Gdansk (Gdynia), Poland
Gdynia is your gateway port to Poland's fabled city of Gdansk. The city is over a millennium old - the first mention of Gdansk in history occurs in the year 997 A.D. A member of the Hanseatic League, Gdansk was the richest port on the Baltic and a cultural center that drew artists and intellectuals from across Europe. That heritage was imperiled, however, on September 1, 1939, when a German warship opened fire on a garrison north of the city, heralding World War II. By the war's end, Gdansk was in ruins and proud Poland lay in the grip of Russian occupation. The city proved indomitable as residents set about rebuilding the old city. In 1980, the spirit of Gdansk's people proved even stronger than the iron grip of communism: a food riot led to the birth of Solidarity, the trade-labor movement that played a pivotal role in bringing down the Iron Curtain.
Gdansk is one of the amber centers of the world. This petrified tree resin has been revered for both jewelry and as a source of folk remedies for centuries. Gdansk's Old Town is a superb place to browse for amber jewelry and goods.