Gdansk is a beautiful Polish city. It lies on the Baltic coast. It is Poland’s principal seaport and is the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship. In its “golden age” the city was a melting pot of cultures and ethnic groups. The vast amount of trade created an air of tolerance. The city quickly became wealthy. Culture, science and art flourished. Works by outstanding masters can be seen in museums, churches and galleries. The city has an enchanting beauty.
Gdansk was also the location of a struggle for freedom and justice. It was the birth of the first Independent Trade Union, “Solidarity”. These developments helped trigger the end of communism in Europe.
Gdansk for tourists
Gdansk has a unique feel that sets it aside from all other cities in Poland. The port city has seen centuries of maritime activity. Its streets have an unusually un-Polish architecture. The cities past was influenced by wealthy merchants. Nowadays, Gdansk is a great place for tourists with its narrow cobbled streets. There are many attractions to see such as:
- Długa Street and the Długi Targ Streets. These streets are also known as the Royal Route and rank among the most beautiful in Gdańsk.
- The Neptune Fountain has stood in front of the Artus Court since 1633 and is a symbol of Gdansk.
- The Golden House – one of the most beautiful buildings in Gdansk. It was erected in 1609 by the Jan Speyman, the Mayor of the city and a wealthy merchant
- The Golden Gate – Built between 1612-1614 in the Renaissance style. Stone sculptures adorn the attic. The building adjacent to the Golden Gate is the Manor of the St. George’s Guild. It was erected between 1487-1494 and is an example of late-Gothic architecture
- The Crane over the Motlawa River is the most characteristic symbols of Gdansk. Back in the Middle Ages it was the largest port crane in Europe handling cargo etc. Nowadays it makes an excellent background for the rich collection of the National Maritime Museum.
- St. Mary’s Basilica – or the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the largest brick church in the world. It was built between 1343 and 1502. It boasts several exquisite pieces of Medieval and Baroque art. The solid tower is 77.6m high and it is crowned with a viewing gallery. Visitors to the gallery can enjoy a panoramic view of the city.
- St. Mary’s Street – is one of the most beautiful streets in Gdansk. The picturesque scenery has always inspired writers and painters. It has also been used as a backdrop to many films.
- The Royal Chapel was founded on the initiative of King Jan III Sobieski. It is a masterpiece created by Barthel Ranisch. It was erected between 1678-1681
- The Highland Gate starts the Royal Route.
- The Hall of the Old City was erected between 1587 and 1595. It features high-quality Mannerist Flemish architecture. The interiors feature 17th-century allegorical wall and ceiling paintings.
- St. Catherine’s Church is the oldest parish church in the Old Town, erected between 1227-1239. It has Gothic, Mannerist, and Baroque treasures. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in 1945. This historic building is now fully restored.
- St. Nicolas Church is the oldest church in Gdansk, erected in the late 12th century. This Gothic building was the only survivor of the wartime destruction. The interiors of the church have rich, authentic and early Baroque decoration.
- The Grand Mill was built around mid-14th century
- The Oliwa Cathedral was first erected as a Cistercian shrine back in the 13th century. It was reconstructed in 1350 after a great fire, it re-emerged in the Gothic style and has remained almost unaltered ever since. The Gothic interior was damaged in the 1577 fire and was replaced with the Baroque fixtures we can see today.
- The New City Hall was erected between 1898 – 1901. Since 2000 it has become the seat of the Gdańsk City Council and was given its current name.
- Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers. These symbols of hope were erected to commemorate the bloody victims of the workers’ strikes in December 1970.
- Gdansk New Port Lighthouse is one of the most beautiful lighthouses of Baltic Sea.
Gdansk is a great place to find cheap and good quality traditional furniture. I have many pieces in my flat here in Opole… 🙂