The iconic philosopher Immanuel Kant lived in Koenigsberg his entire life. Writer Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann was born and educated here. Famous cultural and scientific figures lived and worked here, including philosophers Johann Herder and Johann Fichte, astronomer Friedrich Bessel, composer Richard Wagner, political thinker Hannah Arendt and many others.
At the same time, Koenigsberg was always connected with Russia throughout its history. This is where Peter the Great studied the basics of gunnery and, perhaps, saw how fortifications were arranged, insight which proved useful during the construction of Kronstadt. Empress Catherine the Great, historian Karamzin, Field Marshal Kutuzov and the poets Zhukovsky, Baratynsky, Nekrasov and Mayakovsky all visited Koenigsberg. In 1758, during the Seven Years' War, the city became part of the Russian Empire for several years.
However, it was not historical ties, but rather Koenigsberg's location – a year-round port on the Baltic Sea – that in 1945 played a key role in the city's destiny. In accordance with the decisions taken at the Potsdam Conference, part of Eastern Prussia, then a German province, was to be transferred to the USSR. On July 4, 1946, Koenigsberg was renamed Kaliningrad.