The Main City Hall

Ostatnia aktualizacja: 11 kwietnia 2017 r.

The Main City Hall, a spectacular building and the seat of the city authorities, is full of multicultural references. Its architectural form itself, at least its shape and the main decorative elements bear resemblance to the “Hanseatic House” (Osterlinghaus) in Bruges. The numerous reconstructions and redecorations were the work of artists and artisans from abroad. Dirk Daniels, the urban designer who arrived from Zealand province in the Netherlands, designed the great spire-steeple on the tower roof. It’s worth mentioning that the multilevel spire steeple is an example of the speeltoren solution and was used in Gdansk for the first time ever outside the Netherlands and for the second time ever in the world.

Johannes Moer (Moor), a bell-founder from ‘s-Hertogenbosch region in North Brabantia made bells for the carillon placed in the tower in the mid 16th century. The 37 new bells of the carillon were made in the Koninklijke Eijsbouts workshop in Asten, a town in ‘s-Hertogenbosch region in North Brabantia. Flemish stoneworkers made the banister at the eastern gable, decorating it with the traditional coat of arms triad of Gdansk. The conversion of the gothic facades into the Mannerist style was supervised by the Flemish architect. Wilhelm van der Meer of Ghent made a marvellous fireplace for The Council’s Summer Chamber, also called “The Red Chamber”. The ornaments of  “The Red Chamber” were painted by Izaak van den Blocke, a member of the Flemish family of artist and artisans of Frieseland. The work of both painters creates the chamber’s unique décor with hundreds of meaningful references and symbols, many of which originated in faraway cultures.  In The Council’s Chamber one can notice Roman emperors and politicians next to the mythological figures and personifications of abstract concepts.  Alexander The Great, the Jewish kings: Jehoshaphat, David and Salomon, even Caesar’s assassin – Brutus. In the middle of the ceiling, on the painting entitled “The Apotheosis of Gdansk” the trail of the Vistula river leads the observer’s eye towards distant Cracow and the ships in the port hold flags of different countries. Allegedly the inspiration for the design of the Red Chamber was the interiors of the Doge’s palace in Venice, which the mayor of Gdansk visited during his journey to Italy.

Among the patrons of the 37 bells of the town hall's carillon of one can find the people connected with the presence in Gdansk of representatives of various cultural backgrounds or their works, e.g.: Lesser Giełdziński – the Jewish merchant and collector, Leopold von Winter, the Prussian mayor of Gdansk,  Jakob Kabrun – a collector and theatre founder of Scottish origin, the van den Block family, artists and artisans of Flanders, Giovanni Bonifacio – the Italian bibliophile, Anthon van Obberghen – an architect of Flanders, Johannes Moor – the bell-founder of Brabantis and  constructor of the first carillon and St. Wojciech Sławnikowic – the Czech bishop and martyr.
The sun dial located on the south-east corner of the town hall, made in the second half of the 16th century bears the inscription informing that it is “the astronomical clock of the ancient Babylonians and Italians”.