Granary Island, the warehousing area of Gdansk's economic centre, its port on the Motlawa River, was the place where the representatives of various nations and cultures met in connection with commercial purposes. Thus, multicultural references appear here too.
The names of granaries refer to the faraway lands and their inhabitants: the Netherlands, Jerusalem, Lubeck, The Hungarian, The Turk. The other names referred to the exotic plants and animals like: The Parrot, The Elephant, The Rhinoceros, The Whale, The White Bear, The Ape, The Coffee Tree, The Yellow Lion, Three Lemons, The Palm Tree and The Pelican.
The present Stagiewna Street was formerly called Judengasse (Jewish street). The name was changed to Speichergasse (Granary Street) in 1936, when the Nazi authorities decided it was not correct from the Aryan point of view.
At 7 Owsiana Street (formerly Mäusegasse - Mouse street) there was a granary named “The Red Mouse”. In 1939 it was used by the Nazis as an assembly site for the Jews captured in Gdansk, a kind of a city ghetto. About 600 people who, for various reasons, had not fled Gdansk with the rest of the Jewish community before the outbreak of war were kept there by the Germans. The ghetto existed until 1943 when the remaining Jews were transported to the concentration camps in Auschwitz and Terezin.
The three granaries located on Ołowianka Island which were restored after the war and the adjacent buildings are the seat of the Central Maritime Museum. In its collection we can see artifacts from the wreck of Solen, a Swedish ship which took part in the Battle of Oliwa in 1637. The collection of several thousand items found in the wreck after over three centuries of being buried on the bottom of the Bay of Gdansk includes weapons, crockery, rigging and numerous personal belongings of the crew and soldiers. We can also look at the faces of the Swedish soldiers, reconstructed by experts on the basis of the skulls discovered.
Between the premises of the Central Maritime Museum and the Philharmonic building there is the so called “Royal” granary. It was built at the end of the 16th century to fulfill the royal requirements, as King Casimir Jagiello demanded to have a palace, stable and granary built in the city. The granary was designed by Abraham van den Block, the representative of the Flemish dynasty of city artisans.
Not far away from Ołowianka Island, separated from it by the Na Stepce Canal, there is Angielska Grobla (English Causeway) street. This is one of the remaining traces of the presence of an English mercantile association dating back to the Teutonic Order period. The English merchants acquired the privileges to settle and operate in Gdansk in the 14th century. There were frequent disputes and conflicts between the English merchants and other merchants of Gdansk, echoed over the whole of Europe, as the English, experiencing prejudice in Gdansk, negotiated with the English kings for the stricter treatment of Hanseatic merchants operating on the territory of England. At the end of the 14th century the English community of several hundred members was established, with the governor nominated by the English king.