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About city Gallery Where to stay

Gdansk, a city of Northern Poland, situated on the shores of Gdansk Bay along the Baltic coastline, is home to around 463,000 people. Along with Sopot and Gdynia, Gdansk forms the Tricity Area with a population of 1 million. It’s the country’s main sea harbour and the capital of Pomerania Province. This city is a large centre of Polish industry and culture. Gdansk is also known as the birthplace of the Solidarity Trade Union – the historic movement against the communist regime which made a significant contribution to its demise.

In the Middle Ages, Gdansk was a flourishing Hanseatic city, known for its excellent architecture. Even though only a third of the city’s buildings survived the war, they were all rebuilt later in accordance with the old plans, making them look hundreds of years old. The city has several gates that lead inside including the Green Gate, Golden Gate, High Gate and the Prison Tower.

Cityscape of Gdansk in Poland
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Cityscape of Gdansk in Poland

The highest number of historic buildings and other architectural landmarks can be found not in the Old Town, but in the part of the city called the Main Town (the former is located a little further to the north). Gdansk has as many as three city halls, each of which interesting in its own way.

The most important of the three is the one standing in the Main Town, built around the 12th century AD. Rebuilt and restored many times, it’s still exquisitely beautiful. In the 16th century, this building was equipped with a carillon, 37 bells of which are still intact. Gdansk is the only Polish city where this instrument can be found (the second one is located in the tower of St. Catherine’s Church).

The second city hall is located in the Old Town, and this 16th-century red brick building with an elegant black tower can be seen from afar. Also there is a new city hall, situated near the central station, which was built at the turn of the 20th century.

People walking on the street at a traditional yearly market in the city center
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  People walking on the street at a traditional yearly market in the city center

Once in Gdansk, tourists should first visit the Royal Tract, which leads you along Dluga Street, through the city gate complex to the Central Square, or Dlugi Targ (“Long Market”). This square houses one of the city’s most splendid buildings – the Artus Court, which used to be a merchants’ meeting place. Here you can also see the Neptune Fountain, held to be the symbol of Gdansk.

You should also make sure to visit St. Mary’s Church – the largest brick church in Europe – with its 15th-century clock. This cathedral can hold up to 25,000 people at any one time. The street named after the Virgin Mary is a real masterpiece of architecture with its charming narrow houses, terraces, cellar diners, and many galleries.

Most people are also highly impressed by the Golden House, reminding us how impossibly rich some of the city’s inhabitants used to be. The old city harbour has another symbol of the city – an ancient crane which the locals call Zuraw. This unique structure, equipped with a crane – the oldest of its kind in Europe – used to serve two functions: lift cargo, and serve as the city’s defensive gate.

If you want to really feel the spirit of Gdansk, you’ll have to take many walks, get to know all of the streets and alleys of the Old Town, and visit many small shops and art galleries. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, they’re still worth a visit.

Cityscape of Gdansk in Poland
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Cityscape of Gdansk in Poland

We also recommend you go to the Motlawa Embankment and try out the little river steamboat. And when you get tired of the vistas, you can always buy a ticket to the Museum of Archaeology (located on Mariacka Street, near the arch leading to the River Motlawa) and leave the ground far below. Once above the city, you’ll see a breathtaking city panorama and quietly thank the locals for preserving such beauty.

There’s a reason why Gdansk is a candidate for becoming the European Capital of Culture, after all. By the way, the myriads of international events do a lot in terms of preserving the city’s cultural prestige – the Shakespeare, Good Mood and “All About Freedom” festivals, the St. Dominic’s Fair, and the musical contests that take place in the Polish Baltic F. Chopin Philharmonic.

Of course, most visitors of Gdansk also visit the nearby Gdynia and Sopot – the other two Tricity settlements.

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