Don’t miss (Top 10)
Monument to Fallen Shipyard Workers
December 1970 in Gdańsk, Gdynia, Szczecin and Elbląg was a time of labour strikes. A sudden increase in prices was the direct cause. The coastal areas were brutally pacified by the government. Ten years later, to commemorate the victims, a monument was erected – three crosses with anchors attached. Every cross weighs 36 tons and is 138 ft tall. Official delegations visiting Gdańsk usually place flowers at the foot of this monument. Don't forget to do so as well.
St. Mary's Basilica
The Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is said to be the largest brick church in the world. Its construction took place in two stages, beginning in 1343 and ending in 1502. The church contains many important works of medieval and baroque art. These includes a stone Pietà (from approximately 1410), a copy of Hans Memling's The Last Judgement and an astronomical clock from the second half of the 15th century constructed by Hans Düringer over a period of 7 years. The church is 344 ft long, including the tower battlements, and the vaults soar 95 ft above floor level. The solid main tower is 255 ft high and crowned with a viewing gallery, from which you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Make sure to climb it, even if you're afraid of heights.
The crane, built in the first half of the 15th century between the pylons of Brama Szeroka (the Wide Gate), became the city's symbol. In the Middle Ages it was the largest port crane in Europe, used for moving goods and raising ship masts. It was able to lift 4 tons to an altitude of 36 feet, and was powered by workers walking inside two tread wheels. The crane is currently part of the National Maritime Museum.
St. Mary's Street
Without a doubt, this is one of Gdańsk's most enchanting streets. It leads from St. Mary's church to the Long Embankment with the Medieval St. Mary's Gate. It is closed to road traffic, and full of life throughout the year thanks to its historical and architectural attractions. The setting has inspired numerous writers and painters down the ages, and been used as the setting for many movies. Ancient granite cobblestones and richly ornamented houses, once owned by prosperous goldsmiths and merchants, contribute to the area's unique character. Have a camera handy when visiting this area.
The Grand Mill
The Grand Mill was erected by the Teutonic Order in 1350. It was powered by the Radunia Channel with its 18 waterwheels, each 16 feet in diameter, and is an exceptional construction for the time. The mill's functions included a storehouse and bakery. After modernisation in the first half of the 19th century, the mill was in use until the end of World War II.
Długa Street and Długi Targ Street
Długa and Długi Targ (its extension) Streets are also known as the Trakt Królewski (the Royal Route) and rank among the most beautiful streets in Gdańsk. This area was once inhabited by patricians, which is why the houses are richly ornamented with crests, allegoric figures and images of ancient heroes. The city's most important secular buildings – the Hall of the Main City and the Artus Court – are on Długi Targ Street. When walking down this street, you're looking at Gdańsk's most ancient history.
The Neptune Fountain
The Neptune Fountain has stood in front of the Artus Court since 1633 and is seen as a symbol of Gdańsk. It was built on the initiative of Mayor Bartłomiej Schachmann, and the town council. The sculpture on which the fountain is based represents Neptune. It was designed by Abraham van den Blocke and cast in bronze in 1615 by Peter Husen and Johann Rogge in Augsburg. In the second half of the 18th century the fountain base was renovated in the rococo style and a large array of sea creatures were added. Throw a coin into the fountain and tempt fate to lead you back to Gdańsk.
The Uphagen House
The Uphagen House was erected in the second half of the 18th century by Jan Uphagen, who obliged future owners to preserve the house in its original form. Thanks to this agreement, the building's original character has been preserved and now houses the Museum of Patrician Interiors. The Uphagen House is a memory of Gdańsk's former glory. It features a hall, lofty interiors, a stone slab floor built and walls and ceilings decorated with stuccowork.
Westerplatte is a peninsula at the mouth of the so-called Dead Vistula river. Although there is not a lot to see here, the history of this place makes a visit worthwhile. It was here, on September 1, 1939, that the first shots of World War II were fired by the German Battleship Schleswig-Holstein. A Polish garrison of just 205 ill-equipped soldiers held out against two warships, aircraft, heavy guns and over 3,000 German troops for a week, losing only 14 men and killing 300 of the enemy.
In 1966 a Monument to the Coast Defenders was erected there and stands to this day. It's 82 ft high (plus a 66 ft high base). The shape of the monument resembles a serrated bayonet plunged into the ground.
To get to Westerplatte you can catch a boat from the bottom of the main street in Gdańsk Old Town. This boat will take you through the old shipyard. On Westerplatte you can also paddle in the Baltic Sea. You can also get there by car.
St. Catherine's Church
St. Catherine's is the oldest parish church of the Old Town, erected between 1227 and 1239. It was founded by the princes of Gdańsk Pomerania. Expanded in the 14th century, it was a Protestant place of worship between 1555 and 1945. The tower of this church is 249 ft tall and crowned with a baroque helmet designed by Jacob van den Block. The current carillon, composed of 49 bells and weighing 15 tons, was created from 1989–1998. Be sure to have a look at the paintings by Anton Möller and Izaak van den Blocke, as well as the baroque epitaphs and Johannes Hevelius' tombstone.