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Yantarny may also refer to Yantarni Volcano.
Yantarny within Kaliningrad Oblast

Yantarny (Russian: About this sound Янта́рный​ ; German: About this sound Palmnicken ; Lithuanian: Palvininkai; Polish: Palmniki)) is an urban-type settlement in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. It lies about 40 km from Kaliningrad on the Sambian Peninsula. Neighboring towns are Donskoye to the north and Primorsk to the south. It had a population of 5,455 in 2002 according to the Russian Census and an estimated population of 5,400 in 2004.





For centuries a provincial estate, Yantarny was founded in 1234 atop an older Old Prussian settlement by the crusading Teutonic Knights, who named the new settlement Palmnicken. After the secularization of the Order's Prussian lands in 1525, Palmnicken became part of the Duchy of Prussia. In the Thirty Years' War Palmnicken was occupied by Sweden for six years.

Palmnicken became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701 and the Prussian Province of East Prussia in 1773. Imperial Russian troops occupied the town from between 1758 and 1762 during the Seven Years' War. Resulting from the Prussian administrative reform of 1818, Palmnicken became part of Landkreis Fischhausen in East Prussia. Industrial development of the local amber trade started in 1827. The town became part of the German Empire in 1871 during the Prussian-led unification of Germany.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Palmnicken developed into a spa resort. In 1939 the town had 3,079 inhabitants as part of Nazi Germany. Palmnicken was conquered by the Soviet Red Army at the beginning of April 1945 during World War II.

Massacre of Palmnicken

Because of the advance of Soviet troops in January 1945, the East Prussian subcamp of the Stutthof concentration camp was disbanded and its inmates were sent through Königsberg to Palmnicken. Only 3,000 of the original 13,000 inmates survived the forced march. Originally, the surviving detainees were to be walled up within a tunnel of an amber mine, but this plan collapsed upon the objections of the mine's manager. Schutzstaffel members then brought the prisoners to the beach of Palmnicken during the night of January 31 and under rifle fire forced them to march into the Baltic Sea. Only 15 inmates survived the war crime.

Former amber mine (foreground), now a lake near the Baltic Sea (background)


The northern third of East Prussia, including Palmnicken, became part of the Soviet Union in 1945 upon the conclusion of World War II. The German population evacuated the town or was subsequently expelled to western Germany. The town was predominantly repopulated with Russians, as well as Belarusians, Ukrainians, and Tatars. Palmnicken was renamed Yantarny, after yantar, the Russian word for amber.

Amber industry

Former amber mine "Anna"

Amber was collected along the shores of the Sambian coast during the age of the Teutonic Knights. They succeeded in establishing a monopoly over the amber trade, which carried over to the Prussian state of the House of Hohenzollern. In the 16th century amber collected along the coastline was brought to Palmnicken where it was sorted and then sent to Königsberg for further processing. After 1811 the amber production was leased and in 1827 the firm Stantien & Becker established the only open pit amber mine in the world. Initially the mine produced 50 tons of amber annually, but by 1937 it produced 650 tons annually and employed 700 workers. As part of the Soviet Union, Yantarny produced approximately 600 tons of amber annually through the company Russky Yantar ("Russian Amber"). The refinement of amber was discontinued in 2002 by a directive of the Russian Regulatory Authority for Technology and Environmental Protection.

External links

Coordinates: 54°52′22″N 19°56′26″E / 54.87278°N 19.94056°E / 54.87278; 19.94056


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