What to see in the Old Town of Gdansk
The Old Town of Gdansk is located in the northern part of the Srodmiescie district. It is the oldest area of the city, surrounded by the Aniolki and Mlyniska districts. The Old Town of Gdansk has plenty of interesting attractions and monuments that are definitely worth checking out. This article will give you information about the major highlights of the Old Town of Gdansk.
The Gdansk Crane is a monumental harbor crane and one of several water gates in Gdansk, located upon the river Motlawa. The early version of the gate already existed here back in 1363. The Gdansk Crane got its current look between 1442 and 1444. At that time, two massive towers and a wooden lifting mechanism were constructed.
Ever since it was created, the Gdansk Crane mostly served as a harbor machine for loading freigh and putting up masts on ships. In the early 17th century, the Crane lost its military purpose and over time, craft workshops were created inside the brick towers.
The Long Seashore
The Long Seashore is a promenade in Gdansk, which extends along the western edge of the riber Motlawa. The first documents mentioning the harbor at this edge of Motlawa originated from the 14th century. For centuries the place of the current promenade was the location of wooden platforms of various heights, where ships were loaded and unloaded. In the 17th century, these platforms were connected into one longer bridge.
On May 6th 2019, during the construction of a footbridge to the northern part of the Granary Island, part of the pedestrian promenade over the river collapsed. The main cause of this accident was the lack of material.
The Green Gate
The Green Gate is most likely the oldest water gate in Gdansk and the city’s first example of Dutch mannerism. It was constructed between 1564 and 1568 as the Gdansk residence for the Polish kings. Despite its original purpose, the Green Gate was never enhabited by Polish kings. The only person who made a short stop here was Maria Ludwika Gonzaga – the future wife of Wladyslaw IV, and later Jan Kazimierz. Between 1880 and 1939, the Green Gate was the headquarters of the West-Prussian Provincial Museum. Currently it is the location of a division of the National Museum in Gdansk and the Gdansk Photography Gallery.
Chlebnicka Gate amd st. Mary’s Gate
Chlebnicka Gate and st. Mary’s Gate are two monumental gates in the Old Town of Gdansk., The Chlebnicka Gate is located at the Long Seashore, and its current form originated from the 15th century, which makes it the oldest of the thee surviving late-gothic water gates. Out of all the water gates in Gdansk, the Chlebnicka Gate was the least damaged during World Wat II. Meanwhile, st. Mary’s Gate was most likely constructed in the last quarter of the 15th century. It differs from the nearby Chlebnicka Gate with larger asymmetry and more massive, octagonal towers.
Szeroka street is located in the Old Town dsitrict of Gdansk. It begins at the so-called Tree Market. It used to be the central street of the Main Town, and its name originated from the no-longer existing Szeroka Gate, which closed the street from the west. From the east, Szeroka street ends at the so-called Wine Market, where wine was sold in the past. Up until the end of World War II, tram rails were running through the street. The buildings of Szeroka street were severely destroyed during World War II, but they were reconstructed after the year 1945.
The Basilic of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Basilic of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a historical parish in Gdansk, which fulfilled the function of a catholic church between 1572 and 1945. In 1992, it became am archdiocese. The case of the origins of this church are not completely explained. Accoriding to old traditions, the construction of the temple began in 1243, but there are no material traces that could prove that this theory is true. Despite its turbulent past, this church has preserved its historical shape, as evidenced by the 16th-century iconography and the rich interior decoration.
The Great Armory
The Great Armory is a significant monument in Gdansk and the most impressive manneristic building in the city. In the late 16th century, the increasing threat from Sweden encouraged the people of Gdansk to prepare for the potential war. The armory was constructed between 1602 and 1605 based on the design of one of the most outstanding architect in Gdansk at that time – Antoni van Obberghen.
The building was burned during the warfare in 1945. It was reconstructed between 1947 and 1965. Between 2000 and 2005, both facades of the Great Armory were renovated.
The Golden Gate in Gdansk was constructed in 1612 in the place of and earlier 14th-century gothic gate. It was designed by an architect named Abraham van den Blocke and constructed by Jan Strakowski among others. In 1957, the Golden Gate was reconstructed after the destruction of World War II. It is currently part of the management of the Association of Polish Architects. Between 1995 and 1998, the object was thoroughly renovated. Both facades of the gate are ornamented with attics, at which there are 8 allegorical sculptures.
The Prison Tower
The Prison Tower was constructed as an element of the medieval fortifications of the Main Town of Gdansk. The foundations of the Prison Tower originated from the early 14th century. The first stage of construction was supervised by Henryk Ungeradin, who constructed a tower with a rectangular courtyard. In 1594, Antoni van Obberghen reconstructed the tower and put a baroque helmet on top of it.
Currently, the Prison Tower is used by the Historical Museum of the City of Gdansk, which organized conservation works and completed the reconstruction of the tower after the wartime destruction.
Dluga street is the representative street of Gdansk. In the 13th century, it was functioning as a merchant track and was extended with an oval market square, After Gdansk was occupied by the Teutonic Order, Dluga street became the most important place in the entire Main Town district.
Since the very beginning, Dluga street was inhabited by the wealthiest people. The tenement houses were owned by the most respectable merchants and people from high offices. In 1945, Dluga street was completely destroyed, but it was later reconstructed. It is currently a popular tourist attraction.
The Long Market
The Long Market is a representative square in Gdansk. It functions as a market square and is part of the so-called Roya Route along with Dluga street. In the 13th century, the Long Market, along with Dluga street, was most likely the central road of Gdansk. In 1331, behind the Kogi Gate there was a solid bridge, which allowed large ships to moor at the harbor. Because of the ceremonial parades, which were organized here between 1457 and 1552, this road became known as the Royal Route. Similar to Dluga street, in 1882 the Long Market was paved with cubes, which were imported from Scandinavia.
Gothic Town Hall
The gothic Town Hall at the Main Town in Gdansk is a monumental gothic building located at the junction of Dluga street and the Long Market. The oldest fragments of the Town Hall originated from between 1327 and 1336.
The first major reconstruction of the town hall building took place between 1378 and 1382 under the supervision of Henryk Ungerdin. During that period, new rooms for the city’s authorities and the court were created. Between 1454 and 1457, when king Kazimierz Jagiellończyk came to Gdansk, the town hall was expanded. The attic was built-up , and the front elevation was changed.
The Artus Court
The Artus Court in Gdansk is a building located at 44 Dlugi Targ square. The name of this building was inspired by a medieval legend of king Arthur, who was a symbol of courage and chivalry.The name of the first building, which was constructed between 1348 and 1350, was first mentioned in a document from 1357.
The next building might have been constructed in 1379. It burned down in 1476. The most successful time for the court was in the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1552, it gained a new facade, which was tranformed in 1617.
The Neptune Fountain
The monumental Neptune Fountain in Gdansk was created in the 17th century from the initiative of mayor Bartlomiej Schachmann. It is located at the Long Market, in front of the entrance to the Artus Court. In 1549 there was a lesser known well in front of the Artus Court. It was located slightly closer to the Motlawa river.
The design of the figure of Neptune was created by an architect and sculptor named Abrahan van den Blocke. The model of the figure was created by Piotr Husen, and the sculpture was cast in bronze in 1612.