Tourism & Authenticity – Kaliningrad, Russia

Authenticity is one of the important concepts in tourism studies. It is considered the tourists while traveling abroad look for authentic, genuine sites to explore local culture and history, but what they often come across is staged authenticity, which is a covert imagining by local residents of their cultural activities in order to satisfy tourists. What it leads to is commoditization of culture and the sites and cultural rituals are often adapted to satisfy tourists. In some cases this leads to the loss of the original purpose. Here we are in Kaliningrad in Russia, which is a former city of Koenigsberg in Germany. So you can see some buildings behind. When do you think these buildings were built? Was it in 1380, 1544, 1870 or maybe in 2006? This is called a Fishing Village and this fishing village was built in 2006 and the original purpose for it was to build it as a tourist attraction, and it has little to do with fishing. There is a hotel here and some restaurants, cafes some many shops and a lookout point at the lighthouse. So it was built in the German historic style to stimulate tourism development. On the other side you can see another German looking building. When do you think this was built? In 1380, 1544, 1870 or 2006. This is the Cathedral of of Koenigsberg or Koenigsberger Dom. It was built between 1333 and 1380. So you can see how close to each other the new modern building that looks like an authentic genuine German building and the original historic monument of cathedral are. And together this cluster of tourist attractions aims to stimulate tourism development and attract more visitors to the region. In case of Kaliningrad or former Koenigsberg, it seems to make sense to recreate some of the old lost buildings because the city was heavily bombed in the Second World War and lost most of its historical heritage.

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