Town Views and Plans: Klaipėda
Klaipėda (Memel) and Memel area: founding: 1252 by the Livonian Order, which is also date of first reference
1848 "Memel." Red:
Old Location 1 = Dom
St. Marien, 2 = rural
church of St.
Nicholas, 3 = Church
of St. John.
New Location 4 =
Church of St. John, 5
= rural Church of St.
Nicholas (later
St.Jakobi), 6 =
Reformed Church, 7 =
Catholic Church.
Blue: the Old Dange
with Mill trench.
Great article on the history of town views, from Loeb-Larocque
1700 "Memel in Winter"
1808 "Ansicht von Memel von der  West Seite,"
The following three images are NOT of the Kopgalis fortress at Memel (active from 1865
, but of an older fort on the mainland: From the Military Archive section of the Swedish Nation-
al Archives (, which has a singular collection of images of historic fortress plans
1650 "Memel Althof"
1803 Leopold von Schroetter:
"Heideckrug," from his "Karte von
Alt-Preussen," Berlin
1650 "Rus" (Rusne)
1684 "Ragnit," on the Memel River
1838 "Memel mit dem Leuchtturm
and Blick auf das Kurisches Haff"
(Memel with the lighthouse and view of
the Curonian lagoon)
13 x 19.5 cm
1885 Kaeseberg and Oertel R. Assmus: "Memel,"
Lingenberg, East Prussia,17.5 x 27.5 cm wood
1880 Gustav Schoen-
"Ships on the
wood engraving, 24 x
19 cm.
1880 Gustav Schoenleber: "Bei Memel,"
9.2 x 19.0 cm.
1880 "Memel." From
1768 "...der Grentz-Stadt Memel." From
Pre-WWI Memel view and postcard mep
of the Memel region.
1679 Wilhelm Simmler: "The Crossing of the
Curonian Lagoon,
1679." Fresco for the Ruhm-
eshalle Berlin, ca. 1891. Destroyed by
bombing ca. 1944. Photo ca. 1943.
1679 Bernhard Rode:
"Frederick William the
Great Leading His
Infantry on Sleds across
the Curonian Lagoon."
created ca. 1783.
1679 P. Brissar: "The
march of the Brandenburg
army  in 1679 during the
transition across the
Curonian lagoon."
"Scanian War 1675 - 1679,
march of the Brandenburg
people over the Curonian
Lagoon under Frederick
William the great Prince
Elector." Wood engraving,
19th cent., after a tapestry.
1679 "Marsch der
Armee des Kurfürsten
von Brandenburg über
das Eis im Kürisches
Haff, 1679"
Histories of the Scanian War of 1675-79 -- considered the beginning of the decline of
Sweden as a major European power -- rarely mention an event memorialized in Germany:
"Die große Schlittenfahrt"
(The Great Sleigh Ride). The event was  a daring maneuver by
Frederick William, the Great Elector of Brandenburg-Prussia, to drive Swedish forces out
of the Duchy of Prussia, a territory of his which had been invaded by the Swedes during
the winter of 1678. The Swedes planned on retreating back to their home country, having
already accomplished their goal of looting much of the province and avenging an  earlier
defeat at the hands of Frederick William. Frederick commandeered thousands of sleighs
from local peasants to transport his army across the 625 sq. mile frozen Curonian Lagoon
(Ger.: Kurisches Haff, Lith.: Kuršių marios, Pol.: Zalew Kuroński) so as to cut off the Swedish
retreat. Frederick's forces managed to ride all the way to Memel
(Klaipėda), completely
cutting off the Swedes from the coast. Although the Brandenburg forces never actually
managed to force the Swedes to commit to the field in an open battle as Frederick had
wanted, many Swedish troops perished in the harsh winter from hypothermia and
starvation, and the Swedish army was effectively destroyed. This victory cemented
Frederick William's reputation as a great military strategist.  The event was captured by
a number of artists -- here are a few of those images:
Depcting the July 5, 1757 siege of
Memel by Russian troops and ships:
"Siege de Memel: par les Russes aux
ordres général de Fermer le 19
Juin au 5 Juillet 1757 / dessiné
par Therbu lieutenant ingenieur;
Gravé par Cöntgen graveur de la
cour et de  l’Univerdité de Mayence
[Mainz]." Published 1790. The
siege was during the global Seven
Years War, 1756-63, where, in this
part of the conflict, Russia was
attacking East Prussia.
From  The
Wroblewski  Library of the Lithuanian
Academy of Sciences:
1678 depiction of Memel from a postcard
mailed in 1906. The detail image on the
right was attributed by the source as
From an eBay auction.