Review: Sightseeing tour Gdansk (Poland) – the Pearl of Poland – a beautiful ancient city
We were advised to take a tour to the ancient seaside city of Gdansk in Poland. It was mentioned for the first time in 997, but according to archeologists the settlement dates back to the 5th century. Gdansk is located on the picturesque shores of the Baltic Sea, 10 km from the international airport – the oldest in Poland. Gdansk after 90% of devastation caused by World War II, was meticulously rebuilt. The city became fully Polish after the end of the war. The Żurawów on the Motława River is a symbol of Gdańsk maritime history – a unique structure that serves as both a harbor crane and a city gate, as it looks today – it looked like this in 1442-1444. Inside Zhurav was a huge wooden wheel, moved by the power of human feet. The crane served not only for loading, but also for installing the ship’s masts.
There are a lot of pleasure boats in Gdansk, you can admire the beautiful old architecture
Ruins left after the war are very dear to Poles – it’s a pity I did not take photos. In some places the coasts are not so picturesque – but the beautiful architecture makes up for it!
Having arrived in this city, I was struck by the magnificent architecture of the 14-15 centuries – what a building is a work of art! Yes, and each residential building is a creation, these roofs and windows created the atmosphere of a fairy kingdom!) Besides, Gdansk is a big port on the Baltic Sea, a center of engineering and petrochemical industry. In Poland, it is the 6th most populous city. It is known Trumiajstwo agglomeration – which includes Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia – it has about 1 million inhabitants. The most beautiful streets are Długi and Długi Targ, which make up the Royal Route.
The Artus Court is very beautiful; there is the Neptune Fountain – the symbol and protector of Gdańsk. It was built in 1963.
A view of the fountain from above.
By the way, the statue of Neptune is one of the most popular souvenirs in Gdańsk. Amber souvenirs are very valuable – there are many statues of Neptune and amber for sale! In the most beautiful place in the city, there is the City Hall, built in the 16th century. There are always a lot of tourists here. The dome of the tower is 80 meters high created by the master Dirk Daniels of Zealand, topped with a gilded metal statue of King Sigmund August. The town hall has always served as the seat of the city authorities. The restored building now houses the city’s Historic City Museum, café, pub, Cultural Center and restaurant
The square in front of the town hall was traditionally used for various festivities and celebrations of the citizens, including jousting tournaments!
Also very interesting is an architectural monument from the beginning of the 17th century – The Great Arsenal – one of the landmarks of Gdańsk. It is made of red brick, with gold and white decorative elements. The Great Arsenal faces the Coal Market on one façade and Pivna Street on the other. The Great Arsenal is flanked by the older, 14th century Straw Tower. The tower has a well for transferring weapons up from the dungeon. The Grand Arsenal was used for its intended purpose, i.e. as a warehouse for firearms and bladed weapons, cannons and other weaponry, until the 19th century. Now on the first floor of the Grand Arsenal is a grocery store, and the upper floors are occupied by the Academy of Fine Arts.
In this city there are a lot of old churches, each of them is unique in its history and appearance. After walking along the beautiful Mariatica Street, we came to the “Crown of the City” – the largest brick shrine in the world – the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It took almost 160 years to build it! Since 1965, the church has been a basilica. It’s a stunning basilica, in the Gothic style, I was delighted with its grandeur! There are many beautiful works of Medieval and Baroque art inside, including a stone sculpture of Mary, a copy of the Last Judgment by Hans Memling from 1472, an astronomical clock from 1470, and the main altar from 1510-1517! The building together with the tower supports is 105 m long; the tower is 77.6 m high; the vault above the floor is 29 m high.
Here we are on the bell tower – very impressive bells
And what a splendid panorama of the city opened to us from the observation deck located on the bell tower of the church! It took your breath away – it was so beautiful!
Here’s a bird’s-eye view of Gdansk – it really is a beautiful city!
The houses are so beautiful and interesting! Small windows, bright red roofs.
If you want to stay in a luxury hotel, you should go outside the city, in Gdansk itself almost all hotels are three-star, made in the style of the Middle Ages. The average price per day from 100 euros per person. “The Golden House in Gdansk is well known to many, as it is one of the most beautiful architectural creations of the city. Złota Kamienica (Zlota Kamienica) was built for Mayor Jan Speymann, a rich merchant and generous patron of the arts, and his wife Judith. The house was built in 1609, designed by Abraham van den Block. The house got its fame because of the rich front façade. Interestingly, the original sculptural decorations for it, ordered in Italy and transported by sea, sank with the ship. So their place was taken by the decoration intended for the rear facade. One can’t even imagine, looking at the splendor of the Golden House, what masterpieces sank during the shipwreck!
We liked the national cuisine in Gdansk, in the local restaurants they sell for 6 PLN a pudding called XXL – a long piece of dough with a filling – very tasty!) We remembered this tour for a long time, it was very interesting and informative!) I brought beautiful amber jewelry from Gdansk for my mother. I would be glad to visit this city again!)
Gdansk is a historical pearl of northern Poland.
The city of Gdansk is located in northern Poland, its shores are washed by the bay of the same name. Gdansk has a rich history, the city can be considered the cradle of Polish freedom, and in addition to the beautiful center of the city there is also a large seaport. Gdansk is one of the oldest cities in Poland, as well as the most famous of the union of three cities (Trójmiasto). The other two cities are Sopot and Gdynia.
Gdansk is a historical pearl of the Polish north
Wealth and freedom
The Polish city has historically been known for its wealth and liberal attitude toward freedom. The first mention of the city dates back to 997 and since then it has been part of the Kingdom of Poland, the Teutonic Order, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and even Nazi Germany. But despite everything, Gdansk asserted its belonging to Poland, and has since been considered a city of independence and solidarity. The famous Latin saying “Not with reckless courage, but also without timidity” best describes the character of Gdansk.
Wealth and freedom
Here, in the local shipyards, other big steps toward freedom began. In 1980, the Gdansk trade unions, later led by President Lech Wałęsa, founded the Solidarno (Solidarity) movement, which played a major role in the overthrow of the Communist regime in the country, which contributed to the collapse of the USSR. Its leader, Lech Walesa, an electrician at the Gdansk shipyard, became the first president of post-Soviet Poland.
A great struggle took place in the Polish north. Not far from Gdańsk is the small peninsula of Westerplatte, where World War II began on September 1, 1939. Before the war, most of the population was German; the Germans were expelled after the war, so Gdansk was literally reborn. New Poles moved in, and the ruined city was completely rebuilt in a medieval spirit. What you see today in the historic city center, beautiful burgher houses with gables decorated with coats of arms and churches, was not there before the war. The whole town had to be rebuilt in medieval style.
The Royal Route was built in the fifteenth century and was the main artery of the city. It starts from the city gate complex and runs along Dlugoi Street and ends at Dlugi Square (Long Market). On the Royal Route there are many medieval sites of the city: the Prison Tower, Lion’s Castle, Amber Museum, Town Hall, etc. Here you can buy souvenirs, have lunch in cozy cafes and just stroll along the beautiful street.
In addition to the Town Hall and the Lion’s Castle, on the Royal Route you can see another landmark from 1633 – the Neptune Fountain . It is located right next to the Town Hall. It is said that the famous Gdańsk vodka “Goldwasser” with its sweet taste and golden scales once flowed from it.
The recipe for Goldwasser has been known since the 16th century, and at that time gold flecks were already being added to the containers of herbal liquor. Today it is not cheap, but the most colorful souvenir you can take from Gdańsk.
Artus’s Yard in Gdańsk
Not far from the Neptune Fountain you will encounter one of the beautiful houses, whose name refers to the British legend of King Arthur and the Round Table – the Court of King Artus . In the past, the house served as a center where anyone could come for a fee, have a beer and act as an equal. Today, the reconstructed Court of Artus is part of the Gdańsk Historical Museum, and anyone can visit it. You can also have a beer from the cellar here, but you have to consider the fact that such beer will make a hole in your wallet.
Artus’s Yard in Gdańsk
Superstitions and legends are everywhere in Gdańsk. One of them is about the devil. He wanted to crush the people of the city, but they beat him up and knocked out a tooth. The tooth still hangs on one of the houses on the Long Market Square. If you touch it, you’ll be lucky as hell next year. It has just a little snag, a tooth hanging on a chain high above the heads of the luck-hungry. But locals say they just stare at the tooth for five seconds, and it works.
The city as if in the palm of your hand
If you want to see Gdańsk from above, head to the tower of the Church of the Virgin Mary . But it takes a bit of effort as there are 400 steps leading up to the tower. The Gothic Church of Our Lady is the tallest brick church building in the world. Don’t forget to see the 14-meter astronomical clock from the 15th century.
The city as if in the palm of your hand
World War II Museum
Gdańsk, the city where World War II broke out, was chosen to house the World War II Museum. The museum was built on Walowa Street, not far from the old city and is located in a symbolic architectural structure, 20 meters from the historic Polish post office and 3 km in a straight line from the Westerplatte peninsula, both of which were attacked in September 1939.
World War II Museum
The museum’s mission is to be a contemporary institution that tells the story of World War II, the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century. One of its main objectives is to show the war experiences of Poland and other Central and Eastern European countries.
The permanent exhibition occupies 5,000 square meters. This makes it one of the largest exhibitions in the world.
Gdańsk is a historic city with many cathedrals, churches and alleyways, breathing old times, but also offering modern amenities. Here you will find one of the largest zoos in Poland, plenty of museums, interesting port architecture, or even a lighthouse and maritime museum.