True Lithuania

Naujamiestis (New Town) Borough in Klaipėda

New Town (Naujamiestis) is a borough to the north of the Old Town, separated by the Danė river. Many of its buildings date to the late 19th century with large residentials, merchants residences, and a few monumental public structures.

The borough is spanned south to north by a 3 km long Herkaus Manto street. It begins at Atgimimo square where a gate-like statue symbolizes the unification of Klaipėda region and Lithuania in 1923. The broken end on one side of the gate reminds of the part of Lithuania Minor annexed to Russia. The square itself is a product of the Soviet destruction, as many beautiful buildings used to stand here before the World War 2, including the imposing Klaipėda Market with a tower. Almost entire northern bank of Danė river is similarly destroyed-and-built-anew. However, the Danės street is still pleasant to stroll because of the views of the old town it affords you.

Danės street in the northern bank of Danė river. The buildings in the foreground are all Soviet. The residential 20-floor skyscreaper in the background is post-indpendence (2006). Its form (letter D) symbolises the Danė river. This is the face of the New Town everyone sees from the Old Town but it is somewhat deceptive. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Luckily, in the east-west streets further north more beautiful places remain unhindered. Liepų (Linden) street is arguably the most interesting in the New Town. Here you may find a neo-gothic German Royal Post building (1893) with a large tower. Clock museum is located in a former merchant residence nearby but it barely changed since the Soviet rule and it is a far cry from what it would be in case it would stand in the West. There are other beautiful residential buildings. A sculpture park in the east is the Soviet replacement for Lutheran cemetery. The historic part of Liepų street ends at the remains of red brick gas cisterns in what once was a 19th-century gas factory (1 km east of Herkaus Manto street).

Liepų Street in Klaipėda with the Clock museum (formerly merchant's residence and bank building) and the Post office building. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Opposite to Liepų street is the Naujoji Sodo street where a few old buildings are joined by two new towers. One of these residential blocks has a form of letter K and the other reminds letter D. The nearby Hotel Amberton houses a restaurant in its top floor, offering the best public vantage point in an otherwise lowland Klaipėda.

Additional pretty old buildings may be found in the small streets north of Naujoji Sodo, such as Puodžių. Here is the Klaipėda's only church that was not demolished or closed by the Soviet regime (dedicated to Christ the King). However, it is of little interest as it has a size of a mere village church.

Going further north on Herkaus Manto street you will cross Mažvydo Avenue to the right, a large pedestrianized street where various events take place.

If you will continue strolling Herkaus Manto Street you will pass a nice and large Lietuvininkų square that was laid in the first decades of the 20th century (massive northern side buildings are authentic). A statue for Martynas Mažvydas (author of first Lithuanian printed book) was erected in the center of the square.

At the northern end of historical Herkaus Manto street (beyond the railway overbridge), there stands beautifully restored Gothic Revival German barracks (1907). Since 1993 these 3 to 5 story red brick buildings hosts Klaipėda University main campus (after being abandoned for decades).

Klaipėda university main buildings (meticulously restored former German army barracks). In future it is expected that entire university would relocate here as additional modern buildings would be built in the surrounding open areas. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Beyond the campus there are no more historical buildings and a Soviet functionalist apartment building zone starts, quite similar to the one in Southern Klaipėda (albeit smaller). Further north surrounding the long Liepojos street towards Palanga stands an extensive collection of large private homes typical to the 1990s nuoveau-riche.

Map of Klaipėda New Town. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Article written by Augustinas Žemaitis

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