Founded in the 13th century by knights of the Teutonic Order and formerly known as Königsberg, the capital of East Prussia, Kaliningrad is home to over 450,000 people and an important Russian Baltic seaport and gateway to Europe. Founded in: 1255 Population: 450,300 Distance to Moscow: 1235 km Throughout its dramatic history, this ancient European city was home to a myriad of thinkers and artists including the philosopher Immanuel Kant, a life-long resident who taught at the local university; the iconic composer Richard Wagner and the romantic writer E.T.A. Hoffmann. Kaliningrad’s pride is the reconstructed Königsberg Cathedral of the 14th century. With its two chapels, Orthodox and Protestant, the cathedral is a symbol of peace and reconciliation. The region has been known from classical antiquity as a main source of amber in Europe. Around 90 per cent of the world’s amber deposits are located here. The amber industry is still a key business in the city and attracts thousands of visitors every year. The Kaliningrad region is blessed with pristine beaches and pine sand dunes. It features the beautiful nature reserve of Kurshskaya Spit, which was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.