May 28, 2023

Do you know where in Russia there is a whole planet of the ocean or an embankment with famous sea ships? And how to spend the night in a museum on the water or see a deep-sea manned vehicle from which the legendary Titanic was filmed? All these and other exciting adventures await in Kaliningrad and beyond – we know the way there and show it to you.

For the first time, the Russian Geographical Society is launching a series of popular science tours “Routes of the Russian Geographical Society”. This is a new format of travel, in which you can feel like a member of a real expedition and touch great science. Even if you have been to the Baltic and traveled all the popular places, a sea of ​​​​discoveries awaits you. There are no closed doors for the RGS team: we will take you to places where most tourists are not allowed. We will show the corridors of museums and restoration workshops, climb the lighthouse and descend into the dungeon of the ancient fortress, meet the members of the scientific expedition and be the first to see the artifacts they found.

We invite you to go on a popular science tour “Kaliningrad. Full immersion”organized tour operator RASSVET, and spend a weekend in the Baltic together with the Russian Geographical Society. We tell you how it will be.

Path to the ocean

As the famous publicist and popularizer of science Arthur C. Clarke joked, it is rather inappropriate to call our planet the Earth when it is obvious that it is the Ocean. Indeed, more than 70% of the globe is covered with water. The first marine museum in Russia, the Museum of the World Ocean, was built on this idea. It is easy to spot: right in the center of Kaliningrad, on the historical embankment, a giant sphere covered with water rises. This is the Planet Ocean exposition, and behind it is the main building of the museum.

You go inside and immediately find yourself under the snow-white skeleton of a giant sperm whale (one of the largest in the world!), Soaring in the air. Surrounded by amazing scientific instruments with which researchers study the ocean. Among the collections of rare barometers and current meters, an unusual ship in the shape of a sphere catches the eye. This is the Mir-1 deep-sea manned submersible, built back in 1987. During his life, he measured the depths of four oceans and went on 35 expeditions.

The most famous were the dives aboard the Titanic, the footage of which was included in the film of the same name by James Cameron, as well as the deep-sea descent at the geographic North Pole, which was included in the Guinness Book of Records. During this unprecedented dive, a titanium Russian flag and a capsule with a message to future generations were installed at the bottom. Artur Chilingarov, First Vice-President of the Russian Geographical Society, was a member of the mission crew within the framework of the Arktika-2007 expedition.

All this is just a small part of the exposition, which can easily be studied for several days. We’ll give you some interesting details. 14 marine and freshwater aquariums contain about a hundred species of corals and fish. Several hundred models of wooden sailboats and warships, old handmade maps, as well as countless collections of shells, sea mollusks and fossils of the deep sea are placed in the halls.

Young guests have their own program: classes in interactive laboratories are filled with scientific experiments and experiments. Here you can create tornadoes, whirlpools and lightning with your own hands, play with a ball on a stream of air or build a magnetic bridge – in general, you can completely and completely feel like a real oceanologist.

Night at the Museum

From the improvised ocean floor, we move on board the ship – the Vityaz research vessel. Here we are waiting for not just another excursion, but a real night in the museum: we check into cabins and lightly go for a walk along the snow-white conqueror of the seas. The Vityaz is a symbol of an entire era of Soviet maritime science, a real floating academy. From its side, they once measured the maximum depth of the Mariana Trench (which is almost 11 km – airplanes usually fly at such a height), and also discovered a new type of animal – pogonophores, deep-sea worm-like invertebrates.

Today, only crew members and participants in a group tour under the flag of the Russian Geographical Society can see how the ship lives and hear the beating of its heart. The most interesting thing awaits you in the engine room: labyrinths of interior spaces with ship mechanisms – a real Disneyland for those who are in love with marine technology. We will walk along the decks to the captain’s bridge, look into all the hidden corners of the ship that cannot be seen during a regular excursion. Let’s go through the routes of sea expeditions of Russian ships of the era of the Great Geographical Discoveries, look at distant countries through the eyes of medieval sailors. Only for us will the locked doors of the “museum within the museum” open.

The highlight of our journey will be an interactive exhibit — a holographic pyramid floating in the air. Amazing translucent edges will allow you to see with your own eyes the natural processes taking place at the bottom of the World Ocean: eruptions of underwater volcanoes and the life of the inhabitants of the sea depths, which can withstand a pressure of 600 atmospheres.

Do not rush to say goodbye to the ship: we will return here in the evening to have dinner with the captain and spend the night in the historic cabins. In the meantime, we continue our journey. Ahead of us…

Embankment of the historic fleet

Part of the Kaliningrad city promenade, from the monument to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker to the two-tiered bridge, is a real open-air museum. Historical ships are moored here, each of which has its own thematic expositions.

Next to the “Vityaz” is another research ship – “Cosmonaut Viktor Patsaev”. This is the only space communication ship in the world with a museum on board. There is a command post here, from where communication sessions with spacecraft and negotiations with astronauts were conducted. A real space odyssey, which tells about the exploits of the Soviet pilot Viktor Patsaev, after whom the ship and the crater on the Moon were named, will appeal to all lovers of the era of space discoveries.

A little further away stands the SRT-129 trawler with an exposition dedicated to the Russian fishing fleet. It was on such post-war vessels that Kaliningrad fishermen, the pioneers of ocean fishing, first entered the high water and discovered new fishing areas. Later, they formed a local fishing school, which provided 11% of the fish stocks of the entire country.

Next door is a boat of an unusual bright orange color. In fact, this is a habitable floating lighthouse. On board, on a high mast, a beacon light with radio, sound and hydroacoustic signals is fixed. Typically, such ships were placed on the high seas, away from the coast, at the entrances to ports. Today, this unique device stands in the city port and welcomes guests interested in the history of lighthouse business.

At the very end of the promenade, there is another interesting object – the submarine B-413 of the pre-atomic period, preserved in its original form. Looking inside, you can walk through the compartments, go into the officers’ cabins, see what is visible in the periscope, and even touch a real torpedo with your hands.

Under the flag of the Russian Geographical Society

Having studied all the scientific treasures of the amber capital, we go to the seashore, to the westernmost city of Russia – Baltiysk. Ancient German architecture, an endless promenade and snow-white beaches of ex-Pillau set you up for a resort mood. We will still have time to soak up the sun, but first the cultural part: we are going to explore the underground labyrinths of the ancient citadel, where the research expedition of the Russian Geographical Society has been working for the third year now. Scientists, historians, military engineers and young volunteers from all over the country are clearing the Baltic Fortress, looking for wartime artifacts and conducting laser scanning of the premises.

The battle fortification in the Baltic was founded by the Swedes in the 17th century. Since then, it has repeatedly passed under the flags of different countries. Today, the active military unit of the Baltic Fleet is based here, so getting into the fortress is not so easy. However, we will have the opportunity not only to walk through the newly discovered labyrinths of the citadel and be among the first to see rare finds, but also to join the expedition of the Russian Geographical Society for a while: to try what it is like to be a field scientist, learn to scan the fortress and contribute to the development of great science.

If the weather permits, we will try to get into another closed object – to the top of the Baltic Lighthouse: a breathtaking view of the city and the seashore, as well as beautiful photographs that no one will definitely have.

people of the sea

The next point of our dive trip is Svetlogorsk. The Maritime Exhibition Center is located here, which reveals the maritime theme already from an ethno-artistic point of view. Unexpectedly, we will plunge into the life and island culture of the peoples of Southeast Asia through authentic cult objects from New Guinea, Sumatra, India and Nepal. The life of people there is inseparable from the sea, which is reflected in the purpose of certain objects, materials, themes of works, plots and symbolism.

The exposition “People of the Sea” reproduces the world of primitive tribes and their cults, the practices of ancient Eastern religions and the high skill of native artists. Many of the items presented in the exposition have no museum analogues in Russia and are exhibited in our country for the first time. Eminent researchers who have studied this collection call it one of the top five in Europe.

Following the style of our journey – to get through the locked doors – we go to the restoration workshop to examine objects from closed funds. It is usually impossible to get into this part of the museum with a guided tour. And then we go to admire the jewelry masterpieces in the Amber Room, the crown of which was the miniature exposition “A naturalist’s amazing journey around the world in search of amber”, completely made of sun stone.

The final chord of our immersion in the research world of the Baltic sounds among the promised hedonistic part of the journey. With a breeze along the seashore we go to the cleanest beach, marked with a blue flag. Devotees of the scientific world to the end can go to the Amber Combine, where from the observation deck from a height of 50 m you can watch the work in the quarry in real time. Those who prefer the sound of the sea surf can immediately run to sunbathe and taste local seafood: scallops and grilled fish are always excellent here.

By the way, if you are not a fan of big companies and want to dive with the Russian Geographical Society, the tour will suit you. “Weekend in the Baltic according to your rules”designed for a group of two people. Inside – the same set, but more time for independent exploration of the city.

A series of popular science tours “Routes of the Russian Geographical Society” is a new travel format in which you can feel like a member of a real expedition and touch great science. New unique destinations ahead – stay tuned to the section page “Traveling with the Russian Geographical Society”. Tours are organized with the support of the tour operator RASSVET.

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