Sailboat Meridian, the symbol of maritime traditions in Klaipėda

Monika Grinevičiūtė | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Klaipėda is the only port city in Lithuania and a nostalgic harbour for sea lovers. With the scent of the sea and fresh breeze in the hair,  the sounds of seagulls and incredibly beautiful sunsets at the beach, Klaipėda is a quite distinctive town. Walking down the streets of Klaipėda, surrounded by tones of the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon, is the experience reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway's novel "Old Man and the Sea." The maritime traditions here have been alive for years, and the wooden sailboat Meridian, moored at the left side of the Danė River harbour, is a symbol of Klaipėda

© iStock/Olga355

The young days of the sailboat Meridian

It is hard to miss the sailboat Meridian while spending time in Klaipėda Old Town. Its white colour and past great sails can be noticed from a distance showing the way to the Danė River. The exciting story of the sailing ship Meridian starts in 1948, in Finnish city Turku. There, the lovely symbol of Klaipėda city was born. The Meridian was one of the others 48 sailboats built in Finland as the compensation of war losses with the Soviet Union. The Meridian came from Finland to the shores of Klaipėda and from there started its journey as a training ship. During its 20 years of exploitation, this seafaring symbol visited many European and African harbours, while being the training sailboat for many famous Lithuanian and Latvian sailors. 

© Wikimedia Commons/B. Lundsten

In the end, everyone finds his shore

The last shore of Meridian was Klaipėda port. In 1971, Meridian was moored at the Danė riverbank in the middle of Klaipėda city. From that time, the restaurant was established in this sailing boat. The times have passed, the Meridian was handed from one owner to another until the sailboat started to sink and local people worried about losing this important token of maritime tradition. In 2012, the Meridian accompanied by more than 5000 resident from Klaipėda city, left the Danė River for reconstruction. Nowadays, the sailboat stands in its original mooring place, next to the Danė River; with its brand new look, it attracts visitors and warms Klaipėda people hearts. 

© iStock/esvetleishaya

To be precise, not only people's hearts but also their stomachs. On the board of Meridian, the restaurant with the same name was established. The establishment offers fine dining, and a light and stylish interior is accompanied by a great variety of dishes and wines - from seafood choices to the outdoor grilled goods. Moreover, the main room of the restaurant is proud of a glass floor uncovering the sights of the preserved old wooden structures of the ship. The outdoor sailboat exhibition allows to explore the original Meridian propeller, authentic parts of wooden structures, ballasted stones, and lamps. Even though the Meridian finished its seafaring career, the ship is still alive and loved. 

© iStock/ChamilleWhite

Sailboat Meridian, the symbol of maritime traditions in Klaipėda, invites people to come closer, and explore its white sails, an authentic deck, and stylish insides. Even though the Meridian ship has found its loved shore a long time ago, the remainings of its seafaring adventures are still alive in its walls. 

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