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Coordinates: 55°02′N 22°02′E / 55.033°N 22.033°E / 55.033; 22.033

Castle of the Teutonic Knights

Neman (Russian: Неман; formerly known as German: Ragnit; Lithuanian: Ragainė; Polish: Ragneta) is a town in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located 11 kilometers (7 mi) east of the town of Sovetsk, on the bank of the Neman River. Population: 12,714 (2002 Census);[1] 13,821 (1989 Census).[2]



Initially Raganite (Ragainė) was a settlement of the Baltic tribe of Scalovians. It was contested by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since its creation in the 13th century, and on April 23, 1289, it was conquered by the Teutonic Knights, who built a Gothic castle there. The castle was called Landeshutte, but the name did not become popular and the name Ragnit after the local river, a tributary of the Memel (outside of Prussia called Neman), continued to be used.

Although the settlement had an important castle guarding the monastic state of the Teutonic Knights from the north, it was living in the shadow of the nearby city of Tilsit (currently Sovetsk). On April 10, 1525, Ragnit became part of the Duchy of Prussia, a fief of Poland. The duchy was inherited by Brandenburg in 1618, becoming part of Brandenburg-Prussia. The Duchy of Prussia was then elevated to the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701. King Frederick William I of Prussia granted city rights in Ragnit on April 6, 1722. It became part of the German Empire upon the Prussian-led unification of Germany in 1871. On November 1, 1892, a railroad line linking the town with Tilsit was opened. It was built to develop the wood industry in the area, but the development did not actually start and the area's economy remained dominated by food production.

During World War II, on January 19, 1945, the town was captured by the Soviet 3rd Belarussian Front. According to the post-war Potsdam Conference, the town was renamed to Neman and became a part of the Kaliningrad Oblast of the Russian SFSR. Most of the local inhabitants who had not evacuated during the war were subsequently expelled to western Germany. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union the town became a part of Russia.

Lithuanian minority

Despite being a part of German-speaking states, for centuries the town remained an important centre of Lithuanian culture. From 1549 to 1563 famous Lithuanian writer and translator (He wrote first book in Lithuanian language "Catechismusa Prasty Szadei" ("The Simple Words of Catechism")) Martynas Mažvydas was priest and Archdiacon of Ragainė. While living in Ragainė he wrote "The Song of St. Ambrosy" ( with a dedication in Lithuanian), translated "The Form of Baptism" from German into Lithuanian, published "The Prussian Agenda" into the prayer "Paraphrasis". One of his major Works was "The Christian Songs" (Gesmes Chriksczoniskas, Gedomas Baszniczosu Per Aduenta ir Kaledas ik Gramniczu) . In the 19th century, after the January Uprising when the Lithuanian language was banned from the office in all of Russian-ruled Lithuania, books in that language were printed in Ragnit and then smuggled to Russia by the knygnešiai.

Notable inhabitants

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Neman is twinned with:

See also


  1. ^ Федеральная служба государственной статистики (Federal State Statistics Service) (2004-05-21). "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек (Population of Russia, its federal districts, federal subjects, districts, urban localities, rural localities—administrative centers, and rural localities with population of over 3,000)" (in Russian). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2002). Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved 2008-07-25.  
  2. ^ "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров. (All Union Population Census of 1989. Present population of union and autonomous republics, autonomous oblasts and okrugs, krais, oblasts, districts, urban settlements, and villages serving as district administrative centers.)" (in Russian). Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года (All-Union Population Census of 1989). Demoscope Weekly (website of the Institute of Demographics of the State University—Higher School of Economics. 1989. Retrieved 2007-12-13.  

External links

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