Gdansk has these two great historical figures, J.Pablo II and Pope L. Walesa. Therefore, it's well worth a visit. The city was completely rebuilt after the 2nd World War, in 1923 over 95% of the population was German, but after World War the Soviets destroyed more than 90% of the city and the Germans were kicked out. Gdansk has the largest brick church in the world (according to all of the guidebooks from the city that proudly recite this fact) and several notable buildings.
Gdansk in Polish or the way I like more, Danzig (in German), is a city completely impregnated with the political history of twentieth century Europe. A walk through its streets reveals the convoluted situations experienced by the Polish people, with clear signs of the German domain, and later the Soviet. Its strong personality can imagine knowing what the ancient city state was like, even minting its own currency. In order to appreciate the romantic and decadent buildings and streets it's great to for a little stroll and to go shopping.
Halfway between Sopot and Gdansk is the magnificent cathedral. It's famous for its impressive organ with hundreds of pipes and figurines that dance WHILE music sounds to alert the hours. Dozens of tourists come to watch when they music plays. It's one of the biggest tourist attractions in Gdansk, plus it has an interesting story, which is told on a plaque at the entrance. It will provide interesting historical data of the enclosure.
Gdansk Town Hall is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, if not the most, it's very stylish and elegant. The first thing you see is the clock that stands out from all other buildings in the street. The Museum of History of Gdansk is inside, so it's beautiful outside and inside, then beside it is the Fountain of Neptune.
The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the largest brick church in Europe. It was built in several stages between 1343 and 1502. Inside we find many baroque and medieval artworks. The white interior walls are all very high, so the images, altarpieces and of course the awesome organ are what give the interior some color.
The crane is one of the symbols of the city, originally dates back to the fourteenth century. It´s present strangely shaped appearance dates back to 1442-4. It was driven manually using pulleys that could lift up to 2 tons. It measures 27 meters and had to be fully restored because of a fire in 1945. Needless to say, it had to be restored again after World War II.
Santa Maria Gate (Brama Mariacka) links the walk along the river with Mariacka Street. It was probably built in the last quarter of the fifteenth century, and is of red brick, like most buildings from that epoch in northern Poland. In 1945 it was almost destroyed, so it was rebuilt 1958-61 and now houses the Archaeological Museum and gives access to one of the most beautiful city streets.
The astronomical clock in the Church of St. Mary of Gdansk dates back to 1464-1470. It´s a jewel of science and art (if not an absolute last!) and one of the treasures of the city of Gdansk . It also includes the time of day, astronomical data on the relative positions of the Sun, the Moon, the planets, the Zodiac and also the name of the saint being celebrated on that day. The solar system is represented with the geocentric model. The center of the sphere is a disk that represents the Earth and at the center of the solar system, the Sun is represented by a golden sphere shown orbiting the Earth. It was built by Hans Düringer, a watchmaker from Nuremberg, who died in 1477 in Rostock. As you might imagine, after the Nazi invasion, the clock was seriously damaged. However, it was rebuilt piece by piece.
It is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. It was built for John Speymann, the mayor at the time, who was a wealthy businessman and patron of the arts and his wife. It was built before the year 1609 and was designed by Abraham van den Blocke who also designed some of the sculptures which were all placed in 1618. It is famous for its beautiful façade, which you can see in the photos. According to legend sometimes in the hallways you can see the figure Judyta's spirit that whispers "Be fair, do not be afraid of anyone." Also the building is very well maintained and clean. It seems to have been recently built. Gdansk takes good cares of the heart of its city.
Entering this road through the alleys is like entering a different city. It´s quite impressive. Beautiful homes line each side of the street and, in the background, you can see the Bazylika Mariacka (Basilica of Our Lady). There are also jewelry shops here that largely specialized in amber, the jewel of this city.
The Sołdek was the first ship built in Poland after World War II and the first seagoing vessel to be completed in there, as well. It was the first of 29 ships classified as Project B30, built between 1949 and 1954 in the Gdańsk Shipyard. The name was given in honor of Stanisław Sołdek, one of the shipyard workers whose work really stood out. It measures 87 meters long and 12 meters wide. It's located just across from the [poi = 648961] Crane of Gdansk [/ poi].
The Big Mill is situated on an island that was formed by the river as it passes through the city of Gdansk. Today it is a lovely shopping center. Like most things in Poland, it was badly damaged after German attacks in World War 2. It was built by the Teutonic Knights in 1350, reformed and adapted in the nineteenth century in an American style, with a turbine and conveyor. In 1991 an archaeological investigation took place here, and two years later, the mall was opened.
Gdansk Historical Museum is in the Town Hall, which is a Gothic-Renaissance building that dominates the landscape of the Royal Route. The first floor has the most important Town Hall rooms - the Grand Council Chamber (called the Red Room) and the Great Hall of the 19th century (called the White Room). In the sixteenth century wings were added to the north and east with rooms such as the Council Chamber (called Winter Hall) and the small hall of the Court (known as the Hall of the Fireplace). Besides seeing the beautiful rooms, the history of the city can be traced through its explanations, tables, maps and even clothing from different eras.
This monument commemorates the shipyard workers that were killed in December 1970. These first movements and workers' strikes were the start of the downfall of communism. The monument is depicted by three crosses, which are really 3 anchors. It was designed by the workers themselves. Each cross weighs 42 tons and each anchor the other two. The monument is decorated with a piece of a poem written by Czeslaw Milosz.
Wyzynna Gate (or the Golden Gate) is in the center of Gdansk. This ceremonial gate was built 1612-1614 and has beautiful allegorical statues of the virtues of the city (Peace, Freedom, Wealth and Glory) on one side and Prudence and Piety on the other. It begins in Dluga street (also called Royal Route).
Dluga Street and Targ Długi form what is known as Camino Real and are without doubt the most beautiful streets of the city. This street runs from the Golden Gate to the Green Gate (stopping at the river) and was the street where wealthy merchants lived. The richness of their facades (although most were rebuilt after World War II), shows the commercial importance that Gdasnk had - it has long been an independent city. This street also has the Town Hall, Schumannów Palace, Golden House and Artus Court among other precious buildings.
The Neptune Fountain from 1633 is one of the symbols of the city of Gdańsk. It represents the relationship of the city with the sea. The entire fountain was designed by Abraham van den Blocke. The magnificent gate around it was forged in 1634. One of the legends of the city says that Neptune contributed to the invention of Goldwasser, the famous liquor of Gdańsk. They say that he became angry to see people throwing coins in the fountain so he struck his trident into the water, turning the money into tiny pieces of gold that now decorate the herbal liqueur with glitter.
The train station in Gdansk is beautiful and seen from a distance, the architectural style is quite similar to the town hall and more or less to the whole city, and finished with needles and pointy brick orange and green roofs, with many arches and one clock tower to control train times. Besides trains to all cities of Poland, trains depart (from a special area) for Sopot and Gdynia. At the station we found a McDonalds, but it didn't ruin at all the aesthetics. It's very nice, one of the nicest stations I've seen in Poland.