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flag coat of arms
coat of arms
Federal district Northwest Russia
Oblast Kaliningrad
Rajon Chernyakhovsk
head Yuri Alexejewitsch Kowylkin
Founded 1336
Earlier names Insterburg (until 1946)
City since October 10, 1583
surface 58  km²
population 40,449 inhabitants
(as of Oct. 14, 2010)
Population density 697 inhabitants / km²
Height of the center 30  m
Time zone UTC + 2
Telephone code (+7) 40141
Post Code 238150-238169
License Plate 39, 91
OKATO 27 239 501
Geographical location
Coordinates 54 ° 38 '  N , 21 ° 49'  E Coordinates: 54 ° 38 '0 "  N , 21 ° 49' 0"  E
Chernyakhovsk (European Russia)
Red pog.svg
Location in the western part of Russia
Chernyakhovsk (Kaliningrad Oblast)
Red pog.svg
Location in Kaliningrad Oblast
List of cities in Russia

The city of Tschernjachowsk ( Russian Черняховск ; until 1946 Инстербург ; German Insterburg , Lithuanian Įsrutis ) is the seat of the Chernyakhovsk district in the Chernyachovsk district in the Russian Kaliningrad Oblast with 40,449 inhabitants (as of October 14, 2010).

Geographical location

Chernyakhovsk is located in the center of Kaliningrad Oblast about 90 kilometers east of the city of Kaliningrad (Koenigsberg) on ​​the Angerapp river (Prussian angurys ape : eel river, Russian Angrapa ), which is located near the city with the river Inster (Russian Instrutsch ) to Pregel (Russian Pregolja ), the largest river in the former East Prussia .


Insterburg east of Königsberg and south of Tilsit on a map of part of East Prussia from 1881.

From the origin to 1800

The city owes its German name Insterburg to the river Inster (oldest name Instrut / Instrud: several linguistic interpretations, the most likely being the mouth / influence; cf.Lithuanian : istras, intaka)

The Teutonic Order under its Grand Master Dietrich von Altenburg built around 1336 in place of the pagan castle Unsatrapis (Prussian unzei : an, auf, über / trapt, trapuns : to step; Lithuanian trapte: raft, part of a wooden raft; probably a wooden bridge) a fortress called Instierburg, which became the starting point of the campaigns against Lithuania . It was the Lithuanians who first destroyed Insterburg Castle in 1376. The rebuilt castle was again pillaged in 1457, this time by Poland . Even afterwards, the order rebuilt the castle, which it initially used as the seat of the commander and from 1347 as the official seat of a caretaker.

The Prussian Duke Albrecht secularized the Ordensburg in the course of the implementation of the Reformation in 1525 and made it a secular main office. He had Lithuanians settle the surrounding area, which was still dominated by wilderness . In 1541 he granted market rights to the resulting place at the foot of the castle. On October 10, 1583, Margrave Georg Friedrich elevated the town of Inster to a town. A few years later, on June 9, 1590, a fire destroyed 140 of the 149 existing houses. In the 17th century, the city suffered from constant movements of armed troops from Swedes, Russians and Tatars. From 1643 to 1648 the Swedish Queen Maria Eleonore, the widow of King Gustav Adolf , lived in the Insterburg. In 1689, Ännchen von Tharau died as a pastor widow Beilstein in Insterburg.

In 1709, the plague took a large part of the population. In order to revive the city, Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm I arranged for recruited Salzburg , West German and Swiss immigrants to settle there. In 1723 the Prussian court was housed in the castle . Insterburg, the suburb and the freedom of the castle were administratively combined to form the city. From 1721 to 1748, Duke Leopold von Dessau , the “Old Dessauer”, bought large stretches of land west of Insterburg in order to set up model estates there. In 1732 Trakehnen became the main stud and Insterburg became a state stud . During the Seven Years' War Insterburg was occupied by the Russians from 1758 to 1762.

From 1800 to 1945

Hindenburgstrasse, around 1890
Buildings in downtown Chernyakhovsk

In 1809 Insterburg was one of the first Prussian cities to have a city council. In 1812 Napoleon made quarters in the city during his Russian campaign (memorial plaque on the hostel wall).

After Prussia reorganized its territorial administration in 1815, Insterburg became the administrative seat of the district of the same name and was assigned to the Gumbinnen administrative district . A road built between 1828 and 1835, later known as Reichsstrasse 1 , ran through Insterburg. From 1860 Insterburg became a railway junction on the routes ( Berlin ) - Königsberg - Kaunas and Tilsit - Thorn as well as the Insterburger Kleinbahnen . Due to the good transport connections, many industrial companies settled there, such as several machine factories, iron foundries and a flax spinning mill. In 1885, 20,914 people lived in the city.

Insterburg had a higher educational institution, the beginnings of which went back to the second half of the 16th century. In 1860 the school was granted high school status. A secondary school was attached to the grammar school in the 19th century. On August 31, 1866, the school was attended by a total of 317 students; 172 students, 79 of whom were local and 93 non-residents, attended the grammar school, and 145, of which 62 were local and 83 were non-residents, attended the classes at the Realschule. There was also an agricultural school and the provincial midwifery training institute with a state women's clinic .

At the time of the German Empire , Insterburg was above all an important garrison town for the Prussian army . A large barracks district was built in the east of the city. In Insterburg in 1914 the command of the 2nd division with two brigade commands and several units of infantry, cavalry and field artillery (including two battalions of the 45th Infantry Regiment), a total of over 2000 soldiers. In 1902, the city of Insterburg left the Insterburg district and formed its own urban district.

After the beginning of the First World War , the city was occupied by the Russian army from August 24 to September 11 as a result of the Battle of Gumbinnen and then became the headquarters of Paul von Hindenburg .

During the Weimar Republic , Insterburg was the seat of the district office , a district court , a regional court and a labor court , a finance and customs office , a Reichsbank branch and a chamber of industry and commerce . The economy had diversified further with the establishment of brickworks and companies producing sugar confectionery, vinegar and mustard , chemicals and leather goods . In 1926 the port of Insterburg was inaugurated after the Pregelseitenkanal was completed. After the city was able to keep its garrison at the time of the Reichswehr , a large airfield and barracks for the Wehrmacht were built from 1935 to 1937 . In 1939 the restoration of the Insterburg began. Before the outbreak of World War II , the population had grown to 49,000.

On July 27, 1944, Insterburg was seriously damaged by a Soviet bombing raid. 120 dead were to be mourned, although the core of the old town with particularly easily combustible houses had already been cleared. From then on, the city was gradually evacuated , especially after the temporary incursion of the Red Army near Goldap in October 1944 ("October disaster"). At the beginning of January 1945 there were still 8,000 to 10,000 inhabitants of Insterburg in the city, mainly those with functions in factories and institutions that had not yet been evacuated. The major Soviet offensive in East Prussia began on January 13, 1945 . Another 30 civilians were killed in a heavy air strike on January 20. From then on, the largely evacuated city was under constant fire from low-level planes and artillery. The last train left Insterburg on January 22nd at 12:30 a.m. That day the Red Army occupied the burning city.

1945 until today

Ruins of the Ordensburg, 2013
Mass grave that has not yet been closed on the
German military cemetery in Insterburg , newly created by the VDK , 1999

Soviet troops captured the city on January 22, 1945. A large internment camp of the NKVD was set up in the city . After the annexation of the northern part of East Prussia by the Soviet Union , the German population that had not been evacuated or who had fled was expelled and replaced by residents from all Soviet republics. The city was renamed Chernyakhovsk after the Soviet general Ivan Chernyakhovsky . The general was in command of the 3rd Byelorussian Front of the Red Army , which conquered large parts of East Prussia, and was killed in Mehlsack on February 18, 1945 .

In Georgenburg near Insterburg, there was a large transit camp for German prisoners of war from 1946 to 1949, through which 250,000 prisoners passed, 16,000 of whom died there.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the accession of neighboring countries to the EU, Chernyakhovsk has been in a Russian exclave and has to contend with major economic problems and a high unemployment rate. In 2002 the city had over 44,300 inhabitants again, with a further downward trend.

In 1996 the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge opened a restored cemetery from the First World War for 556 German and 165 Russian dead in Chernyakhovsk . The facility was restored by, among others, German and Russian participants from youth camps under the guidance of Wolfgang Hegemeister . From then on, it became a collective cemetery for over 8,700 German soldiers who died in eastern East Prussia in 1945 as the Insterburg German military cemetery. The reburial here continues.

Local initiatives in cooperation with the Insterburger Landsmannschaft have restored some buildings (arched bridge) and monuments (lancers) in recent years (since the mid-1990s). An equestrian statue has been commemorating the Russian field marshal of Scottish-Baltic origin Michael Barclay de Tolly , who died in 1818 not far from the city.

The private local Russian Samok Insterburg Foundation, established in 1997, is responsible for the Ordensburg .

Chernyakhovskoye gorodskoye posselenije 2008–2015

The urban municipality of Chernyakhovskoye gorodskoje posselenije (ru. Черняховское городское поселение) was established in 2008. In addition to the city of Chernyakhovsk, five other settlements belonged to the community. The total area was 102 km², on which 41,074 inhabitants (status: 2010) lived. At the end of 2015 the community was dissolved and its places incorporated into the Chernyakhovsk district.

Place name German name
Krasnovka (Красновка) Birch field
Petrozavodskoye (Петрозаводское) OV Eichwald
Sagorodnoye (Загородное) Neuendorf
Schosseinoje (Шоссейное) Szameitkehmen / Walkenau
Timofejewka (Тимофеевка) Tammowischken / Tammau

Population numbers

year Residents Remarks
1782 4,528 without the garrison consisting of a regiment of dragoons
1790 4,972 without the military
1802 5,253 without the military
1810 4,726 without the military
1816 4,939 without the military
1821 6,876 without the military
1831 7,338 without the military
1837 8,386 without the military
1875 16.303
1880 18,745
1885 22,227
1890 31,624 including 437 Catholics and 348 Jews
1900 27,787 including 788 Catholics and 350 Jews
1910 31,624 thereof 29,672 Evangelicals and 1,040 Catholics
1925 39,311 thereof 36,792 Evangelicals, 1,174 Catholics, 86 other Christians and 338 Jews
1933 41,230 thereof 39,458 Evangelicals, 1,078 Catholics, five other Christians and 273 Jews
1939 43,620 thereof 40,677 Evangelicals, 1,388 Catholics, 563 other Christians and 87 Jews
1959 29,063
1970 33,446
1979 35,576
1989 39,622
2002 44,323
2010 40,449

Note: census data from 1959



Parish Insterburg

The Reformation soon took hold in Insterburg. Lutheran clergymen were already active here from 1525 . In 1537 a church was built here, which followed a previous building. In the 1930s, 42,000 parishioners in the city and in the parish in the vicinity belonged to the evangelical parish , which until 1945 belonged to the parish of Insterburg in the church province of East Prussia of the Church of the Old Prussian Union . From the end of the 19th century until the end of the Second World War there were four pastors, supported by a special clergyman for the prison . Church life came to a standstill due to flight and displacement .

Insterburg Church District

Until 1945 Insterburg was the administrative seat of the church district (also: inspection) Insterburg, the area of ​​which included the political district of Insterburg . He belonged to the church province of East Prussia of the Church of the Old Prussian Union with twelve parishes:

German name Russian name German name Russian name
Aulowönen ,
1938–1946: Aulenbach
Kalinowka Jodlauken ,
1938–1946: Schwalbental
Berschkallen ,
1938–1946: Birches
Gremjachye Norkitten Meshdurechye
Didlacken ,
1938–1946: Dittlacken
Telmanovo Obehlischken ,
1938–1946: Schulzenhof
Georgenburg Mayovka Puschdorf Pushkarovo
Grünheide Kalushskoye Pelleningken ,
1938–1946: Strigengrund
Insterburg Chernyakhovsk Saalau Kamenskoye

Church region of Chernyakhovsk

In the 1990s, a new Evangelical Lutheran congregation with its own parish office was established in Chernyakhovsk, which is responsible for the Chernyakhovsk church region (Russian: Tserkovsky region Chernyakhovsk) with more than 20 local congregations, including those in the city of Chernyakhovsk itself and in Meschduretschje (Norkitten) , Oljochowo (greaves) , Schtschegly (Saugwethen , 1938–1946 Saugehnen) and Wolodarowka (Jodlauken , 1938–1946 Schwalbental) . It is one of four church regions of the Kaliningrad provost of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of European Russia . In the absence of a church of its own, the congregation is planning to build a new building or to expand an existing building for a congregation center whose name will be that of the reformer Martin Luther .

Church building

Luther Church
The Luther Church in Insterburg on the Alter Markt before 1945

Instead of an older church mentioned in 1537, the Luther Church was built between 1610 and 1612 . It was a choirless, plastered brick building with a western tower in front and a rich interior. The church was damaged in 1945 and blown up in 1972. The ruins were then removed. Only a few cellar vaults and an arcade wall on the outside staircase to Angerapp (Angrapa) still tell of the former location of the church.

Melanchthon Church

Between 1909 and 1911, the second church of the Protestant community in Insterburg , built in neo-Gothic style, was built with the name of Philipp Melanchthon , a close colleague of Luther. It had an interior space of 800 seats and stood out because of the 50 meter high, slender church tower. The church was destroyed in the Second World War, and its ruins were then converted into a factory hall for the production of nails and wire netting.

reformed Church

The former Chernyakhovsk Reformed Church

As early as 1701, Insterburg had its own Reformed community, initially formed by Scots, later by Nassauers and Swiss. According to the plans of the Königsberg architect Friedrich Adler , a neo-Romanesque building was built between 1886 and 1890, with a 60 meter high west tower and two smaller towers in the east. After 1945, the church was initially used as a warehouse, also as a club and basketball hall. After a fire, the building began to deteriorate. It was then given to the Russian Orthodox Church , which after extensive renovation now uses it as their place of worship. The reformed parish of Insterburg, to which 1,700 parishioners in the city and district of Insterburg belonged before 1945, no longer exists or cooperates with the current Evangelical Lutheran parish in Chernyakhovsk.


St. Bruno Church
The Catholic Church of St. Bruno in Chernyakhovsk

Insterburg's Catholic Church was consecrated in 1912. It is a slim, neo-Gothic hall church, which was built according to the plans of the architect Friedrich Heitmann . Since 1994, the church dedicated to St. Bruno has been used again by the local Catholics after it had served as an ammunition depot and military magazine after 1945 and there were occasional plans to convert it into a concert hall. The church is in the former Hindenburgstrasse (now Leninstrasse / ул. Ленина).


Archangel Michael Church

In the course of perestroika, the Russian Orthodox Church in Chernyakhovsk managed to gain a foothold and activate church life. With the help of government agencies, the former Reformed Church was renovated and given a new copper roof in 1989. Inside the church was given an iconostasis . On May 2, 1992 the Archbishop and Metropolitan Kyrill consecrated the church and dedicated it to the Archangel Michael . Chernyakhovsk has belonged to the newly formed diocese of Kaliningrad and Baltijsk of the Russian Orthodox Church since 2009 .


Historical coat of arms

Historical city arms

Blazon : "In silver on green ground a striding, black bear, above it the golden initials" GF "- Georg Friedrich."

On October 10, 1583, Duke Georg Friedrich of Prussia elevated the town around the castle on the Inster to the status of a town and gave it as a seal “a white scabbard, inside and a green mountain, on which a black letter stands on all vyeren and seytten inside of the shield the two letters G and F. “Above the shield appears a growing hunter with his hunting horn in a more rich representation.

Twin cities

There are partnerships with the following cities:


  • Ordensburg - The castle, partly in ruins and partly in a dilapidated state, was built in the 14th century and was, among other things, the seat of the regional court until 1945. After considerable destruction in the Second World War, the preserved parts of the building are used for cultural purposes.
  • Castle pond
  • Russian Orthodox Archangel Michael Church from 1890 (former Reformed Church)
  • Catholic parish church of St. Bruno from 1912
  • Stud in Majowka (formerly Georgenburg )
  • Ruins of the Bismarck Tower near Georgenburgkehlen, northwest of Insterburg, built in 1913
  • In the Kamswyker Allee, the so-called Colorful Row was built between 1921 and 1924 by the architect Hans Scharoun, who has been based in Insterburg since 1918 . The two multi-family houses including two rows of terraced houses are built in the shape of an anger and followed the color scheme of the ink box housing estate in Berlin-Falkenberg by architects Bruno Taut and Franz Hoffmann . The listed estate is in urgent need of renovation in 2013. The Russian architect Dimitri Suchin is also trying to arouse interest in this architectural monument in the city. With the help of Russian and German construction experts and architects, renovation is being pushed ahead. Other buildings by Scharoun in Insterburg were destroyed by acts of war in 1945.



After Kaliningrad (Koenigsberg) is both a good road link from Talpaki (Taplacken) to four lanes, and a railway line . A trunk road leads south to the border crossing to Poland, which is 57 kilometers away at Schelesnodoroschny (Gerdauen) .

city ​​traffic

Trolleybuses ran in Insterburg .


Tschernjachowsk has been located on the important Kaliningrad – Nesterow (Königsberg – Stallupönen / Ebenrode) railway since 1860 , which was built by the Prussian Eastern Railway and now connects the Kaliningrad exclave to Moscow . Three other railway lines that connected Chernyakhovsk with the near and far surrounding area are no longer in operation:


Sons and daughters of the place

Hans Horst Meyer, bust, University of Vienna

Sorted by year of birth

To 1900

From 1901

The fictional German constitutional lawyer Friedrich Gottlob Nagelmann , who is said to have lived from 1889 to 1994 and who is said to have lived from 1889 to 1994, is attributed to the birthplace of Insterburg.

In contact with the city

  • In 1689, the pastor's widow Anna Beilstein died in Insterburg, and she was included in German songs as Ännchen von Tharau .
  • George Adam Neppert (around 1762 until after 1847) worked here as an organ builder.
  • The Russian general Michael Barclay de Tolly , who fought in the liberation wars, died in 1818 not far from the city.
  • In 1896 the composer Max Gulbins became cantor in Insterburg
  • During the First World War, the architect Hans Scharoun , u. a. known through the Berlin Philharmonic and the Schminke House , in Paul Kruchen's Insterburger building consulting office . After the First World War, Scharoun opened his first own architecture office in Insterburg and realized a number of projects in the city.
  • The poet Frieda Jung died in Insterburg in 1929 and was buried here.
  • In 1941 the East Prussian Sinto, concentration camp survivor and author Reinhard Florian was imprisoned in Insterburg prison.

See also


  • AE Henning: Topographical-historical description of the city of Insterburg . Königsberg 1794 ( Online, Google )
  • Johann Friedrich Goldbeck : Complete topography of the Kingdom of Prussia . Part I: Topography of East Prussia . Marienwerder 1785, p. 29 ( Online, Google ).
  • J S. Publication and JG Gruber (Hrsg.): General Encyklopädie der Wissenschaft und Künste in alphabetical order . Second Section: H - N , Nineteenth Part: Island - Inuus . Leipzig 1841, pp. 99-100.

Web links

Commons : Chernyakhovsk  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Itogi Vserossijskoj perepisi naselenija 2010 goda. Kaliningradskaya oblastʹ. (Results of the 2010 all-Russian census. Kaliningrad Oblast.) Volume 1 , Table 4 (Download from the website of the Kaliningrad Oblast Territorial Organ of the Federal Service for State Statistics of the Russian Federation)
  2. ^ Ludwig Adolf Wiese : The higher school system in Prussia. Historical-statistical representation. Berlin 1864, pp. 62-63
  3. ^ Program of the Royal High School with Real Classes in Insterburg . Insterburg 1866, p. 22.
  4. ^ Meyers Orts- und Verkehrslexikon des Deutschen Reichs, Leipzig and Vienna, 1912, Volume AK, p. 878: 2660 military persons [census 1910]. By 1914 probably over 3000, because the Jägerregiment z. P. No. 9 was not set up until 1913.
  5. a b Article “Insterburg” in: Der Große Brockhaus, 15th edition .
  6. By the Закон Калининградской области от 30 июня 2008 г. № 262 «Об организации местного самоуправления на территории муниципального образования" Черняховский городской округ "» (Law of the Kaliningrad Oblast of 30 June 2008, Nr. 262: On the organization of local self-government in the field of municipal formation "city circle Tschernjachowsk")
  7. ^ Johann Friedrich Goldbeck : Complete topography of the Kingdom of Prussia . Part I: Topography of East Prussia . Marienwerder 1785, p. 29 .
  8. ^ AE Henning: Topographical-historical description of the city of Insterburg . Königsberg 1794, p. 44.
  9. a b c d e f J. S. Publication and JG Gruber (Hrsg.): General encyclopedia of science and arts in alphabetical order . Second Section: H - N , Nineteenth Part: Island - Inuus . Leipzig 1841, pp. 99-100.
  10. a b c d e f g h Michael Rademacher: German administrative history from the unification of the empire in 1871 to the reunification in 1990. East Prussia - Insterburg district. (Online material for the dissertation, Osnabrück 2006).
  11. ^ Meyers Konversations-Lexikon . 6th edition, Volume 9, Leipzig and Vienna 1908, p. 873.
  12. Walther Hubatsch : History of the Protestant Church in East Prussia. Volume III: Documents. Göttingen 1968, p. 481
  13. Walther Hubatsch, History of the Evangelical Church of East Prussia , Volume III: (as above), pages 480 to 482
  14. The Chernyakhovsk church region of the Evangelical Lutheran provost of Kaliningrad ( Memento of October 29, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  15. ^ Evangelical Lutheran Provosty of Kaliningrad ( Memento of August 29, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  16. Walther Hubatsch: History of the Protestant Church in East Prussia. Volume II: Pictures of East Prussian Churches. Göttingen 1968, p. 102
  17. Information at
  18. Walther Hubatsch, History of the Evangelical Church in East Prussia , Volume III (as above), page 102
  19. a b c information at (as above)
  20. Walther Hubatsch, History of the Evangelical Church of East Prussia , Volume II (as above), page 103 and Volume III (as above), page 508
  21. Prof. Dr. Erich Keyser : German city book - manual of urban history Volume I Northeast Germany page 65/66. W. Kohlhammer Verlag Stuttgart 1939.
  22. ^ Prof. Otto Hupp : German coat of arms . Kaffee-Handels-Aktiengesellschaft , Bremen 1925.
  23. Bismarckturm Insterburg at , accessed on March 18, 2013
  24. Nils Aschenbeck: Let colors speak. Gray inheritance: In Chernyakhovsk, once Insterburg, buildings by Hans Scharoun are falling into disrepair . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of July 6, 2013, p. 34.