As you wander around the Old Town in Gdansk and marvel at the stunning architecture and rich renaissance facades of the houses, you would never imagine that these are replicas of the existing buildings destroyed during the war.
Seventy years ago however, Adolf Hitler sent his troops into Gdansk to bring the city under the German flag, thus sparking a nasty little spat which we know as World War II. Since then the city seems to have been put under a curse and has been bombed, burned, battered and flattened – it is a true miracle that the city still exists.
The city of Gdansk lies on the southern edge of the Baltic Sea, in a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdynia – together they form a metropolitan area called the Tricity.
Each part of the Tricity provides a diverse experience for those travelling to this fascinating country. Gdansk, with its history, architecture and rich heritage. Sopot, during the summer months has beaches that would rival any Mediterranean resort and hotels and attractions to suit all, it’s no wonder it is known at Poland’s seaside capital. Then there is Gdynia, a harbour city with excellent restaurants and a growing reputation for nightlife and whilst not as historical as its tri sisters, far more ‘trendy’.
Gdansk is the birthplace of solidarity and 2009 marks its 20th anniversary. The Solidarity movement, under the leadership of Gdansk political activist Lech Walesa, played a major role in bringing an end to Stalinist rule across Central Europe. A fascinating multimedia exhibition entitled ‘Roads to Freedom’ is arranged at the historic Industrial Safety Hall of the Gdansk shipyard, near to the monument of the Fallen Shipyard Workers. There you can also see the famous Plaques with 21 demands of August ’80 scribbled in hand on two plywood boards – well worth a visit to remind you where the road to freedom began in this part of Europe.
Places we recommend you visit when in Poland
- Neptune Fountain. This is the symbol of Gdansk’s bond with the sea.
- Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Built for over 150 years is the largest European sacral structure of brick.
- Cemetery of Nonexistent Cemeteries. The monument commemorates all burial grounds that have been lost in the city’s history, destroyed in stormy events and war turmoil.
- The Crane. This represents what little is left of the city’s great trading age.
- The Amber Museum. The home of the worlds largest display of natural amber block and a chance to purchase some stunning pieces of amber jewellery.
2010 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Chopin, so expect many fabulous events and festivals based on Chopin’s work and accomplishments.
To find out more about Gdansk or Poland in general please call Andrew or Gemma on 01428 658 777.