A Guide to Poland’s Port City, Gdansk
Posted on February 08, 2013 by sguese
Gdansk has long accepted its role as a port city. And with being a port city, the Polish city
has seen visitors of a friendly nature and those who wanted Gdansk as their own. Diverse nations have converged here, which explains Gdansk’s distinctive architecture. While rebuilt after World War II, the city regales in its grand and elegant buildings. Those who can’t appreciate Gdansk’s architecture can find enjoyment throughout the city’s dockside beer garden and river cruises.
Adding to the mix of medieval and Renaissance rooftops is the St. Mary’s Church. It is believed to be the largest old brick church in the world, measuring 105 meter long and 66 meters wide. Its squat tower reaches a height of 78 meters. What began in 1343 is now one of Gdansk’s standout structures.
If there is a chill in the air of this port city, head indoors to one of the city’s many museums. The Amber Museum sparks the attention of jewelry fans. Housed in the Foregate, the museum tells of the history of Baltic gold, otherwise known as amber. A more extensive museum presents in Gdansk with the National Museum. Set up in a former Franciscan monastery, the museum is considered one of the best in all of Poland. It holds both Polish and international arts and crafts including Hans Memlings Last Judgment from 1472 to 1473 along with paintings, wood carvings, fabrics, porcelain and furniture.
After trolling through a few of the cities museums, take a stroll along Long Street, also known as Royal Route or Royal Way in Gdansk. The thoroughfare is one of Eastern Europe’s most impressive avenues. Set up like a pedestrian mall, you can stroll through this gorgeously restored area of the city. Be sure to take not of the Golden Gate, hailing from the 17th century and the Town Hall stemming from the 13th century.
While Long Street and St. Mary’s Church has become symbols to this city, Gdansk’s main icon is The Crane. Dating back to the Middle Ages, the Crane was once the largest port crane in all of Europe. It served as a city gate in Gdansk, opened by men walking inside a huge wooden wheel.
Close out a day in Gdansk by seeking out its legends at the Neptune Fountain. According to legend, the fountain once spewed the city’s trademark liqueur Goldwasser. It is said the liqueur gushed out of the trident and Neptune found himself endangered by drunks. Today, you might not get so lucky to sample a few drinks here, but you can appreciate the bronze state, the work of Peter Husen from 1606 to 1613.
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