Must see in Gdańsk: Oliwa

Oliva is one of the most beautiful Gdańsk districts, where many cultural and natural monuments can be found.

Park of Adam Mickiewicz

Park of Adam Mickiewicz. This historic park on Potok Oliwa, bearing the name of Adam Mickiewicz University, consists of over 11 hectares. Previously the Cistercian monastery gardens were in this place, and the park was built in the eighteenth century. The transformation was initiated by the abbot of Oliwa, Jacek Rybinski, and the contractor, according to the Hentschla garden project, was Kazimierz Dębiński. The baroque part of the park was created at that time, and is now known as the French section. From 1782, further development began in the garden. In the northern part of the park winding paths and ponds, imitation wildlife, and park equipment were installed. This part is called the Chinese-English or English part today. Apparently, Bishop Ignacy Krasicki , who was a lover of gardens, had the greatest impact on the shape of Oliwa Park and often visited it. Included in the subsequent changes introduced were various new species of plants, including Alpine varieties, more trees and a palm house. World War II brought about the devastation of the park, but it has been carefully restored. In the years 1952-1956 a botanical garden was founded, and in 1971 the park was entered into the register of monuments. Since 1976 the Gdańsk Gallery of Contemporary Sculpture has been here. You can still find specimens of plants from all over the world here, a wonderful rock garden, a conservatory, whispering caves and the cascading Oliwa Stream. The stunningly impressive avenue is trimmed in July, and is called the 'Way to Eternity' by the Cistercians, measuring up to 112m. The the seventeenth century hornbeam avenue is also impressive. In the summer you can come here not just for a walk, but also for outdoor concerts.

The Oliwa Cathedral

The Cathedral Basilica is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, Blessed St Mary and St Bernard, and measures 107m, making it the longest church in Poland, and also the longest Cistercian church in the world! Its origins date back to the thirteenth century, but the Gothic building which we admire today dates from the fourteenth century. It was rebuilt after a great fire in 1350, and has since survived without any major changes, at least on the outside. You can still admire its two slender towers, each with a height of 46m, with sharply tipped domes. The latter which is a baroque portal dating from 1688, towers over the intersection of the nave tower bells, a typical element of Cistercian architecture. The Gothic features were not so lucky, as they were burned down in 1577. It is presently finished in a Baroque style, but there are hidden works of Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Classicism religious art, including 23 altars, the rococo chapels of St. John of Nepomuk and the Holy Cross, the pulpit, tombstones, epitaphs, as well as the tomb of the dukes of Pomorze. The pride of the church are undoubtedly the famous rococo organs from the years 1763-1788. They were made by the masters Jan Wulf and Frederyk Rudolf Dalitz. Originally, the instrument had 83 notes, 5,100 pipes, as well as 3 manual and 14 wedge bellows and was recognized as the biggest organ in Europe. Since that time it has been rebuilt several times. For years there have been organ concerts held here, and the buildings of the former monastery are now occupied by the Gdańsk Theological Seminary, and there is also room for the Diocesan Museum collection.

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