Gdansk has rebuilt itself from the heart following near complete destruction in WWII. The result is that this Baltic boom town reflects a truly modern Poland whilst restoring and incorporating the best of the past. Gdansk was home to the Polish Solidarity movement: democracy for Poland was born and bred here. This welcoming and encompassing outlook is reflected in every highlight of this thriving port town.
Gdansk is energetic and vibrant, reflecting its unique maritime culture. It is colourful and welcoming from the Baltic shores to the cobbled streets of the Main Town.
Top 5 Things to do in Gdansk
1. Dlugi Targ (Long Market): This bustling main street is the heart of modern Gdansk. Surrounded on all sides by the colourful façades of the reconstructed city, either amble from one sight to another, or sit and watch the world go by from one of several street-side cafes. Dlugi Targ is home to the Neptune Fountain dedicated to the symbol of Gdansk and made between 1606 and 1613 making it the oldest secular monument in Poland. The stone creatures surrounding the sea god himself were added in the 1750s. Behind the Neptune Fountain you can find the Artus Court Museum which is a true reflection of a Gdansk house. In the entrance you can see a photographic display of a full array of famous visitors from over the years. Like many other Gdansk buildings, Artus Court was completely destroyed in WWII, but was painstakingly rebuilt to its original features using historical records, notably including the original Renaissance tiled stove with towers to the ceiling and incorporates 437 of the original 520 tiles.
2. St Mary’s Church: It’s impossible to take an stroll through Gdansk’s centre and not have your view dominated by the huge red brick tower and façade of St Mary’s Church. Begun in 1343 and finished in 1502, with the 15th Century astronomical clock, the 405 steps lead you up a tower to view the city. The 30 chapels within the church display a wealth of art and artefacts.
3. Golden Gate: Right at the end of Long Market is Gdansk’s Golden Gate, a triumphal arch originally designed by Abraham van der Block back in 1612 and rebuilt post-war. The four figures on one side represent the virtues of peace, liberty, wealth and fame, and on the other side represent wisdom, piety, justice and concord.
4. Oliwa Cathedral: Visited by about 1.5 million people each year. The best-known because of the Rococo organ, on which concerts have been performed during international summer festivals. The Rococo organ, consists almost 8,000 pipes, and was constructed in the second half of the 18th century by Johann Wulff from Orneta.
5. Westerplatte: During World War II invasion fist battle that really started the invasion of Poland. Great place to visit. Marked by a grand stone monument.