Yantarny has become a sought-after resort.
Yantarny is a beautiful resort at the Baltic Sea with long stretches of white sandy beaches. The name “Yantarny” comes from the Russian word “Yantar” which means “Amber”. It was previously known as “Palmnicken” and this beautiful town has seen a lot of development over the last couple of years which has transformed it into a sought-after resort.
Previously Yantarny was not open to the Russian Public and most definitely not to foreigners. Now everybody can visit this beautiful town. Personally I love this beach as it is one of the most beautiful that I have seen around the Baltic Sea in the Kaliningrad Oblast Region. Sadly many beaches have been washed away over the years like in Svetlogorsk, where only a small beach remains.
When is the best time to visit? In my opinion during the summer. Spring is still cold and very windy.
The history of Yantarny.
This beautiful town has a very interesting but sad history. It was founded in 1234 by the Crusading Tetonic Knigts who settled here. Both Sweden and Russia occupied it in the 17th century but it ultimately stayed the part of the German Empire and Prussian Flag. In 1827 the town became a major local Amber producer and it is still to this day. It was during this time that Palmicken became a spa resort.
It was conquered by the Soviet Red Army at the beginning of April 1945 when Nazi Germany was defeated. The Kaliningrad Oblast Region became part of Russia as part of the 1945 Potsdam Conference. Germans left or were expelled and this town was populated by Russians, Belarusians, Ukranians and Tartars. It was renamed to Yantarny – The City of Amber.
The massacre of Palmnicken.
When we visited Yantarny we were taken to an interesting memorial for fallen Jews during World War II. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the reason why this monument would be standing here. I know Russia had a lot of Russian Jews but it didn’t make sense and Andrey´s friends also didn’t know the reason. Luckily I managed to find information on the Internet and that was when I discovered the sad story.
When the Soviet troops advanced in January 1945, the East Prussian sub camp of the Stutthof concentration camp was disbanded. The inmates were sent by the Nazis through Königsberg to Palmnicken. During the forced march a total of 13,000 men, woman and children were sent and only 3,000 survived. When they arrived in Palmnicken, they were walled up within a tunnel of an amber mine.
The manager of the mine complaint and this plan was abandoned. On the night of January 31, the prisoners were brought to the beach of Palmnicken. They were driven into the sea while being fired upon. Only 33, known by name survived.
The monument that are visited by many people have been unveiled on January, 30 in 2011. Frank Meisler designed the monument and you can see hands lifted to the sky. This is a symbol of perishing people. Sadly, the monument was vandalized with paint by anti-Semitic slogans on August 24, 2011. Luckily this hasn’t happened again and the monument was in perfect condition when we visited.
Top things that can be seen and done in Yantarny.
- Walk on the beach and look for amber. This is a lot of fun and I am sure you will be able to find small stones. If you are there during the summer, you can participate in the Amber Festival, which is held annually.
- Have a picnic on the beach. There are many places where you can have a traditional Russian picnic with friends on the beach.
- Stroll among the trees in Bekker’s Park. These trees were planted in the 19th century.
- Have lunch at one of the many restaurants with a spectacular sea view.
- Visit the Jewish Memorial on the far side of the beach.
- Admire the old German Houses. There are beautiful houses to be seen if you want to walk around and explore the neighbourhood.
- Do not forget to visit the beautiful Amber Castle and admire the craftsmanship there.
Did you know that Amber removes all negative energy and renew physical strength?