It is certainly worth your while to take an amber tour of Gdańsk whilst in the city. The recommended itinerary is as follows:
Gdańsk History Museum. In 2000 the institution formed a new branch, the Amber Museum, and to celebrate the fact it arranged an exhibition of "The Polish Sea Gems". The new unit will soon be moved to its premises in the Gateway compound. The Town Hall of the Main City currently displays Lucjan Myrta's amber works. This famous amber artist has amassed one of the largest collections in the world. The works of art range from miniatures to huge structures and their making involved all known amber craft techniques such as intaglio, eglomisée, inlay, bas-relief, and sculpture. The most beautiful exhibits include the world's largest sculpture carved in a single piece of amber. It is "A Naked Woman after A. Rodin" weighing 2.5 kg. The exhibits form a magnificent kernel of the museum's future collection. Their interest focuses on early and contemporary art, and amber in its natural forms.
Amber Museum - Branch of the Gdańsk History Museum, The Fore Gate Complex of Długa Street, phone: (+48) 789 449 649 , www.mhmg.pl. Opening hours:
Archaeological Museum in Gdańsk invites to its regular exhibition entitled "Amber through Centuries". It is arranged in two sections picturing amber in nature and culture. The visitors can study the origins of amber, its varieties, see archaeological exhibits of works in amber and amber-craft gear from the earliest palaeolithic tools, through ancient times, the Middle Ages, to the contemporary times. The museum arranges practical shows of ancient amber processing technology against a map of amber routes criss-crossing ancient Europe.
Archaeological Museum, 25/26 Mariacka St., phone: (+48 58) 322 21 00, www.archeologia.pl. Opening hours:
Museum of Amber Inclusions shares its premises with the Faculty of Biology, Geography, and Oceanography of the University of Gdańsk and the world's only Chair of Amber. The Museum displays specimens of prehistoric life captured in amber inclusions. The visitors can feast their eyes on the most breathtaking pieces of inclusion and amber works, watch a slide show, and listen to an overview of the history of the "Baltic gold".
Museum of Amber Inclusions, University of Gdańsk, 59 Wita Stwosza St., phone: (+48 58) 523 61 87, www.muzeum.gda.pl.
St. Bridget's Church originating from the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries went down in the history annals in August 1980 during the worker strikes. The austere church interior will soon be adorned with a unique work of art, i.e. a monumental amber altar. 11 m high and 6 m wide, the altar will be arranged in the form of a triptych with an icon of the Working Class Madonna in the centre. The work is a reproduction of Our Lady of Czestochowa intended to commemorate the 28 workers who fell in December 1970. It will be adorned with a milk-white amber gown and a crown made of bright yellow amber. The altar itself is given the shape of a lily evoking associations with the Gothic heraldic lily. The altar retable will depict scenes of Gdańsk city life, and the central space is reserved for a gilded sphere-shaped tabernacle. Sections of the altar in development and a magnificent amber monstrance can already be contemplated on site.
St. Bridget's Church, 17 Profesorska St., tel. (+48 58) 301 31 52, www.brygida.gdansk.pl.
Amber workshops and galleries
Gdańsk is famous for many recognised amber workshops mostly located in the beautiful houses of the Old Town. Some let tourists watch the process of working amber and turning it into amber jewellery. We encourage you to visit numerous exclusive galleries and tiny jeweller shops offering amber products: exquisite jewellery, smart ornamental objects, lamps with stain-glass-type shades featuring all colours of amber, and little souvenirs perfect for a gift or a reminder of your stay in the amber city of Gdańsk.
Summer Amber Festival during St Dominic Fair
The rich calendar of cultural and open-air events organised during the traditional August fair (continuing the Middle Age tradition) includes a day devoted to amber, the Gdańsk treasure. Exhibitions, interesting competitions, jewellery making to the visitors' own designs, presentations, 'amber fashion' shows, and live-workshops providing an insight into the "good stone" processing, arranged amongst open-air stands of Gdańsk amber artists provide a splendid opportunity to have fun and buy a beauty souvenir of the Baltic gold. Happening-type events in amber-work yielding masterpieces that are then added to the Amber Museum collection have become traditional. The unusual objects created during the events include e.g. the two world's longest bead-strings, a button 31 cm in diameter and 1.5 kg in weight made of translucent profiles of natural, light-yellow amber, and a bracelet composed of 210 framed sections each holding a composition of amber and wire produced by the visitors to the Amber Day 2003.
St. Dominic Fair (the first three weeks of August) - the streets and squares of the Old Town. For the programme and dates of the nearest fair go to the cultural calendar on: www.gdansk.pl.
No one planning to visit Gdańsk in the springtime should miss visiting the trade fair pavilions during the big annual amber event. For as long as ten years now the International Gdańsk Fairs have organised the AMBERIF International Fair of Amber, Jewellery and Gems. It is the largest trade fair and exhibition event devoted to the Baltic jewel in the world. The fair is accompanied with the Designer Gallery, Jewellery Gallery, Palaeonthologic Gallery, as well as numerous scientific seminars, an international competition for the best amber jewellery design called Elektronos'2004, and the Mercurius Gedanensis Jewellery Design Competition with one of the categories reserved for an Amber Jewellery Set. The ten AMBERIF editions can take pride in one huge achievement. They have introduced amber into the artistic and designer galleries of the world. The magic beauty of the masterpieces carved in both the ancient and vanguard styles presented during the fair is absolutely breathtaking. Just imagine a necklace of raw stones arranged on a simple grey string, next to a huge glistening piece of amber finely set in silver and hung on a silk scarf or a smart chiffon ribbon, a leather pendant or handbag adorned with a beautifully golden stone. Try to picture the unexpected effects of combining amber with other minerals such as turquoise, pearls or coral interspersed with silver cubes or discs. The list could be long. Do join the amber "feast".
AMBERIF International Amber, Jewellery and Gem Fair:
Ambermart International Fair - ambermart.amberexpo.pl.
Leaving Gdańsk along the amber route we will find ourselves in the nearby Elbląg, Malbork and Jantar where the amber adventure continues...