Gdańsk is as old as Poland itself. Located in the north of the country on the sea coast at the mouth of the Vistula, Gdańsk was the Polish gateway to the sea, a thriving, wealthy city, an important Hanseatic port and a Free City. In the 20th century, Gdańsk was the scene of the first battle of the Second World War. Like the heroes of ancient Thermopylae, the heroic defenders of Westerplatte wrote a chapter in the history of this majestic city. Being so prosperous, the city of Gdańsk was often besieged by mercenary armies and had to defend its sovereignty. It is no wonder that here in Gdańsk, the Solidarity movement and the struggle for the freedom of Poland, was born.

For centuries, ships from all over the world have moored at the Gdańsk waterfront. Today, tourists can board pleasure boats to take them on a cruise along the Baltic coast. The Old Town, also known as the Main Town, developed along ulica Długa (Long Street) and Długi Targ (Long Market). Ending at the Golden and Green Gates, these streets are lined with many historical monuments, art galleries and jewelers’ workshops. Here, one finds the Gothic Town Hall and the Artus Court where the town’s patricians played host to royalty. The nearby Golden House symbolizes the affluence of the local burghers. The Neptune Fountain is a meeting point popular with tourists and friends and lovers alike. It is here that the majority of Gdańsk summer art festivals are held, as well as the famous Dominican Fair which attracts many visitors from all over the world. A real masterpiece of architecture is the short ulica Mariacka (Holy Mary Street) with its narrow houses and spacious terraces under which are located amber jewelry galleries. Outside Gdańsk the Oliwa Cathedral is not to be missed. Its showpiece is a magnificent organ noted for its fine tone and Baroque ornamentation which uses mechanized figures.

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