The 6 Sights of Gdansk, Poland You’ll Be Surprised by

10 things you should do in Gdańsk

Gdańsk is a phoenix city. It didn’t just rise from the postwar ashes, but it did it beautifully, proudly and solemnly. Even with a rich imagination, it’s hard to imagine that Gdańsk’s main pedestrian walkway, the colorful, bright and buzzing Royal Route, once lay in ruins. By returning the shapeless skeletons of buildings to their original appearance, down to the smallest architectural “pretzel,” local urban planners inadvertently invented a time machine. Now anyone who walks through the Golden Gate arches, is transported many centuries back – to medieval Danzig. Or was it Gdańsk?

The city’s complicated history, in which it constantly changed hands from Poles to Prussians and back again, left its mark on its character. No matter who had ruled Gdansk for about 1,000 years, it always had a special status. The spirit of freedom, independence and to some extent even rebelliousness is still felt in it today. If you are going to Gdansk, be prepared to plunge into its history. The city loves smart tourists, able to understand its life and go far beyond the tourist streets.

1. Walking in the Main City

Surprisingly few tourists make it to the Old Town in Gdańsk. That’s because he is not the main soloist of the corps. All the most impressive architectural ensembles are concentrated in the Old Town. Exactly here used to concentrate all the wealth and turnover of gold (after all, Gdansk is a port city). And it was this district that was so carefully and lovingly rebuilt after World War II.

The sun gilded stucco, intricate bas-reliefs, intricate pilasters and intricate frescos glistening in the sun, the architects’ love seems to have spurted forth, splashing over the facades of the reconstructed buildings. Residents of the city, however, argue that it really was HOW beautiful. And you know, we want to believe them.

Now Gdansk Main City is also a “magnet”. Only it attracts not merchants and bigwigs of grain business, but ordinary travelers of the most various solvency. Walk on the Royal Route, go to the Motława embankment, count all the city gates, look at the Island of Barns, take pictures of the doors of Mariátska Street and the porches of St. Spirit Street, and you’ll understand why.

2. Marian Church

The Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (also known as the Marian Church) is called the largest brick church in Europe. This alone is enough to get close to it. Not to mention the fact that a rare pilgrim will give up trying to find out who is so bold here that from no angle does it fit the lens. And there’s the main altar, the restored original 15th-century astronomical clock, a crystal chandelier from about the same age, a copy of Hans Memling’s “Last Judgment” triptych, an amazing central stained-glass window, and an ancient baptismal font themselves will draw your attention.

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The basilica was badly damaged during the fighting for Gdańsk, but some of its foundations and walls, nevertheless, still remember “how it all began. The cathedral was built for Catholics, but while the court was in session, Martin Luther and his Reformation took place. By the time the dome of the shrine was erected, only 6% of Catholics remained in the city. Until 1945, it was the largest Lutheran church in the world. The restored basilica is now a Catholic church. The reconstruction, however, is still going on.

3. the waterfront and the most beautiful panorama

It’s no secret that for picturesque views you need to climb higher. In Gdansk there is no problem with this. In the very center of the Main City there are two observation decks: in the Town Hall and in the tower of St. Mary’s Church. From them you can see everything an insta-tourist needs: red sloping roofs, sharp spires, a web of streets and even, as a bonus, the river, cranes of the shipyard and areas of modern buildings. But the view is not the only one… There is a “postcard view” in Gdańsk for which you don’t even have to torture yourself with steps. It is its embankment, which is best viewed from the Island of Barns.

Being to the smallest paving stones an extraordinary city, Old Gdańsk was even built in a peculiar way. The principle “city hall-sun, streets-beams” does not work here at all. The city was erected in the image of a comb, with the houses on the Motława River as the base of the comb, and the streets falling off the comb as its “teeth”.

The river banks were the busiest place of trade, where ships were loaded and unloaded. Nowadays the only reminder of it is the old port crane “Jurav”. When crusaders came to Gdansk, they not only renamed it Danzig and imposed taxes on it, but also forbade the construction of tall buildings. That is why they “raised” all the buildings they could and erected the biggest for the 15th century harbor hoist. In the 21st century Zhurav is still the city’s calling card.

4. Westerplatte Peninsula

“Never More War” is the translation of the memorial inscription at the Monument to the Defenders of the Coast on the Westerplatte Peninsula. A small strip of land was created by the Motława River and the sea currents of the Gulf of Gdańsk. This tiny piece of land was the first to take the blow of the German troops on September 1, 1939, which marked the beginning of the Second World War. The peninsula held the defense for a week. And it was quite unexpected, given that the Poles could only keep military transit warehouses there. No one knew that the innocent “bunch of barracks” was actually a well-disguised fortress.

Today Westerplatte is a port, a military unit, an open-air museum, a large park, and lyrical views of the sea. The pirate galleons “The Lion” and “The Black Pearl”, moored at the waterfront near the Jurava, ply to and from the peninsula.

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5. Beaches of the Polish Baltic

There is a sea in Gdańsk! Yes, the Baltic Sea. Yes, you have to drive to it. Near the historic center you will not find beaches: only port, only hardcore. There’s reason to be upset, but you can get to the nearest beach and see why you shouldn’t be upset. In contrast to the hustle and bustle of Gdańsk the coast breathes peace. People walk here leisurely and lazily. Looking at them, you also want to slow down, land on the soft sand, and, if the weather permits, even dip into the refreshing waters of the charismatic Baltic.

To get “in season,” no matter how much one dreams, does not always work out for everyone. You just have to put up with it. If you’re unlucky with the weather, take a sunbath. If unlucky specifically, just breathe. In the coastal area of Brzezno, for example, there is a huge pine park right by the beach. The sea air mixes with the scent of pine trees and it’s like magic. And there are bicycle paths leading from Gdańsk to the sea, winding their way through linden alleys. Baltica is not just a sea, it’s a whole philosophy.

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One day you can trade in the port city for a resort city and rush to the charming Sopot. Well, how to escape, here, in principle, everything is close by. Sopot is a famous spa resort by the side of Gdansk. Sopot is also a town of luxurious villas, swans, the famous 515-meter pier and the “crooked house”. But you already know about it from any social networks.

6. European Solidarity Center.

Gdansk was a free city for only 20 years (from 1919 to 1939), but at heart it has always been one. Perhaps this alone can explain why the uprisings of the 1980s in Poland found an outlet in Gdansk, making it the cradle of Polish democracy. The working class rose up against the existing order, and did it without a drop of blood, through strikes in the factories. As a result, the independent self-governing trade union “Solidarity” was created, headed by the future president of Poland, Lech Wałęsa. The place of action was the Lenin shipyard in Gdansk. In 2014, the European Solidarity Center was opened behind the legendary gatehouse No. 2, which is now a symbol of those events. Everyone who comes to Gdańsk should visit this place, because the museum tells not only about the movement itself, but also about an entire era. You have the history, culture and attempts to comprehend how society develops and how human values are formed. What did you think? Not all stoops of the Main City to look at, no matter how good they are.

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The museum is super modern and interactive. It has over 1,800 exhibits that don’t just lie under glass, but sometimes even interact with the visitor. The outside of the building is lined with “rusty” panels – to make it look like a ship under construction. Inside is also unusual – right in the lobby grow trees and on the roof laid out a mini garden. There is also an observation deck from which you can measure with a glance the infinite expanses of… Gdaƒsk shipyard.

7. Zaspa Urban Murals District

In 1997 Gdansk celebrated its 1000th anniversary. He decided to celebrate in an unusual way – he invited Polish and foreign artists to paint 10 houses in Zaspa district. Now it is street art but back then it was just beautiful. The citizens liked the idea so much that it was decided to paint a few houses every year. So ordinary boring panels became exhibits. Now there are about 60 murals in Zaspa, and the area itself is a real gallery of monumental art in the open air. By the way, it is absolutely free.

The district is interesting in itself. It grew up on the place of the former airport and could have a very prosaic fate. Typical panel high-rises are the fear and loathing of contemporary glass-concrete architecture. Zaspa was lucky enough to have a savvy architect working for it. Four micro-districts were built here with houses of different numbers of floors, forming with their paneled bodies “beehive honeycombs” with spacious green yards in the middle.

8. Park in Olive

Why go to some park that isn’t even in the center? First, nature: ponds, alleys, “flowery” lawns – romance. All paths lead to the Abbey Palace, and that’s the “second” thing. Built by Cistercian monks, this puppet castle looks like a successful setting for an overseas cartoon. Do you know if Walt Disney came to Gdańsk?

Thirdly, the Oliwa district has an interesting prehistory. It used to be an independent city, but the careless mayor almost made it go bankrupt by squandering the treasury. They say he even lost important papers to gambling. And Gdansk, don’t be a fool, buy them. Now it is one of its most beautiful districts.

“Fourth” would be the Oliwa Cathedral. On the surface – an ordinary religious building, but do not be deceived. From the inside it is practically a knight’s castle, which is quite colorful for a church.

9. Fokarium on Heli Spit

The Hel Peninsula is not exactly Gdańsk, but it is hard to avoid when visiting northern Poland. A long and narrow strip of land, going far into the sea, is also an amazing landscape park. Beaches, dunes and pine trees are in harmony with elegant resorts. The most popular of these is located at the farthest point of the Hel Spit. “Fisherman’s” town offers pleasant walks, relaxation on the beach and a visit to the fokarium (seal nursery).

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The nursery is created in order to restore the seal population, which was almost exterminated for the sake of skin and fat. Animals are primarily rescued here, not kept in captivity. Such housing, of course, affects the feeding strictly according to the schedule. But tourists come to see this action.

10. Gdańsk cuisine

If you have been to Poland before and tried any dishes of national cuisine, then Gdansk in this sense you are unlikely to be shocked. The restaurants serve the same epic zhurek, fragrant bigos and variegated pierogi. Like everywhere else in Poland, they love meat, especially pork. You can easily find on the menu white sausages, traditional pork chops or broth cooked with different kinds of meat. Of poultry, duck and goose are especially popular.

So there is nothing traditionally Gdańsk? Well, yes, there is. The Pomeranian region is rich both in sea and river fish. The favorite snack of the locals is Kashubian herring. The Kashubians are the people who used to live here in ancient times and were engaged in fishing. Also in Gdansk, they love desserts, especially marzipan and quiche. The pie, by the way, does not resemble ours at all, but it does not affect the taste in any way.

As for alcohol, Gdansk has a lot to surprise you. “The “gold” liquor, Goldwasser, is only available here. It is as much a symbol of the city as honey gingerbread in Torun or cheese-oscape in Zakopane. What makes the drink golden is its price, which seems to have something to do with 22-karat gold flakes floating in the herbal liquor. A bottle of apple cider, no less popular but already a low-alcoholic beverage, will be no less expensive. Be sure to try it to appreciate the taste and ingenious approach to the problem called “excessive yield of apples”.

The editorial team of thanks the Polish Tourist Organization and Sadova Hotel for the opportunity to visit Gdansk.

The 6 Sights of Gdansk, Poland You’ll Be Surprised by

Poland is the heart of Europe. And it is entirely representative of European culture. Travelers who have visited it note how sincere Poles are about their architecture, history and nature. Today we will plunge into one of its beautiful cities – Gdańsk . Let’s walk through the streets of this amazing city!

1. Town Hall of the Main City

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1. Town Hall of the Main City

It is located in the center of the town square. Originally, it was built in the Gothic style, but after a fire in the 16th century, the façade acquired a part of the Renaissance style. The main decoration of the building is the 80-meter dome topped with the statue of Sigismund the Second in gilding. Travelers can get acquainted with the Town Hall, both from the outside and inside. Tourists are especially impressed by the Red Hall. After the tour, you can relax in the cultural center or in a local restaurant. Visiting these architectural masterpieces brings people into harmony and appreciation of art.

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2. Yard of Artus

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2. Yard of Artus

If you are a rabid connoisseur of Medieval architecture, your thoughts about where to go in Gdańsk in the first place disappear right away. Make sure you go to Arthus’ Court! There are pictures of monarchs, a ten-meter stove from the 16th century and bas-reliefs. In the center of the courtyard, as if lurks a mosaic, the image of D. Sovizdzhal made of more than 500 tiles entirely handmade. In addition, valuable sculptures and paintings are preserved here.

3. Mariacka Street

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Mariátská Street.

One of the most beautiful pedestrian streets in Gdańsk. Literally imbued with the atmosphere of the old city. Crowds of travelers stroll along the street. Small amber merchants try to get here. Here are the numerous workshops, usually family-owned, passed down from generation to generation. Along the length of the street are ancient stone mansions with lions and gargoyles, large carved staircases, which used to be the property of rich townspeople. The most beautiful part of the city should not be missed!

The Abbey Palace in Olive

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The Abbey Palace in Oliva

Another Gdansk treasure, preserved to this day. Rococo style building was rebuilt from a 15th century Gothic palace. During the 19th century, when Poland was divided up, the building ended up in the hands of a prominent German family. The palace was handed over to Gdańsk at the end of the 20th century.

4. Church of St. Nicholas

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4. Church of St. Nicholas

Truly amazing building! Incredibly mysterious view attracts more and more tourists year after year. Dominican church was founded in the 12th century. It is made in Gothic style, and incredibly it managed to survive the Second World War.

5. St. Mary’s Church

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5. St. Mary’s Church

A 15th-century ensemble of churches, which took over 150 years to complete. The Gothic building with the view of a world masterpiece shocks the imagination and the eyes of tourists. The church was slightly destroyed during the Second World War, but it has been reconstructed and consecrated. Its doors are open to all tourists absolutely free of charge. It contains copies of the beautiful altar, created by M. The temple has copies of the beautiful altarpiece by M. Schwartz and of Memling’s “The Last Judgment”.

6. Green Gate

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6. The Green Gate

The unique structure of small Dutch bricks was completed by the mid-16th century . The Green Gate was intended for the country’s monarchs. But only Mary Louise stayed there, without the other members of the royal family. The structure is made in the type of palace. It now houses the National Museum of Gdańsk. It also hosts business meetings, important conferences, and official celebrations of various celebrations.

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