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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.

Points of Interest

  • Malbork Castle
  • St. Mary's Church
  • Oliwa Cathedral
  • Sopot
  • Solidarity Square
  • Old City's Green Gate
  • Roads to Freedom
  • Gdansk Shipyards

More about Gdansk (Gdynia), Poland Points of Interest

  • Malbork Castle -

    Boasting fairytale-like proportions and rich, red-brick architecture, this UNESCO-designated medieval fortress and museum overlooks the River Nogat.

  • St. Mary's Church -

    The world's largest brick churches and a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, this Roman Catholic house of worship dates to the 14th century and has room for 25,000 parishioners inside.

  • Oliwa Cathedral -

    Dating back to the 12th century, this unique former monastery features castle-like towers, marble altars, several masterpieces of art and a legendary organ that was once the largest in all of Europe.

  • Sopot -

    Home to Europe's longest wooden pier, this charming seaside resort town contains The Crooked House, an unusual structure-and prime photo spot!-connected to a shopping center.

  • Solidarity Square -

    Located at the Gdansk shipyards in Gate Number Two, this famed site features a monument to the fallen workers of a historic 1970 strike who banded together in solidarity against the Communist regime.

  • Old City's Green Gate -

    Perhaps the most visited attraction in Gdansk, this renovated 16th-century Flemish building and stately city gate includes museum exhibition halls.

  • Roads to Freedom -

    This fascinating multimedia museum exhibition brings to life the harsh details of post-war communism in 20th-century Poland, from food rations to violent rebellions to a surge in art and culture.

  • Gdansk Shipyards -

    Put on the map in 1980 by the founding of Solidarity, the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union, these shipyards have delivered over 1,000 ships and have played host to many a historic strike.

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