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🇵🇱 Welcome to Pomeranian Poland!

Polonia 🇵🇱 - en español muchachos, obvio!

Poland lies in the Central Europe, formerly known as Pomerania; Its location played a crucial part in creating and shaping Poland’s history, culture, art, customs and traditions. As a gateway between the East and the West, Poland was a natural meeting place for trade, exchange of ideas, international politics, and a melting pot of multiple cultures. Today it stands as a modern European nation, still retaining that Old World charm, inviting anyone who wishes to discover and explore a destination like no other!

Gdansk 🇵🇱

💨 full of violent wind and perfect sunshine ☀️ enveloped by a chill spring wind, this was one of my favorite Baltic cities … this amber-like city, full of yellows and reds when the sun shone before dusk, is well worth the journey. In fact, it is many visitors’ most favorite Polish city!

After leaving the port, we passed the Gdańsk shipyards, also known as Lenin shipyards, as well as the famous monument of Solidarity Square that commemorates the deaths of shipyard workers who were shit dead there in December of the infamous year: 1970! 😈

We strolled through the beautiful medieval old town with its architectural cocktail of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque monuments (this fierce former Hanseatic city reminded me of my recent visit to Prague, in the Czech Republic - but with a riskier, Polish flair … sort-of-speak: not as compact as Prague and more haphazardly planned - but it works)!

We visited the famous Saint Mary’s church - the ‘Pride of Gdańsk’ - the world’s largest brick 🧱 church with a capacity of 25,000.

☝🏻 The highlight of my visit was the 13-century Catholic Oliwa Cathedral: a building which combines Romanesque, Gothic and Rococo styles and which was built atop the grounds of an old Cistercian monastery 👻 - the quiche, te cuuuuroooo… (I know it’s the other way around - but I like how it sounded). The cathedral boasts a superb collection of three ornate organs consisting of 7876 tin and wood pipes that can imitate the sounds of different musical instruments and natural voices:

… I thought I was in heaven! ☁️☁️☁️

Gdansk 🇵🇱

is a beautiful city located on the Baltic Sea …. and this pearl of city is well worth the journey north. In fact, it’s my favorite Polish city!

For the best experience, plan on spending at least two to three days here. This gives you enough time to explore the old city, visit two of the best museums in Poland, and eat your heart out at some amazing restaurants. You can also take several day trips, if you have more time. Get your Baltic beach time in at Sopot and Gydnia or visit Malbork, one of the largest castles in Europe.

A quick History of Gdansk:

Knowing a bit of background information is very important to truly appreciate a visit to Gdansk.

For hundreds of years, the city of Gdansk bounced back and forth from being German territory and Polish territory. While under German rule, the city went by the name Danzig.

On September 1, 1939, the first fighting of World War II began just outside of Gdansk. The German forces won an easy victory, not only in Gdansk, but in all of Poland. For the duration of World War II, Poland suffered under Nazi rule, until it was “liberated” by the Soviets in 1945.

In 1980, in the Gdansk shipyards, the Solidarity trade union movement began. This peaceful movement was one of the first major rebellions against the communist regime and ultimately led to the downfall of communist rule in 1989.

At the end of WWII, Gdansk endured heavy air raids by the Allied troops and the Soviets. The city was rebuilt in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Architects did not want to rebuild the city with the original Germanic architecture that was part of the city’s pre-war appearance. Now, the city looks more Dutch and French than German, much different than it did in 1939.

Best Things to do in Gdansk

Walk the length of Dlugi Targ

Dlugi Targ, also known as the Long Market or Royal Way, is the main thoroughfare through Gdansk. The entire street is only 500 meters long, so you can walk it in just 10 minutes, but for the best experience, there are some things to stop and see along the way.

As you walk down Dlugi Targ, here are the best places to visit:

The Golden Gate

— sits at the western end of the street. As you look down Dlugi Targ, you can see cafes and shops lining the street and the iconic Town Hall tower. During the day, this can be a crowded place. But at night or during the early morning hours, it is quiet and peaceful.

Bar Mleczny Neptun

This is a milk bar, a Polish “cafeteria.” These milk bars popped everywhere after World War I, as a way for the Polish people to get nourishing meals at cheap prices. Now, these are rare to find in city centers, although a few still remain. If you want to try a cheap, local meal or want to take part in a Polish tradition, Bar Neptun is one of the best milk bars in Gdansk.

Main Town Hall. Visit the museum and/or take in the view from the top of the tower.

Neptune Fountain. The Neptune fountain is a very popular photo spot in Gdansk. It always had a group of camera wielding tourists around it (and we were no different)!

Artus Court

Just behind the Neptune fountain is Artus Court, which was once a meeting place for merchants and dignitaries. It is now a museum.

Dlugi Targ ends at the Green Gate. Once you pass through here, you step out onto the Green Bridge (Zielony Most) and the waterfront of Gdansk.

The Main Town Hall (Ratusz Glownego Miasta)

The Main Town Hall is located on Dlugi Targ, next to the Neptune fountain. Just look for the green, Gothic clock tower and you are in the right place.

For the best view over Gdansk, climb to the top of the tower. From here, you can look down at the entire stretch of Dlugi Targ, across the Motlawa River, and on a clear day, out to the Baltic Sea. Also in the Town Hall is the Gdansk History Museum, worthwhile for history lovers.

St. Mary’s Church

St. Mary’s Church dominates the old town of Gdansk. It is one of the largest brick churches in the world. As far as churches and cathedrals go, it ranks low in beauty and grandeur (in my opinion). The interior of the church was whitewashed after WWII, hiding the frescoes underneath, and leaving a rather drab, forlorn appearance.

For another great view of Gdansk, climb the 408 steps to the top of the bell tower. It’s a long, thigh-burning climb to the top but worth it if you like this kind of thing. I’m glad we did it, but the view from the Town Hall tower is our favorite.

The Waterfront and Motlawa River

This is just as nice (and maybe even better) than Dlugi Targ for a nice stroll. For the best views (and just a little more walking), I recommend walking down both sides of the Motlawa River.

From the Green Gate, cross the Green Bridge and walk north along the river. On this side of the river, lots of construction is going on. Huge, concrete skeletons of futures buildings are being erected. Ignore those and look across the river to the beautiful waterfront.

One building that stands out is the crane (Zuraw). This crane was used hundreds of years ago to load cargo into ships. The hulking mass is a symbol of Gdansk’s days as an important trading city. If you are interested, you can take a tour of the crane.

Cross back over the river and walk down Dlugie Pobrzeze, the street that runs along the brick buildings. This walk takes you past some very nice restaurants and shops. If you continue on, you can cross the pedestrian drawbridge and take a photo at the Gdansk sign.

You can climb the tower of the St. Catherine’s Church for a unique perspective, and a very unique experience. This is unlike any other tower climb we have done. Rather than a narrow stone spiral staircase or old rickety, wooden steps, you climb wide metal steps through rooms that are lit with colorful neon lights. On exhibit are gears, weapons, and historical artifacts. It’s rather odd, but refreshing in its uniqueness.

European Solidarity Center (Europejskie Centrum Solidarnosci)

In this nearly brand new, well-laid out museum, learn about the historical events of the Polish opposition to communist rule.

First you will see the Monument of the Fallen Shipyard Workers of 1970, which commemorates the 42 people who were killed in 1970.

Once inside of the museum, step back in time and learn about the events that led to the solidarity movement and how this peaceful process helped to change Poland from a communist state to a democratic one. Solidarnosc was one of the important factors that led to the fall of communism, not only in Poland, but in other central and eastern European countries.


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