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Quiz about White Nights A Tour of the Baltic Sea
Quiz about White Nights A Tour of the Baltic Sea

White Nights: A Tour of the Baltic Sea Quiz


Rich in history and culture, the cities around the Baltic Sea offer a lot to the discerning traveller. This virtual tour will allow you to explore a few of them.

A photo quiz by LadyNym. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
LadyNym
Time
4 mins
Type
Photo Quiz
Quiz #
403,936
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
309
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 176 (9/10), Guest 38 (8/10), Guest 92 (9/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. We will start our tour of Baltic cities from the magnificent metropolis of St. Petersburg. On which river does the former capital of Russia lie? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Once known as Königsberg, Kaliningrad is the administrative centre of Kaliningrad Oblast, one of the 85 federal subjects of Russia. What is this region's peculiarity? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Which influential 20th-century personality is associated with the Polish port city of Gdańsk? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. The Hanseatic city of Rostock is the largest city in which German federal state - formerly a part of East Germany - whose name might sound familiar to dog lovers? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. The medieval Swedish city of Visby, once a very important trade centre in the Baltic region, is located on which of these islands, with a name reminiscent of an ancient Germanic people? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Sweden's capital of Stockholm is one of the most populous cities in the Baltic region. Which of these facts about Stockholm is true? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. The oldest city and former capital of Finland, Turku is officially bilingual. What other language besides Finnish is spoken by about 5% of its population? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. Which of these "T" cities - one of the major urban centres in the Baltic region - has become an information technology hub in the past 20 years? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Riga, Latvia's capital, is another Baltic city with an interesting history. What of the following facts about Riga is NOT true? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Klaipėda is Lithuania's most important port. North of it lies the seaside resort of Palanga, where a museum can be visited - dedicated to which gemstone of organic origin? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. We will start our tour of Baltic cities from the magnificent metropolis of St. Petersburg. On which river does the former capital of Russia lie?

Answer: Neva

Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg lies at the mouth of the Neva River, which flows from Lake Ladoga to the Gulf of Finland; though short (74 km/46 mi), the river is the fourth-largest in Europe (after the "big three" - Volga, Danube and Rhine) by average discharge. The city was originally founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, who - in his efforts to modernize the country - wanted to give Russia a seaport open to trade with the rest of Europe. The first brick and stone building of the city was the Peter and Paul Fortress, built on a small island in the Neva delta; the rulers that succeeded Peter expanded the city, building famous landmarks such as the Winter Palace (shown in the photo). St. Petersburg was the capital of the Russian Empire from 1713 to 1918; renamed Leningrad after the Russian Revolution, it regained its original name in 1991. St. Petersburg is now the largest city on the Baltic Sea, and a major cultural centre and tourist destination.

Though the phenomenon of the "white nights" (twilight that lasts all night) during the months of June and July is not unique to St. Petersburg, it has become one of the city's symbols, especially because of the all-night arts festival that takes place in the last ten days of June.

The three rivers listed as incorrect answers are all found in Europe: the Neman in Belarus and Lithuania, the Neretva in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the Neisse in Germany and Poland.
2. Once known as Königsberg, Kaliningrad is the administrative centre of Kaliningrad Oblast, one of the 85 federal subjects of Russia. What is this region's peculiarity?

Answer: it is an exclave

The westernmost of Russia's federal subjects, Kaliningrad Oblast is bordered by Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic Sea; the three Baltic republics (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) all lie between this region and Russia. Technically speaking, Kaliningrad Oblast is a semi-exclave, because it possesses an unsurrounded sea border that can be accessed from other parts of Russia (St Petersburg in this particular case).

The city of Kaliningrad started out as an Old Prussian settlement named Twangste ("Oak Forest"), which in 1255 was destroyed by the Teutonic Knights and replaced with a fortress named Königsberg ("King's Mountain"), in honour of Bohemian king Ottokar II. In 1525, the city became the capital of the Duchy of Prussia, later to became the Kingdom of Prussia; it was part of the German Empire until the end of WWII, when it was annexed by the Soviet Union and renamed Kaliningrad ("Kalinin's City"), after Soviet politician Mikhail Kalinin.

Located at the mouth of the Pregolya River where it empties into the Vistula Lagoon, Kaliningrad is now a major transport hub, and the home of the Russian Baltic Fleet. The city was heavily bombed during WWII, but some medieval monuments have survived, and others have been rebuilt. Kaliningrad's most famous native sons are philosopher Immanuel Kant and writer E.T.A. Hoffmann (the author of the novella on which the ballet "The Nutcracker" is based): the city's university is named after Kant, and a museum is dedicated to Hoffmann.

Like the vast majority of the Baltic region, the territory of Kaliningrad Oblast is rather low-lying; its port, unlike that of St. Petersburg, is ice-free all year round. Most of the German population fled or was expelled from the city at the end of WWII, and at present the overwhelming majority of its population is of Russian ethnicity.
3. Which influential 20th-century personality is associated with the Polish port city of Gdańsk?

Answer: Lech Wałęsa

Known in English-speaking countries by its German name of Danzig, Gdańsk lies on the southern side of the eponymous bay, at the mouth of the Motława River (originally named Gdania, the root of the city's name). Poland's largest port, Gdańsk forms a conurbation (known as the Tricity) with the nearby cities of Gdynia and Sopol. Based on archaeological evidence, the city is believed to have been founded towards the end of the 10th century, and for the next three centuries it remained little more than a small trading town. Gdańsk, however, came into its own after it was taken over by the Teutonic Knights in 1308. Though the capture of the city was a traumatic event, causing widespread death and destruction, in the following years Gdańsk began to thrive, becoming an important export centre and joining the Hanseatic League in 1358. In the 15th century the city became part of the Kingdom of Poland, and its size and importance grew. In 1793, it was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia, and later became part of the German Empire.

Like many other Baltic cities, Gdańsk suffered heavily during WWII; under Soviet rule, many of the buildings that showed German influences were demolished and rebuilt in different styles. In 1980, the Solidarity trade union movement was founded at the Lenin Shipyard (now Gdańsk Shipyard); its leader, Lech Wałęsa, who had worked for years at the shipyard as an electrician, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1983, and went on to become President of Poland in 1990.

The three incorrect answers are all people who were born in Poland, though they - unlike Wałęsa - found fame outside their native country: Karol Wojtyla as Pope (and Saint) John Paul II, Marie Curie as the winner of two Nobel Prizes, and Helena Rubinstein as the founder of the eponymous cosmetics company.

The odd-looking building in the photo is Europe's largest medieval port crane (Brama Żuraw in Polish, or Krantor in German).
4. The Hanseatic city of Rostock is the largest city in which German federal state - formerly a part of East Germany - whose name might sound familiar to dog lovers?

Answer: Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

Located on the estuary of the Warnow River into the Bay of Mecklenburg, Rostock is the third-largest city on the German Baltic coast after Kiel and Lübeck. The federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (Vorpommern in German) was part of East Germany until its dissolution in 1990. Rostock was founded in the 11th century by a Slavic tribe (its name, meaning "fork of a river", is of Slavic origin), and later settled by German traders. In 1251, it joined the Hanseatic League, and grew into a thriving seaport town, with important shipyards. Access to the sea was guaranteed when the fishing village of Warnemünde (whose lighthouse is shown in the photo) became part of Rostock in 1323. In 1419, the University of Rostock was founded - the oldest and largest university in continental Northern Europe. Unfortunately, in the following centuries the city's economic and cultural prosperity caused conflicts with envious neighbours, which led to its decline.

Rostock rebounded in the 19th century, and especially its shipyards received a boost from the Industrial Revolution. Heavily bombed during WWII, the city was captured by the Soviets, and at the end of the war became part of the German Democratic Republic (DDR). The German reunification marked another period of decline for the city and the whole state; now, the economy of Rostock and Warnemünde relies on tourism, as well as maritime and hi-tech industries.

The Pomeranian dog breed referred to in the question is descended from the larger German Spitz (in turn descended from Arctic sled dogs), though it probably did not originate from the historical region of Pomerania, now shared by Germany and Poland. Of the German states listed as wrong answers, only Saxony-Anhalt was also part of East Germany.
5. The medieval Swedish city of Visby, once a very important trade centre in the Baltic region, is located on which of these islands, with a name reminiscent of an ancient Germanic people?

Answer: Gotland

Though present-day Visby is by far the smallest of the cities featured in this quiz, in the Middle Ages it was as important as most of them. This hauntingly beautiful town, whose name means "village of the place of sacrifice", lies on the western coast of the island of Gotland, Sweden's largest island, and the largest island fully surrounded by the Baltic Sea. Although Visby's beginnings are still unclear, it is known that it was already a trading centre in the early 10th century, during the Viking age. Provided of a natural harbour, the city flourished between the 13th and the 14th century, when it became one of the main hubs of the Baltic trade, and a member of the powerful Hanseatic League; many of Visby's historic buildings, such as the Cathedral and the city walls, date from that period.

In 1361, Visby was conquered by the Danish, and in the following century was taken over by pirates - so that its status as a Hansa city was rescinded in 1470. In 1525, Visby was attacked by an army from Lübeck, the "de facto" capital of the Hanseatic League, and its many churches were sacked and destroyed. Towards the end of the 18th century, the city slowly rebounded from its long decline; it is now a popular summer destination for Scandinavians, and hosts a department of the famed Uppsala University. In the month of August, when the tourist season is at its peak, a week-long medieval festival is held, which attracts many visitors from all of Northern Europe. In 1995, the Hanseatic Town of Visby was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The name "Gotland" means "land of the Gutes", a Germanic people native to the island; the name is also closely related to the names of the Geats (Beowulf's people in the Anglo-Saxon poem), a people from mainland Sweden, and the Goths (who were originally from Central Europe).

All the islands listed as wrong answers are located in the Baltic Sea, though none of them is part of Sweden: Bornholm belongs to Denmark, Rügen to Germany, and Saaremaa to Estonia.
6. Sweden's capital of Stockholm is one of the most populous cities in the Baltic region. Which of these facts about Stockholm is true?

Answer: it has a relatively mild climate for its latitude

The largest city in Scandinavia, and one of Europe's most beautiful cities, Stockholm is located on Sweden's east coast, at the meeting point of Lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea. The central part of the city is built on 14 islands - hence its nickname of "Venice of the North" (shared with, among others, Amsterdam and St. Petersburg); these islands are continuous with the Stockholm archipelago, which comprises over 20,000 islands and islets stretching about 60 km (37 mi) east of the city.

Stockholm (probably meaning "log islet") was founded in 1252 by statesman Birger Jarl; the city's original core is known simply as "Gamla Stan" (Old Town). In the Middle Ages, Stockholm joined the Hanseatic League, and developed strong ties with the other major cities of the Baltic region. However, Stockholm started flourishing in earnest in the 16th century, thanks to the accession of Gustav Vasa to the Swedish throne (1523), which led to Sweden becoming a major European power in the 17th century. A period of decline followed Sweden's defeat against Russia in the Great Northern War (1700-1721), but by the mid-19th century Stockholm had already regained its leading role.

Present-day Stockholm is a major financial and cultural centre, with plenty of green spaces. It is also a multicultural city, home to people from many parts of the world; it is estimated that over 30% of its population is of non-Swedish background. Stockholm hosted the Summer Olympics in 1912, while the 1952 edition of the Games was hosted by Helsinki.

Considering its latitude (on the 59th parallel north), Stockholm has a relatively mild climate, and average temperatures rarely dip below 0 ºC (32 ºF) even during the winter; summers, especially the month of July, can get rather warm. On average, winters on the east coast of Canada and in New England are much colder and snowier.
7. The oldest city and former capital of Finland, Turku is officially bilingual. What other language besides Finnish is spoken by about 5% of its population?

Answer: Swedish

Located on the southwest coast of Finland, at the mouth of the Aura River, Turku was founded during the 13th century; at the time, the name "Finland" referred only to the region around the city, which had been colonized by Christians from Sweden - hence its modern name of "Finland Proper" (Varsinais-Suomi). The city's Gothic cathedral (whose belltower can be seen in the background of the photo) was consecrated in 1300; Turku Castle, Finland's largest medieval building, located on the banks of the river, between the city centre and the harbour, was built in the same period. Turku's Swedish name of Åbo probably means "dwelling by the river", while the Finnish name comes from a Slavic word meaning "market place".

During the Middle Ages, though it did not have the official status of capital, Turku was Finland's most important centre, being the seat of the Bishop of Turku, the country's religious leader. During the Swedish domination, Turku was one of Sweden's three largest cities; it became Finland's official capital for a short time after the country was ceded to Russia in 1809, though only three years later was replaced by Helsinki, which was physically closer to Russia and had fewer ties with Sweden. In 1827, a large part of the city was destroyed in a fire, but was quickly rebuilt.

Modern Turku is a lively, bustling city, with a thriving seaport connected by regular ferry service to Stockholm (which almost faces it across the Baltic Sea) and the Åland Islands; it also hosts two important universities, the Finnish-language University of Turku, and Åbo Akademi, Finland's only Swedish-language university. Swedish is one of Finland's two official languages, though it is spoken by a small minority of the population. Most native speakers of Swedish are concentrated on the south and west coasts.
8. Which of these "T" cities - one of the major urban centres in the Baltic region - has become an information technology hub in the past 20 years?

Answer: Tallinn

Located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, 83 km (52 mi) south of Helsinki (with which it is connected by ferry), Tallinn has been the capital of Estonia since 1918, when the country became an independent republic following the Russian Revolution. Like many other cities on the Baltic, Tallinn was part of the Hanseatic League in the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. At the time, the city was known by its German name of Reval; the Estonian name has been interpreted to mean "Danish castle". The first nucleus of the city, the castle on Toompea Hill, was first built in 1050. However, the city's expansion began in 1219, when it was seized by the Kingdom and Denmark: thanks to its strategic location between Western Europe and Russia, it became an important trade centre, joining the Hanseatic League in 1285. In 1346, Tallinn was sold to the Teutonic Knights; after that, it was ruled by Sweden, and then by the Russian Empire. Tallinn's very well-preserved medieval Old Town (shown in the photo) was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

In recent times, Tallinn has become one of Europe's premier IT centres, which earned it the nickname of "Silicon Valley on the Baltic Sea", and a listing as one of the world's top ten digital cities. The telecommunications application Skype and the online money transfer service Transferwise are two of the best-known IT companies founded in Tallinn. The city also hosts the headquarters of the European Union's IT agency and the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.

Toruń is in Poland, though far from the Baltic coast, and Toulon is in southern France; Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan, which is part of Central Asia.
9. Riga, Latvia's capital, is another Baltic city with an interesting history. What of the following facts about Riga is NOT true?

Answer: it was not at all affected by WWII

Located on the gulf of the same name, at the mouth of the Daugava River, Riga is the largest city in the three Baltic states - home to over 600,000 people, about one-third of the country's population. Established in the Early Middle Ages, during the Viking era, it was already a thriving trading centre in the 12th century, when German merchants from Bremen settled there; 1201 is celebrated as the year of Riga's official foundation by Albert of Livonia, who also built the city's cathedral in 1221. In 1282, Riga became a member of the Hanseatic League; in the 16th century, it enjoyed the status of Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire; then, in the following century, it was annexed by the Kingdom of Sweden.

Like other cities in the Baltic Region, with the collapse of the Swedish Empire Riga became part of the Russian Empire until the 1917 revolution. Latvia became independent in 1918, but WWII brought occupation by both the Soviets and the Nazis, and heavy bombing that did substantial damage to Riga's historic buildings. One of the symbols of the city, the stunning 17th-century House of the Blackheads, was bombed to a ruin in 1941, and rebuilt from scratch in the 1990s.

Today Riga generates over 50% of Latvia's GDP; much of its economy revolves around its port, one of the largest in the Baltic region. The city is also a popular tourist destination, with its historic centre (a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997) attracting many visitors, with its blend of Gothic, Baroque, and especially Art Nouveau buildings.
10. Klaipėda is Lithuania's most important port. North of it lies the seaside resort of Palanga, where a museum can be visited - dedicated to which gemstone of organic origin?

Answer: amber

Though Lithuania is the largest of the three Baltic states, unlike Latvia and Estonia it has a very short coastline (99 km/61.5 mi). The country's capital, Vilnius, and its second-largest city, Kaunas, are both located inland, and the country has only one major seaport - the historic city of Klaipėda, founded in the 13th century by the Teutonic Knights with the German name of Memelburg (later shortened to Memel); the city's Lithuanian name probably means "even ground". Until the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, the city was controlled by various German states - the Duchy and Kingdom of Prussia, then the German Empire. It only became part of Lithuania in 1923, following the Klaipėda Revolt, staged to prevent the city from becoming a semi-autonomous Free City, and so damaging Lithuania by depriving it of its only access to the Baltic Sea.

Klaipėda was briefly ceded to Nazi German before the outbreak of WWII; then, in early 1945, was captured by the Soviets, who transformed its almost permanently ice-free port into the largest fishing port in the European USSR, and also built extensive dockyards and shipyards. Now Klaipėda is Lithuania's third-largest city, and a major industrial, commercial and transportation hub; many of its old and more recent buildings, as the one that appears in the photo, have characteristic timber-framed façades (called "Fachwerk" in German).

The resort town of Palanga (where Klaipėda's international airport is also located), famous for its sand beaches and dunes, is home to a large Amber Museum, a branch of the Lithuanian Art Museum, which comprises about 28,000 pieces. The Baltic coast has been an important source of amber (fossilized tree resin) since prehistoric times; this beautiful gemstone is associated with various aspects of Lithuanian culture and folklore. Pearl, jet and coral are also gemstones of organic origin, though none of them are found in the Baltic region.
Source: Author LadyNym

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