About Gdańsk pg.gda.pl

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Long Street and Long Market. Together forming the Royal Route, they rank among the most beautiful streets of Gdansk. Perpendicular to the Motlawa River, they start at the Golden Gate and end at the Green Gate. The route used to mark the residential area of the wealthiest Gdańsk parish, and almost every house, has its own, rich history. The oldest authentic buildings date back to the Middle Ages, though most of the urban development reaches back no later than modern times. The houses on Long Street are typical of Gdańsk, with their narrow facades topped with gables or parapets.

The Hall of the Main City was built between 1379 and 1492. The spire over the 80m high tower, put up by master Dirk Daniels from Zealand, is crowned with a gilded metal figure of King Sigismund Augustus. The three wings of the building around the yard as we see it today were completed in 1593-96. The interior is decorated in the Dutch Mannerist style.

The Artus Court was given its present shape in 1477, following the fire that had destroyed the previous 14th century building on the site. The facade was transformed by Abraham van den Blocke. The Mannerist doorway is adorned with royal portraits. The Court's elegant interior hides a huge, 12 metre high, Renaissance tiled stove, a mid-16th. masterpiece by George Stelzener. The decorative tiles were painted by master Jost, who used this opportunity to portray the eminent European rulers of the times. The likenesses are interspersed with coats of arms, personifications of virtues, and planets. The site was the meeting place of the Gdansk city notables.

The Neptune Fountain occupying the square in front of the Artus Court ever since 1633 is symbolic of Gdańsk. The initiative to erect it came from the City Mayor, Bartłomiej Schachmann. The figure of Neptune stands for Gdańsk's bond with the sea. It was sculpted by Peter Husen and Johann Rogge, and the cast, moulded in 1615, was commissioned from Augsburg. The general conceptual design was developed by Abraham van den Blocke. The magnificent surrounding fencing was added in 1634. Between 1757-1761 Johann Karl Stender modified the fountain chalice and plinth in the Rococo style and added a whole array of sea creatures.

The Crane over the Motlawa River used to play the double role of a port crane and city gate. The structure was given its present shape between 1442-1444. Inside, a huge wooden wheel set in motion by men walking inside it. The crane served not only cargo reloading purposes, it was also a device to put up ship's masts.

St Mary's Church. The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the largest brick church in the world, went through several stages of development over the period 1343-1502. The 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 Dringer between 1464-1470, or the main altar put up between 1510-1517. The church is 105m long, including the tower battlements, the main tower is 77.6m high, and the vaults soar 29m above the floor. (www.gdansk.pl)
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Oliwa Cathedral. This Holy Trinity, Blessed Virgin Mary, and St Bernard's Church was first erected as a Cistercian shrine back in the 13th c. 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. Oliwa Cathedral is 107m long, which makes it the longest church in Poland. The decorative gem is the Rococo organ, from 1763-1788. When built, the instrument was the largest in Europe.

Oliwa Park in its present shape was started in the 18th c., replacing the previous cloister gardens. The park contains plant specimens originating from almost all over the world. The eye can feast on the alpine gardens, dating back to 1920, the winter gardens, grotto, and cascade, and the hornbeam alley, first planted as far back as the 17th c. (www.gdansk.pl)
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Bohaterow Monte Cassino Street (Monte Cassino or Monciak for short) the street leading down to the pier is the most famous pedestrian precinct in the country, lined with numerous pubs and galleries. In summer it becomes a venue for itinerant street theatres, musicians and artists who exhibit their portrait work.

The longest wooden pier in Europe (511,5 m), stretching into the sea from the middle of Sopot beach is a popular venue for recreation and health walks (the concentration of iodine at the tip of the pier is twice as high as on land) or public entertainment events, and it also serves as a mooring point for cruise boats and water taxis. It is also an excellent point for observing the World Sailing Championship, the Baltic Windsurfing Cup and the Sopot Triathlon taking place on the bay. Sopot pier consists of 2 parts: the famous wooden walking jetty and the Spa Square on land, where concerts and festivities are organised. (www.sopot.pl)
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Kościuszko Square - designed in the 1930s as part of the elegant district of the city. In the very centre of the Square there is the Plate devoted to the Polish Mariner. Here all the major celebrations take place. The end of Skwer Kościuszki the Pope John Paul II alley - runs along the Southern Pier over the distance of 626,5 m, built in 1930s in the water of the Gulf. The left bank of the pier is called the Pomorskie quay - vessel-museums are moored here: the Polish destroyer "Błyskawica" and the frigate "Dar Pomorza". There is also the port for the ferries and pleasure boats. At the pitch of the pier there is a statue of the Polish author of marine fiction, Joseph Conrad by Zdzisław Koseda and also the Baltic Tourist Information Stand. Across the pier, opposite the ferries there is the Aquarium and the Faculty of Navigation of the Marine Academy with a marina behind it, named after Gen. Mariusz Zaruski (an outstanding yachtsman, mountain climber, writer and soldier) whose statue is located next to the mooring yachts (also by Z. Koseda). There is also another statue, one portraying Leonid Teliga (the first Pole ever to singly circle the globe on board "Opty" in 1967-1969). (www.gdynia.pl)
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