, 248. ISBN 0-14-026653-4
  • The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia (2006). " Klaipeda." Retrieved 11 April, 2006.
  • Gathorne-Hardy, Geoffrey Malcolm. A Short History of International Affairs, 1920 to 1934. Oxford University Press, 3rd impression, May 1936, p.89/91.
  • Encyclopædia Britannica 1938 Year Book.
  • Kirby, David. The Baltic World, 1772-1993: Europe’s Northern Periphery in an Age of Change. Longman. London, 1999. p. 42, 133. ISBN 0-582-00408-X
  • Kirby, David. Northern Europe in the Early Modern Period: The Baltic World, 1492-1772. Longman. London, 1990. p. 366 ISBN 0-582-00410-1
  • Koch, Hannsjoachim Wolfgang. A History of Prussia. Barnes & Noble Books. New York, 1993. pp. 35, 54, 194. ISBN 0-88029-158-3
  • Urban, William. The Teutonic Knights: A Military History. Greenhill Books. London, 2003, pp. 65, 121. ISBN 1-85367-535-0
  • Woodward, E.L., Butler, Rohan, (editors). Documents on British Foreign Policy 1919-1939 (1939), Third Series, volume IV. HMSO, London, 1951.


  1. "1413 – pirmąkart paminėtas vardas Klaipėda (Caloypede)" [1]
  2. Klaipėda information website
  3. Gibson, Campbell. Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990. Accessed October 11 2005.

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