In its history of over thousand years the city of Gdańsk has witnessed events changing the course of world history. Here, on 1st September 1939, WWII started, changing the whole world. Gdańsk is also the place of origin of Solidarity, the social movement which caused the end of communist regime.
The dynamic growth of the city was broken by wars which occurred in Poland in the 16th and 17th Centuries and caused the collapse of the country and the city. Gdansk lost its significance after being taken over by Prussia. Before WWII it had the status of a Free City which was meant to help in the growing conflicts between Polish and German residents. On 1 September 1939 the city witnessed the outbreak of WWII and was heavily devastasted during the war. 90% of the city centre, including its most precious part – the Main Town, was ruined.
After the war the slow process of Gdansk’s reconstruction started. The most important monuments were rebuilt with much effort. The country was run by communists at the time. The harbours of Gdańsk and Gdynia hosted the strikes against the communist regime. In December 1970 riots started and more than ten Gdańsk residents were killed. Ten years later in August 1980 Solidarity was created in the Gdańsk Shipyard, led by Lech Wałęsa, the future Nobel Prize laureate and president of Poland. Soon the famous August Treaty was signed, which legalised the Solidarity. The introduction of martial law did not stop the “snowballing mechanism” of Solidarity. In 1989 the Round Table talks took place and in the next year the opposition had its victory as a result of a democratic election.
Nowadays Gdańsk is one of the main cities in Poland, dynamically growing and remembering its past. It is a place for those who want to feel the history, those who want to explore the past in perspective. Also those who like spending their holiday in the city and enjoy sunbathing on the beach should find Gdansk a perfect destination.
European Solidarity Centre
The ESC is a cultural institution that was established in 2007 by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, the City of Gdańsk, the Local Government of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, NSZZ Solidarność and the Solidarity Centre Foundation.
The usable area of the new ESC building, which is under construction, amounts to nearly 26 thousand square metres. Apart from the permanent exhibition, there have also been planned space for temporary exhibitions, a library and a reading room, a mediatheque, a research and science centre, an education and training centre and creative workshop laboratories for the young.
St Marys Chruch
The largest church in Gdańsk, and also in Poland, and the biggest brick church in the world, St. Mary’s Church is a special place not only due to its size, but due to the centuries of history which are enclosed inside it.
St. Mary’s Church in Gdańsk, properly called the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the finest historical building in Gdańsk. It took 159 years to construct this giant, in phases according to the growing technical possibilities and the wealth of the church community.
The Main Town of Gdansk
The most representative part of Gdańsk. Reconstructed after it was demolished during WWII, this precious architectonical complex proves the past golden era of Gdańsk as the wealthiest city in the Republic of Poland in the 16th and 17th Centuries, a huge commercial, scientific and cultural centre of contemporary Europe.
The wealth of the old Gdańska is proven by outstanding pieces of architecture such as the City Hall, St. Mary’s Church, the Arthus Court and the Golden Gate. Today the inner city attracts large number of tourists who want to enjoy the magic of this city.