Gdańsk is perhaps one of the most popular destinations in Pomerania if not the whole of Poland. We don’t say it, everyone else does! Gdańsk has been awarded with the honour of being one of the best destinations in Europe, while TripAdvisor has voted Gdańsk to be one of the top 10 upcoming destinations of 2017-2018.
Gdańsk has a bit of everything for everyone. From beautiful beaches, trekking, adventure sports, food, entertainment to being a dream for history buffs. After all we are over 1200 years old, hold the dubious honour of being the place where WWII started and are proud of also being the city where the Solidarity movement started!
If you are monument buff, then you are definitely in the right place. Gdańsk has some beautiful monuments and streets that you absolutely have to check out! Here are a few of our favourites
The Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Bazylika Mariacka Wniebowzięcia NMP)
St. Mary’s church is one of the three oldest and largest brick buildings in the world (it is 105.5 m long, 66 m wide and can hold 20 000 people, which is 1/3 of the National Stadium’s seating capacity). Its construction was started by the Teutonic Knights in 1343. On top of its 77-metre tower there is an observation deck, from which you can see the Baltic, Żuławy and a panorama of Gdansk (totally worth the nearly 500 steps climb!). Inside the church, there is a copy of Hans Memling’s The Last Judgement, dated 1472, a stone Pietà dated 1410 (which goes back to the Battle of Grunwald!) and the main altar built in 1517.
Mariacka street (ulica Mariacka)
The street, whose name can loosely be translated as St. Mary’s street, is – probably not surprisingly – in the immediate vicinity of St. Mary’s church. It is also one of the most recognisable streets in this part of Poland and a symbol of Gdansk. A walk down Mariacka street will take you back in time and offer a glimpse at the Medieval, Gothic Gdansk. The street bustles with life all year long – at one end of the street is the Gotyk House, which is the oldest house in Gdansk and is now a hotel and café, walk along and you will find many small shops, pubs and stalls selling amber jewellery, keep a look out for the famous gargoyle water gutters! Even when crowded, the street remains atmospheric. When you get to the other end, you’ll reach another beautiful monument…
The Crane (Żuraw)
This is the oldest preserved Medieval port crane in the whole of Europe. It was constructed in 1444, during the reign of Władysław III of Varna. Although the crane was powered by human muscle, it had a lifting capacity of up to four tonnes. You can still see the mechanism today. You can also visit the National Museum inside the crane.
The Long Street (Ulica Długa)
The Long Market (Długi Targ) and the Long Street together are the Gdańsk Old Town, one of the most beautiful Old Town in Europe.For hundreds of years, this was the commercial artery and a market square. You can still admire the facades of historic tenements which once belonged to wealthy merchants, check out the Neptune fountain, wait to hear the beautiful chimes of the town clock at the top of the town hall or admire the beautiful Artur’s Court. Regardless of the season, the street is awash with activities. Spring and summer sees theatre festivals, buskers and fairs, while autumn and winter sees light installations an concerts. Multiple restaurants and bars ensure that you always have good food and music. Don’t forget to take the sometimes free walking tours!
The Neptune Fountain
The fountain built in 1633, was at that time the most prominent monument in Gdansk as the effigy of Neptune was the symbol of GdańskYou should try to take a closer look at the ornamental marine animals and mermaids who accompany Neptune; be warned, it will not be a simple task in height of season because the fountain is besieged most of the time.
Do you know that according to local tradition, Goldwasser (a traditional liqueur from Gdańsk) came to be because Neptune got so angry at everyone throwing coins into the fountain that he pounded his trident and vodka with gold flecks splashed everyone!
Obviously these are but a few of the monuments in Gdańsk. It would require a book to cover all of of them! But these are a few of our favourites and bear visiting and revisiting and discovering something new about them all the time!