|The Długa Street and the Długi Targ Street
The Długa and Długi Targ Streets which are also known as Trakt Królewski (the Royal Route) rank among the most beautiful streets in Gdańsk. The wealthiest Gdańsk patricians used to live there and almost every tenement house has its own interesting history to tell. The oldest preserved houses date back to the Middle Ages, but most of the buildings were erected in modern times. Tenement houses on Długa Street are typical Gdańsk houses with narrow facades topped with gables or attics, richly decorated with coats of arms, allegoric figures and silhouettes of ancient heroes. The most important secular buildings - the Hall of the Main City and the Artus Court are located on Długi Targ Street.
|The Neptune Fountain
The Neptune Fountain has stood in front of the Artus Court since 1633 and is a symbol of Gdańsk. It was built on the initiative of the Mayor of Gdańsk, Bartłomiej Schachmann. The model was prepared by Peter Husen and Johann Rogge, and it was cast in 1615 in Augsburg. The design of the whole fountain was prepared by Abraham van den Blocke. The ornamented grill surrounding the fountain dates back to 1634. In the years 1757-1761 Johann Karl Stender redecorated the basin and the base of the fountain in the Rococo style, by adding a large array of sea creatures. According to one of the Gdańsk legends it was Neptune himself who contributed to the creation of the famous Gdańsk liqueur called Goldwasser. He got angry at people throwing golden coins into the fountain and hit the water with his trident so hard that the gold fell to pieces, forming small golden flakes which now shine in the tasty herbal liqueur.
|Main Town Hall
Built for over a century in the Middle Ages, the original Gothic town hall, after a fire in the mid sixteenth century, was rebuilt in Renaissance style. It was coped with a natural size statue of King Zygmunt August. The full, lavish interior in the style of Dutch mannerism: The Great Council Chamber, the Small Council Hall called the Winter Hall as well as the Great Hall of Court called the White Hall testify to the power of Gdańsk at that time and its role in Europe. The characteristic sundial located in one of the corners calls to mind the relentless passage of time with the Latin maxim “The shadows are our days”. This is the most impressive secular building in sixteenth century Gdańsk enriched with a wonderful chime. Today, the Main Town Hall is famous for its replica of a set of 37 wonderful concert bells. Gdańsk is the only city in Poland boasting the possession of chimes, not just one, but two (the second is located on the tower of St. Catherine’s Church. Entrance to the observation gallery lets you enjoy a beautiful view of the city with music ringing from the bells every hour.
|The Golden House
It is one of the most beautiful buildings in Gdańsk. It was erected in 1609 by the Jan Speyman, the Mayor of the city and at the same time a wealthy merchant and an open-minded patron of the arts, and his wife, Judyta (from the Bahra family). The construction was based on a design prepared by Abraham van den Blocke, who was also responsible for a part of the sculptural decorations which were completed in 1618. The house is famous for its richly-decorated façade. The legend goes that from time to time the corridors of the house are frequented by a luminous creature. It is a ghost of the beautiful Judyta Speymann whispering “Act justly, fear no one”.
|The Golden Gate
Built in the years 1612-1614 according to a design drafted by Abraham van den Blocke, in the Renaissance style. Stone sculptures adorning the attic date back to 1648 and they were carved by Piotr Ringering. They present an allegory of citizen’s virtues: Prudence, Justice, Piety and Harmony. The building adjacent to the Golden Gate is the Manor of the St. George’s Guild, erected by J. Glotau in the years 1487-1494, in the late-Gothic style.
The Crane over the Motlawa River is the most characteristic and unmistaken symbol of Gdańsk. Back in the Middle Ages it was the largest port crane in Europe handling cargo and putting up ship masts. It also served as an uncommon city gate. The reconstructed driving mechanism inside, still in working condition, is an immense wooden wheel originally propelled by men literally walking in it. Today the majestic Crane, a fine specimen of the historic port facilities, sets an excellent background for the rich collection of the National Maritime Museum.
|St. Mary's Basilica
The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the largest brick church in the world, went through several stages of development over the period from 1343 to 1502. Its interior displays many exquisite pieces of Medieval and Baroque art, including the stone Pieta from about 1410, a copy of the Last Judgement by Hans Memling, the original canvas dating back to 1472, the astronomical clock built by Hans Düringer between 1464 and 1470 and the main altar put up between 1510 and 1517. The church is 105 m long, including the tower battlements, and the vaults soar 29m above floor level. The solid main tower is 77.6m high and it is crowned with a viewing gallery which enables visitors to enjoy a panoramic view of the city. In order to get there it is necessary to climb almost 400 steps!
|St. Mary's Street
It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful streets of Gdańsk. It leads from the St Mary's church to the Long Embankment with the Medieval St Mary's Gate. The street is an exquisite example of historic Gdansk urban planning with terraced entrances and narrow, richly decorated facades of houses which once belonged to affluent merchants and goldsmiths. The picturesque scenery of the place has always inspired writers and painters. It has also used as the scene of films.
|The Royal Chapel
It was founded on the initiative of King Jan III Sobieski to serve as a temporary place of worship for the Catholics of St Mary's parish church, which at that time was held by Protestants. It is a masterpiece created by Barthel Ranisch, erected between 1678-1681, according to the design of the royal architect, Tylman of Gameren. The Baroque sculptures on the facade were carved by Andreas Schlüter.
|The Hall of the Old City
Erected in the period from 1587 to 1595 by Anthony van Obbergen. The building displays the classic features of high quality Mannerist Flemish architecture. The interiors feature 17th century allegorical wall paintings by Adolf Boy, and allegoric ceiling paintings painted by the disciples of the Herman Han's school.
|St. Catherine’s Church
It is the oldest parish church of the Old Town, erected between 1227-1239. First founded by the princes of Gdańsk Pomerania, it was substantially expanded in the 14th century. Until 1944 the church used to daze visitors with its internal decor brimming with Gothic, Mannerist, and Baroque treasures. Unfortunately it was destroyed in 1945. This historic building is now fully restored. Once inside, take a look at the paintings by Anton Möller and Izaak van den Blocke. A tombstone of the famous astronomer, Jan Hevelius, dating back to 1659, can also be found here. The 76-metre high church tower supports a fine carillon. The tower of the Church hosts the Museum of Tower Clocks.
|St. Nicolas Church
It is the oldest church in Gdańsk, erected in the late 12th century. In 1227 Świętopełk, Prince of Pomerania, bestowed the church on the Dominican friars, who were invited here through the persistent efforts of St. Jacek Odrowąż. The church combined with the monastery existed from 1348. This Gothic building was the only survivor of the wartime destruction. In the mid-15th century it was domed with a stellar vault and its towers were made higher. The interiors of the church hide rich, authentic, early Baroque decoration.
|The Grand Mill
Built around mid-14th century on the Radunia canal, it was the largest Teutonic investment in Gdańsk. The structure combined three functions: that of a flour mill, a granary, and a bakery. It was equipped with 18 overshot water-wheels, each 5 m in diameter, which represented a great technical achievement for that time.
|The Oliwa Cathedral
This Holy Trinity, Blessed Virgin Mary, and St Bernard's Church was first erected as a Cistercian shrine back in the 13th century. Reconstructed in 1350 after a great fire, it re-emerged in the Gothic style and has remained almost unaltered ever since. The Gothic interior was extremely damaged in the 1577 fire and was replaced with the Baroque fixtures we can admire today. Structurally, the cathedral is a triple-aisle, vaulted basilica built on the plan of the Latin cross. The Oliwa Cathedral is 107m long, which makes it the longest church in Poland. Its splendid decorative gems include the Rococo organ, dating from the period between 1763 and 1788. The organ was manufactured by Jan Wulf and Frydryk Rudolf Dalitz and when built, the instrument was considered the largest in Europe.
|The New City Hall
The building was erected in the years 1898 - 1901 for the General Commandment of the Prussian Garrison in Gdańsk. After World War I and upon the establishment of the Free City of Gdańsk, in the years 1918-1939, the building was the seat of the High Commissioner of the League of Nations for the Free City of Gdańsk. After 1945 the building became the seat of the Municipal Committee of the Polish Worker’s Party. In 1957 it was transferred to the Seaside Students’ Club “Żak” and since 2000 it has become the seat of the Gdańsk City Council and was renamed as the New City Hall.
|Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers
Three majestic crosses with anchors – symbols of hope – have been erected to commemorate the bloody victims of the workers' strikes in December 1970. The demand relative to erecting this monument at the shipyard’s gates was one of the most important postulates of the shipyard workers who went on strike in August 1980. The crosses are 42 m high and weigh 140 tons. All official delegations visiting Gdańsk lay flowers at the foot of this monument.
|Gdańsk New Port Lighthouse
A lighthouse in New Port is one of the most beautiful lighthouses of Baltic Sea. It was commissioned in 1894, and it showed the entrance to Gdańsk port till 1984. In its interiors, beautifully kept historical optic devices and exhibition “Gdańsk lighthouses within years”. Also the view from its tower to Gdańsk Port, Westerplatte and the whole Gdańsk Bay, Gdynia and Hel, is very attractive. 27 meters lighthouse in New Port was built as a famous lighthouse erected in 1871 in Cleveland (USA). It was used for three purposes: as a lighthouse, tower of port pilots and basis of time sphere, removed in 1929. The last was an unusual instrument. Its rise and fall at noon, enabled precise setting of marine chronometers, necessary for a precise navigation, for the captains of ships being on roads. The lighthouse is open for the visitors from May to September. You will get more information at: www.latarnia.gda.pl .
|Monumental Painting Collection in Gdansk Zaspa – 54 murals
Zaspa is one the largest residential areas in Poland. Built in the 1970s, the neighbourhood was to be the quintessence of the modernist vision of a perfect housing estate. The first murals were created in Zaspa thanks to Rafał Roskowiński, who organised in 1997 the international festival of murals commemorating the 1000th anniversary of Gdansk.
The idea of creating a collection of murals in Zaspa returned in 2009 in the context of Gdansk bidding for the title of the European Capital of Culture 2016 and the organisation of the Monumental Art festival curated by Piotr Szwabe aka Pisz.
The collection today comprises 54 big-scale murals and 10 vestibules. The motifs vary: famous people, history, big themes like love, freedom, or crisis. That is the oldest and the biggest collection of murals in Poland.
|European Solidarity Centre
The European Solidarity Centre is important institution on the freedom trail in a new, experimental form: it is not only a museum dedicated to the history of Solidarity and anti-communist opposition in Poland and Europe, but also a centre of dialog in the modern world; a meeting place for people who are close to the values of liberty and democracy. The heart of ESC is a grand exhibition arranged which narrative allows everyone to find their own meaning and emotions. Visitors from Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Germany also find their piece of history in the centre. But ESC is also a library, reading room and archives. It is a centre for research, education and training as well as creative workshops for young people. There is also a place for younger visitors - the Playroom Department is a multimedia educational room for children. Here non-governmental organizations have their headquarters along with the first president of free Poland, Lech Wałęsa. There is much attractive space accessible to everyone including: terrace, winter garden, restaurant, bar and cafe making the Centre an open meeting place.
Photo: Grzegorz Mehring
The Amber Museum in the Fore Gate Complex of Długa Street - Gdańsk’s popular barbican - continues its pre-war tradition, alluding to the Gdańsk inclusion collection located in the Green Gate which was lost during World War II. The latest unique specimen in the nature collection of the museum (purchase financed by the L. Kronenberg Bank Foundation) is the second, known in the world, inclusion of Solifugae in amber. In the collections of world museums you will not find such a specimen. In the recesses of the museum you can learn the history of the formation of “Northern Gold” and inclusion, the medicinal use of amber, see a display of how it is crafted and finally beautiful collections, including the most precious - objects from the collection of Georg Laue – which were made in Gdańsk in the 17th and 18th century.
|Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre
The modern, multifunctional building designed by the Venetian architect Renato Rizzi is the new pride of Gdańsk. The stage can be transformed in Elizabethan, central or Italian and the retractable roof, thanks to which performances can be held in daylight, offers immense possibilities for staging. The Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre provides impresario activities, presenting outstanding performances from Poland and around the world as well as conducts extensive educational activities. It is also an interesting place on the tourist route: unique attractions for visitors are not only the retractable roof, modern stage machinery or the mysterious alleys inside the theatre, but also the walking trail surrounding the theatre’s walls and the museum in the basement.
Photo: Rafał Malko
|The Last Judgement
The Archangel Michael weighing good and evil, the saved ascending to heaven on crystal stairs, devils throwing sinners into the fires of hell. The bothersome vision of judgement day by the brush of the great Dutch artist was obtained accidentally, captured as the spoils of war by Gdańsk’s famous privateer Paweł Benecke. Hans Memling’s triptych “The Last Judgement” is the most valuable exhibit of the National Museum in Gdańsk and his only work in Polish collections. The painting, considered to be Memling’s crowning point (his authorship was not determined until the mid nineteenth century!), is of an impressive size (height 242 cm, width 360 cm), with technical perfection and artistic beauty, and its dramatic fate intrigues both with its message and its rich symbolism, understandable only to insiders. You can admire a copy of the work at St. Mary’s Basilica, where the original was first donated to the church.
The name Wisłoujście comes from the times when the Vistula River estuary was located directly to the west of the fortress. The former port in Gdańsk was located on the Motława River, a few kilometres from the seacoast. Wisłoujście therefore was a strategic militarily area. Most likely during the reign of Pomeranian Princes a watchtower was located here. It is known that in the middle of the fourteenth century a wooden building was erected here. At the end of the fifteenth century there was a stone, cylindrical tower that was also a lighthouse. The fires burning at night from its peak showed ships the way to the port. Enclosed by successive fortifications over the centuries, surrounded by moats, modernized several times according to the evolving art of war, it was a strategic component of the extended defence system of Gdańsk. It was from here in the year 1627 that the Poland fleet sailed to the victorious battle with the Swedes at Oliwa. The fortress lost its military importance after World War I, in connection with the demilitarization of Gdańsk. Now, as a priceless reminder of Polish marine history it is one of the departments of the Gdańsk History Museum and a great tourist attraction. It even has its own... ghost! The ghost of the brave royal captain, Hans Kizero, commander of the first Polish unit intended for service at sea, a pinnace called the “Yellow Lion”, even has his own... blog!
Photo: Stanisław Składanowski
|PGE Arena Gdańsk
Gdańsk is the World Capital of Amber, that is why the stadium built especially for the occasion of the UEFA EURO 2012™, considered to be most beautiful football arena, resembles a piece of amber and the structural elements of the stadium modelled after a ship’s frame emphasize the maritime traditions of the city. The stadium is located in the Gdańsk Letnica district at Pokoleń Lechii Gdańsk 1. The construction of the amber facility began in May 2009 and it was commissioned on July 19, 2011. The first match was played in it August 14, between Gdańsk Lechia and Cracovia. On September 6, 2011 the Gdańsk stadium hosted its first international match that was played here between Poland and Germany that finished with a 2:2 draw. In June 2012 Gdańsk was a Host City for the European Football Championships UEFA EURO 2012™. The stadium was an arena of football struggles during three group matches (Spain - Italy, Spain - Ireland and Croatia - Spain) and a fascinating spectacle: quarterfinals played between teams from Germany and Greece. During the championships more than 160,000 fans from all over Europe visited it!
Photo: Marek Angiel
ERGO Arena is an indoor venue located on the boarder of Gdańsk and Sopot. With a capacity of 11035 seats for sporting events (expandable to 14661 for concerts), it is one of the biggest multi-purpose arenas in Poland. The relatively new arena made a huge impact on the locals as they already admit that it would be difficult to imagine the present possibilities of entertainment in Tri-City without the venue. So far, ERGO Arena has been hosing various super stars, such as: Lady Gaga, Rammstein, Sting, Iron Maiden, Backstreet Boys, 30 Seconds to Mars and Lenny Kravitz. The biggest sporting events that were organized in ERGO Arena include, for instance, FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Poland 2014 and 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships. Visitors in ERGO Arena have a regular chance to see many international handball, volleyball and basketball tournaments as well as MMA fights and Freestyle Motocross Events. ERGO Arena is a home of LOTOS Trefl Gdańsk and PGE Atom Trefl Sopot – Polish representatives in CEV Volleyball Champions League. Tourists should most definitely consider an ERGO Arena tour – our guides will make you familiar not only with the modern architecture of the venue but also show you these parts of the arena that are usually open for the stars and the staff only. For more information about the upcoming gigs, shows and games as well as details regarding ERGO Arena's tours please check the official webpage of the venue: www.ergoarena.pl
|Polish Baltic Philharmonic
The Polish Baltic Frédéric Chopin Philharmonic is the largest music institution in the northern Poland, visited not only by local music-lovers but also by people from all over Poland and all over the world. This is a place for the ones who desire to enjoy the art of the highest quality.
There are organized symphonic concerts, recitals, and chamber music soirées performed by the most prominent Polish musicians as well as worldwide-known artists. Awarded in Polish and international contests and polls, recommended by the American New York Times magazine as one of the Europe’s „must see” locations.
Photo: Paweł Klein