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Gvardeisk town russia view.jpg
Gvardeysk and the Pregolya River
Coordinates: 54°39′N 21°04′E / 54.65°N 21.067°E / 54.65; 21.067

Gvardeysk (Russian: Loudspeaker Гварде́йск​ ; German: Loudspeaker Tapiau ; Lithuanian language:Tepliava/Tepliuva

Polish language

) is a town and the administrative center of Gvardeysky District of Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, located on the right bank of the Pregolya River 38 kilometers (24 mi) east of Kaliningrad. Population: 13,899 (2010 Census);[1] 14,572 (2002 Census);[2] 11,904 (1989 Census).[3]



Castle Tapiau

Gvardeisk markt

Central square of Gvardeysk

Peter of Dusburg wrote of a settlement known as Tapiow, first documented in 1254, and the neighboring fort Surgurbi built by 1265.[4] The Old Prussian names were derived from tape, teplu, toplu, tapi, meaning "warm", and sur garbis, meaning "around the mountain". During the 13th century Prussian Crusade, the area was conquered by the Teutonic Knights. To protect Samland from the Nadrovians and Scalovians, the crusaders built a wooden fort between the Deime and Pregel rivers from 1283–90. This was replaced by Tapiau Castle, a stone Ordensburg, in 1351.

The settlement gradually became known by the German crusaders as Tapiau. Vytautas, the later Grand Duke of Lithuania, was baptized in Tapiau in 1385. After the transfer of the Grand Master's seat from Marienburg to Königsberg, Tapiau became the site of the Order's archives and library from 1469–1722.

Tapiau became part of the Duchy of Prussia in 1525. Tapiau Castle was often used as a second residences of the Prussian dukes; Albert of Prussia died there in 1568. The town became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1701, receiving town rights from King Frederick William I of Prussia in 1722. It was part of the Prussian Province of East Prussia and was administered in Landkreis Wehlau (1818–1945). Tapiau became part of the German Empire during the unification of Germany in 1871.

Unlike most other towns in northern East Prussia, Tapiau was largely undamaged during World War II. Following the war's end in 1945, it was annexed by the Soviet Union and renamed Gvardeysk ("guard town") in 1946. The German population was murdered or expelled and replaced by Russians.

Tapiau's most famous resident was the painter Lovis Corinth (1858–1925), who donated the painting Golgatha for the altar of the town's church in 1910; the painting disappeared near the end of World War II. The house where Corinth was born still stands in Gvardeysk.

Coat of armsEdit

The coat of arms of Gvardeysk depicts a bare hand holding a sword amongst clouds, beneath a golden sun. When the town was known as Tapiau before 1945, the golden sun also included the Tetragrammaton (Jehova-Sonne).[5]


Sights of Gvardeysk include a church from 1502 and the ruined Castle Tapiau, reconstructed into an orphanage in 1879. It has been used as a prison since 1945.




  1. Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1" (in Russian). Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года (2010 All-Russia Population Census). Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved June 29, 2012. 
  2. Russian Federal State Statistics Service (May 21, 2004). "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" (in Russian) (XLS). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года [All-Russia Population Census of 2002]. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  3. Demoscope Weekly (1989). "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров" (in Russian). Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года [All-Union Population Census of 1989]. Институт демографии Национального исследовательского университета: Высшая школа экономики [Institute of Demography at the National Research University: Higher School of Economics]. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  4. Oesterley, p. 676
  5. Hupp, p. 36


  • Hupp, Otto (1896 and 1898). Königreich Preußen: Wappen der Städte. Flecken und Dörfer. Frankfurt: Verlag von Heinrich Keller. p. 185.  (German)
  • Oesterley, Hermann (1883). Historisch-geographisches Wörterbuch des deutschen Mittelalters. Gotha: Justus Perthus. p. 805.  (German)

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