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Where the old mingles with the new, Klaipeda is a former Prussian capital with a distinctly German flavor reflected in its architecture and stone cobbled Old Town. A port town with the only ice-free port (Port of Klaipeda) in the whole of Lithuania that is large enough to take Titanic-sized cruise ships, it is the hub for cargo and passenger ferries between Scandinavia, Lithuania and beyond. Originally the city was founded by Baltic tribes in 1252 and named "Memel". Part of Prussia at this time, it was invaded by Russia and Sweden. It has been independent since 1990 with a buoyant tourist trade since that date.
Most tourists rush past this city in their flurry of excitement to board a ferry to Curonian Spit, but it is worth taking the time to explore, even for a day. The Dane River cuts the city in two; the modern "New Town" area sits on the north, whilst the gentrified "Old Town" is on the south of the river. There is also a third district that you need to get to via a ferry known as Smiltyne, which is located across the Curonian Lagoon on the northern tip of the Curonian Spit. Close to Klaipeda you will find the seaside resort towns of Nida, Curonian Spit and Palanga. The majority of the hotels, the train and bus stations are in the New Town, whilst the Old Town is dressed with a plethora of bars, shops, restaurants and a smattering of hotels.
The Curonian Spit formed about 5,000 years ago with dunes reaching for the sky at 60 mt and 98 km long splitting the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea coastline, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can go fossicking in the Sea Museum here, where you can play with sea lions, penguins and Baltic Sea seals. The Old Town sitting on the Dane River banks is fairytale land where you can almost touch the past. Small half-timber houses flank the cobbled streets and the "Teatro Aikste" (Theater Square) is worth hanging in for a time to people watch and sip espresso. Numerous exhibits can be found at the Clock Museum if you want to watch the ticking of a clock, whilst the Lithuania Minor History Museum has huge collections on display of Ethnographic, Archeological, Numismatic and Historical artifacts.
Grab a bicycle and pedal your way to one of the beaches when you have had enough of architecture. Maybe check out the eclectic sculptures and monuments littered around the city that come in all shapes and sizes such as a mouse, a dragon, a black ghost and foot prints.
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