Gdansk is a thriving city filled to the brim with historical buildings and attractions. Stroll along our recommended route to see the most important and popular monuments in the Medieval city.
Gdansk has served as the principal seaport of Poland for a long time and is naturally one of the larger metropolitan areas of the country. The culture and buildings tell the tales of many different periods of Polish, German and self-rule in which it also played an important role for supplies during the Second World War.
1. Gdansk glowny
We start our journey at the Gdansk Glowny railway station: the gateway to the city. The beautiful structure was originally built at the end of the 19th century but at the end of WWII the Russians destroyed it along with most of the city. It was rebuilt after the war and shares its magnificent design with a train station in Alsace, France.
2. Gdansk shipyard
The Gdansk Shipyard, or Stocznia Gdansk, has proved its great importance to the city time and time again. Its rich history takes us through the times of the Teutonic Order, the Hanseatic League and the further development done by the Polish king. The shipyard is the main port and shipbuilding center of Poland, where the world’s first iron ships were built. The years following 1970 were characterized by uncertainty and disagreement, leading to demonstrations and resistance of the Soviet Communism forces in the name of Solidarity. This lead up to the formation of the grand Solidarity Trade Union. See the monument of fallen workers and Solidarity Square, created in remembrance of the fallen demonstrators.
While at the shipyard, we also recommend a visit to the Solidarity Museum where you can see the interesting exhibitions and learn even more about the history of the area.
3. St. Catherine Church
The church was originally a Protestant place of worship, but became Roman Catholic after 1945. It is the oldest remaining church in the city. Inside, you can explore the old Slavic tombs in the crypt. However fascinating and beautiful this old building is, the main attraction is unarguably the set of 49 bells, reconstructed by both the Polish and Germans as part of the post-war Unity and Friendship Program.
4. The Medieval Crane
A highlight of the city is definitely the Medieval Crane at the old docs, dating all the way back to 1367. The building you see when visiting was reconstructed in the middle of the 15th century after being damaged in a large fire. Originally used for loading cargo and building ships, it is now a part of the Maritime Museum. The crane is open for visitors during the summer months and if you are visiting on a Saturday the entrance is free of charge.
The home of the Philharmonic was built in the period of 1897-98 with a neo-gothic façade. It is located on the island of Olowianka. Originally, the building was a power plant. The restructuring and adapting between 1996 and 2005 turned the former plant into what is now a complex of beautiful concert halls with top modern equipment for unforgettable experiences.
6. The Golden gate
The beautiful white gates of the Zlota Brama are impossible to miss when strolling through the city. This masterpiece, created during 1612-14, is located at end of what is called Long Lane. The Gate is decorated in the style of Dutch mannerism, where statues depicting “the perfect citizen” have been placed on the top. The statues on the one side represent peace, freedom, wealth and fame, and on the other they represent agreement, justice, piety and prudency. The well known inscription on the gate reads “In agreement small republics grow, because of disagreement great republics fall”. Even though the gate was almost destroyed by the Soviets during the war it was successfully rebuilt to match its former glory in 1957.
7. Town Hall
The hall that towers over the city was built in the late 14th century as the seat of the city’s authority, and was, as the rest of Gdansk, badly damaged during WWII. It was successfully rebuilt and is now part of the History Museum. When visiting you will be stunned by the beautiful interior consisting of painted ceilings, elaborate carvings and furniture, as well as the beautiful spears.
8. The Long Market
This is the main artery of the city and previous home to the wealthiest inhabitants of Gdansk back when it was a merchant road leading up to the oval marketplace. Historically, it was where executions of witches, heretics and criminals took place. Along the road of Long Market, you will see stunning architecture and old, fascinating houses such as the Ferber House, Upenhagen House, Lion Castle and the Town Hall.
9. The Green gate
The Golden Gate is historically where the king entered Gdansk and travelled along the royal route down Long Street towards Green Gate. This magnificent gatehouse has four arches and was originally built as a palace for the Polish monarchs. However, none of them ever stayed in the building. The Green Gate leads to Green Bridge, which provides a gateway over Motlawa River. It was inspired by Antwerp City Hall and designed by an architect from Amsterdam. Today, it is the National Museum of Gdansk, home of many of the most important historical artefacts of the city.
10. The Neptune Fountain
Claimed by some to be the main attraction of Long Market, this bronze statue was erected in 1549, and transformed to a fountain in 1633. During WWI, someone stole the fountain together with many of the other treasures of Gdansk. It was returned in 1954 and is a definite must-see when in the area.
After finishing this fantastic route, you will have learned a thing or two about the city and its architecture. You will have seen many examples of how a city near total destruction can be rebuilt to prosper yet again. You can stay just a short walk from many of these attractions and more, in the heart of the Old Town at the Radisson Blu hotel, Gdansk.