Gdańsk: If you have more time...

One day in Gdańsk is absolutely not enough. There are so many places undeniably worth exploring! Here is a list of all the must-see places in Gdańsk.

The Torture House and Prison Tower

The Torture House and Prison Tower - initially it did not fulfil these functions. It was constructed on ul. Długa in the second half of the fourteenth century as a medieval fortification of the City of Gdańsk. The two parts are connected by a so-called neck at the Gateway to form the Barbican and the walls of the gate were connected over a moat filled with water. In the fifteenth century, the Prison Tower was added to with the highest floor of the arches in the shape of a 'donkey back,' carried out by Henryk Hetzel. Michał Enkinger crowned the spire with a pavilion roof and four slender corner towers. The roof was burned down in 1577 during the siege of Gdańsk by Stefan Batory's troops. From 1593 to 1604 the reconstruction of the Torture House continued in turn, led by Antoni van Obberghen. There were also decorations made by Willem van der Meera. After the elevation of the modern earthen fortifications in the second half of the sixteenth century, the function of the whole building changed, fulfilling the purpose of a torture chamber, courtroom and prison. On the eastern side of the Prison Tower was a pillory, where many executions took place. Since 2000, the Torture House and Tower have been home to the Amber Museum, forming part of the Gdańsk History Museum. Gdańsk claims to be the world capital of amber. The museum collects natural, historical, and artistic objects to create a multifaceted exhibition whereby the Gdańsk amber collection will be able to be presented to the world. Here you can learn about the history of amber-craft from the earliest times to the present day. Amber is presented in its various aspects: geological, physical, chemical and natural. You can see the layers of the material, its production, history, trade routes, and the tradition of amber as a therapeutic agent, a magical stone as well as being a research and artistic material.

The Hewelianum Centre, Gdańsk Fortress Park

The Hewelianum Centre - recognize, rest, learn! - This is the slogan that has guided those who have implemented the Hewelianum Programme. It was born out of the modern centre of education and knowledge learning, located in the Góry Gradowej Fort in Gdańsk. It's a friendly place for tourists, with the purpose of the popularisation of science, where in addition to gaining knowledge about physics, astronomy, history or biology, you can simply spend a nice time with your family, walking among the greenery. The Hewelianum Centre is far from traditional museum exhibitions. In addition to the renovation of the historic buildings, interactive thematic exhibitions are organised, as well as events and popular science lectures which are open to residents of the region. The centre also looks after nature in Grodzisk and shapes pro-environmental attitudes. In the future there are plans to create a planetarium on the Góry Gradowej as well as connecting its slopes to the city with a cable car.

Park Twierdza Gdańsk (Gdańsk Fortress Park) - The Cultural Park of the City Fortifications, or 'Gdańsk Fortress,' is located in the Grodzisko Quarter - a small fragment of Gdańsk city centre, featuring an architectural shape which has been almost unchanged for over a century. It was preserved there to strengthen the fort ramparts, along with the park fortifications, the former Corpus Christi hospital, and also an extremely valuable church and dense complex of prison buildings, by ul. Kurkowa, which is now occupied by an investigative detention centre. Since 2002, the area of the fort ramparts has been administered by the specially appointed: Cultural Park of the City Fortifications 'Gdańsk Fortress' unit. Cultural activities, research, education and promotion regarding the dissemination of knowledge about Gdańsk's monuments and defensive military architecture is carried out here. One of the main areas of activity is the implementation of the Hewelianum Programme.

The Great Mill

The Great Mill. It is a memorial in the Old Town left from the Teutonic Order. It was the largest Teutonic investment in Gdańsk and combined three functions: a mill, store and bakery. It was built in 1350 on an artificial island created by the bifurcation of the Radunia channel. It had as many as 18 water wheels with a diameter of 5m on 9 of the walls of the mill, and was a great technical achievement. The law said that every sixteenth sack of grain was to be donated to the city. The property was prepared in the event of a siege or the water flow being cut off, when it used horses to power the millstones. In 1454, the mill was donated to the city by Kazimierz Jagiellonian. It operated for a few hundred years, and in1836 was modernised in a US-style and remained in use until the end of World War II. Currently, it is the Wielki Młyn shopping centre.

The New Town Hall

The New Town Hall - this elegant, neo-Renaissance mansion was built in the years 1898-1901 for the purposes of the General Command of the Prussian Garrison Headquarters in Gdańsk. Over many years there have been several institutions here, including the Command headquarters of the XVIII Army Corps, the headquarters of General Richard Hacking, commander of the Allied occupation forces (1920), the Office of the High Commissioner of the League of Nations, during the Free Gdańsk period, during the Wehrkreiskommando occupation and Gauleiter Forster resided here, then from 1945 until 1957 it was the Municipal Committee of the Communist Party. Then for a long time the "Zak" Students' Coast Club had its headquarters here, which is why the name of the Town Hall is the Old Zak. From 1999 to the present day, as its name suggests, it has housed the city's administration offices. There is also a wedding palace here. The entire complex, along with the stable wall and park, has been entered into the register of monuments.

The Gdańsk New Port Lighthouse

The Gdańsk New Port Lighthouse was commissioned in 1894, to replace the old lighthouse, and for 90 years until 1984, pointed to the vessels entering the port of Gdańsk. Today it is only a tourist attraction. The lighthouse has been decommissioned, but is open to visitors from May to September. It is located between the functioning lighthouses in Hel and the Gdańsk Northern Port. However it is this one in the New Port that has the reputation as one of the most beautiful on the Baltic. The Tower, modelled on the now defunct Cleveland lighthouse in the United States, measures over 31m. When it was in operation, the light penetrated a distance of 17 nautical miles (or 31.484 km). It also served as a tower for the port pilots and the base for the time ball, according to which ships at anchor could precisely adjust their chronometers necessary for accurate navigation at noon every day. A bullet was removed from it in 1929, but today there is a new one which was installed in 2008. An interesting fact is that it was from the windows of the lighthouse that on 1 September 1939 a shot was fired, which for the crew of the Schleswig-Holstein ship was a sign to start the barrage of Westerplatte. The Polish defenders 'fought back' with two shots from a cannon, one of which reached its goal - traces of which, in the form of the lighter bricks, can be seen today. There was no other damage, so the historical optical devices are preserved inside. You can also see the 'Lighthouses of Gdańsk over the centuries' exhibition. Furthermore, it is difficult to find a better vantage point with a panoramic view of the Port of Gdańsk, Westerplatte and the entire Gulf of Gdańsk.

Post Office and the Polish Post Office Defenders Monument

Post Office and the Polish Post Office Defenders Monument. This place has gone down in history as an example of the heroic attitude of the Poles. One of the first armed clashes of World War II took place here. But step back for a moment to 1930. This place had become the main post office in Gdańsk, and was equipped with a telephone exchange, which allowed for direct connections within Poland. Tensions in the city meant that its employees were trained to fight, and most of them belonged to a secret rifle association. The post office workers were therefore prepared for the defence, which was confirmed on 1 September. Germany attacked at 4.45 with strong force - about 180 people. They had three armoured cars and had hoped for a quick victory. The defenders numbered 55 and only had three Browning 1928 light machine guns, pistols, rifles and a quantity of hand grenades. Despite the imbalance of force they repulsed the first attack. The result of the second attack, which occurred at approx. 11.00, with strengthened forces and the support of artillery, was similar. The Nazis were caught off guard. Rozsierdzeni brought in howitzer at 15.00, and detonated a 600-pound explosive charge close to the wall, then made another attempt to storm. The fighting moved to the basement, where the Germans pumped petrol in and set fire to it with flame-throwers. Only then, at 19.00, was it decided to surrender. The Nazis did not appreciate the heroic attitude of the defenders. Most of those who survived were sentenced to death in two trials and shot at the Gdańsk police training ground in Zaspa. It was not until 1995 that the District Court in Lubeck held an extraordinary appeal hearing and acquitted the post office workers, which allowed their families to be compensated. Having previously been named Hewelius Square (Heweliusz plac), the square which stands facing the post office has been called the Defenders of the Polish Post Office (Obrońców Poczty Polskiej) Square since the end of the war. The building houses the Gdańsk Post and Telecommunications Department Museum, which is part of the Gdańsk History Museum. On the 40th anniversary of the battle on 1 September 1979, a monument was unveiled at the Defenders of the Polish Post Office in Gdańsk square. Its creator was Wincent Kućma, and it presents a dying postal worker being given a Nike rifle along with an open mail bag with letters pouring out of it.

The Ołowianka Granaries

Olowianka is an island east of the Main Town,where the Motława and Na Stępce channel flow past. It was created in 1576 and took its name from the warehouses where lead was stored, the biggest of which was called Lead Manor (Dwór Ołowiany), but now there is no trace of it. Granaries were also built, and the massive, three-storey Royal Granary (Spichlerz Królewski) is in the best condition, which was the work of renowned architect Jan Strakowski. In the seventeenth century the building was decorated with beautiful gables, thereby fulfilling the commitment of the former inhabitants of Gdańsk to Kazimierz Jagiellończyk, who had never spared the city any privileges. Three other granaries: Panna, Miedź and Oliwski, were renovated in 1985. This brownfield building project is now part of a project called 'facing the river' which will return the area to the city. There are a: Music and Convention Centre, hotel and leisure facilities and the small and large Dąbrowa granaries. The island is also home to the Maritime Museum. There is a passenger ferry service on the Motława between Olowianka and the Main City, which stops at the Gdańsk Crane. Nearby there is also the Wyspa Spichrzów (Granary Island), dating from the same period, and was created by digging the New Motława channel. In the sixteenth century there were about 340 warehouses on the island. The location of the granaries on the islands served to better protect them from frequent looting. They were kept there to ensure the financial security of products which the city was dependant on. Any robberies were punishable by death.

The Gdańsk National Museum

The Gdańsk National Museum) - is amongst the oldest museums in Poland. The Main Building, which has been adapted for exhibition purposes, was a late Gothic Franciscan monastery, which had been in operation since 1871. Today's museum collections and traditions have been inherited from two institutions - the City Museum (1870) and the Museum of Arts and Crafts (1881). From the first of these has come the Jakub Kabruna collection (1759-1814), consisting of several thousand paintings, drawings and prints by European masters from the late fifteenth to the early nineteenth centuries. From the second, the National Museum has inherited the Ludwik Garbego collection, consisting of several thousand items such as furniture, faience and coloured metal pieces. The collection also includes medieval sculptures which have been provided by churches, and arts and crafts donated by fraternities. There are also donations and legacies from Gdańsk and Pomorze families. By the end of World War II, the former monastery had been about 65 percent destroyed and had lost a significant part of its collection, including coins and artwork from the Far East, the resource library and the museum records. Shortly after, the first post-war exhibition opened in 1948 and some of the exhibits were recovered. In 1956 the Memling triptych, along with some collections of paintings, drawings and engravings were returned to Gdańsk. Today the museum consists of the following branches: the Department of Art History (Dział Sztuki Dawnej), the Abbots' Palace in Oliwa (Pałac Opatów w Oliwie) - Division of Modern Art (Oddział Sztuki Nowoczesnej), the Museum of Ethnography (Muzeum Etnograficzne) - the Opacki Granary in Oliwa (Spichlerz Opacki w Oliwie), Gdańsk Gallery of Photography (Gdańska Galeria Fotografii), and the Green Gate (Zielona Brama).

Uphagen's House

Dom Uphagena. A mandatory stop on a trip to Gdańsk. This Tenement building at ul. Długa 12, was built in the 70s and 80s of the eighteenth century. On the site there used to be a fifteenth-century brick building, whose relics are in the basement of the present building. It was created to order by the merchant, amateur historian and bibliophile, John Uphagen, who was also a Gdańsk councillor. It is the only old house in Gdańsk which has retained its original character. Inside, we can admire the wood panelling, furnaces, textiles, window curtains, furniture, musical instruments, paintings and eighteenth-century ceramics. Reconstitution of this bourgeois building and its interior was made possible thanks to Uphagen's written entries, which forbade his heirs to make changes in the building's décor. For a long time the building remained in family hands, and finally a design museum opened in 1911, which operated until 1944. When the war entered into Gdańsk, the home's décor and furnishings waited patiently in the vicinity of the city. Since 1981, the house has been part of the Gdańsk History Museum, and its restoration and renovation lasted until 1998. Since then you have been able to instantly know the old bourgeois culture of living in Gdańsk. Every last Sunday of the month there are 'Musical Sundays in Dom Uphagen' concerts.

Więcej o: