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is the third biggest city in Lithuania located on the coalescence of the Curonian Lagoon and The Baltic Sea, 311 km north west from the Capital Vilnius. A gross nonfreezing sea harbor is established in Klaipėda so the city is one of the main Lithuanian economic centers and a very important transit knot. Klaipėda is well attended by visitors in summer not only during traditional festivals like the Sea Festival, an International Jazz festival, but in casual days too. There are more than 184000 inhabitants in Klaipeda. The area of Klaipėda city is approximately 98 km2 in total, 38% of which is covered by buildings, 1,4% by roads, 14% waters and the rest is committed for farming, and greeneries.
The story of the city began in 1252 when the Memelburg castle was built by the Livonian Order in the area of Klaipeda. Klaipėda castle became the center around which the city started to grow. Klaipėda was under name of Memel then. The former Memel suffered from permanent attacks of German Order and samogitians till the 16th century. That was the reason why Memel did not develop for centuries despite the fact its geographical location was perfect for trade and cooperating with foreign nations. Only after signing the Melnas Peace Treaty between the Grand Duke of Lithuania and the German Order the city started developing as more and more people settled there, trade guilds were established, boat building and sea trading started. Since 18th century Klaipėda already was the main wood export harbor in the region. In 1525 after the German Order collapse Klaipėda felt under the Prussia subordination. A very interesting fact is that when the great general Napoleon defeated the Prussia duchy, Klaipėda was set up as a contemporary Prussia capital. In 1871 Klaipėda as a land of Prussia was overtaken by German Empire. Only in 1923 the Klaipėda city was overtaken by Lithuania when the rising of local inhabitants was faked by Lithuanians. As Klaipėda was under control of Antante union then, after long discussions between Antante countries (Great Britain, Japan, Italy, France) and Lithuania the decision was made to affiliate Klaipėda to Lithuania. As soon as Klaipėda became the sole Lithuanian harbor, it started growing and soon transformed into huge exporting and importing harbor. Since 1939 Klaipėda was under the Nazis control but after the Second World War the City was overtaken by Soviets as and the rest of Lithuania. During the Second World War the old Klaipėda`s inhabitants were forced to leave the city because of constant bombardment. Later, in the period of Soviet occupation Klaipėda was settled by new homesteaders and became a Soviet province with well developed fishery industry. In the end of 8th decade Klaipėda`s educational and artistic life prospered.
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