Gdansk’s Green Gate, Poland

20100606-Gdansk_AuroraHDR_HDR-Edit

The “Green Gate” of Gdansk, Poland

Until very recently, controlling a port meant power. In fact, this is still the case in many ways considering that about 90% of world’s trade is still carried by the international shipping industry. Long before the invention of the airplane – and before that, the train and the truck – shipping was the method of transport. European powers have been obsessed with finding trade routes to Asia for hundreds of years (inspiring the famed Columbus voyage in 1492… as well as others), going so far as to construct the Panama and Suez canals. During the 15th and 16th centuries, the Russians (who occupied central Russia at the time) had control only of a few northern (and frozen!) ports. Baltic ports were controlled largely by the Lithuanian Empire, or by powers centralized in Riga and Tallinn. The Hanseatic League as well controlled much of the trade in North, Eastern and Central Europe. Russians had staggering amounts of natural resources – but few ports, thereby instigating the struggle for control of the Baltic Sea. Though Gdansk, located in northern Poland on the Baltic Sea, was not controlled by the Russians, other powers (German, Lithuanian, Teutonic Knights…) have their histories mingled with that of Gdansk. Indeed, the Baltic city has been an influential port for nearly a 1,000 years! Today, the Polish city is still an important port, not to mention a hub for Poles on holiday in search of the sea. It is also one of the best places in the world to purchase amber!


Pro tip: Some of Gdansk’s most photogenic and picturesque spots is in the Long Market, bookend-ed with the Green Gate (that’s actually pink…) leading to the waterfront on the other side. 


Travel to Other Beautiful Places near the Baltic Sea
  1. Malbork Castle, Poland
  2. Riga, Latvia
  3. Tallinn, Estonia
  4. St Petersburg, Russia
  5. Stockholm, Sweden
  6. The Baltic Sea

 

Advertisements

Gdansk Waterfront, Poland

gdanskwater

Gdansk, Poland

Light blue skies hang over the waterfront buildings of this Polish city. Located in northern Poland, Gdansk is one of the “trojmiescie” cities. Together with Gdynia and Sopot, these three cities make up the “Tricity” region thanks to their close proximity to each other. In fact, they are so close that the same tram/bus network services all three, and it is quite normal to live/stay in Gdansk and party in Gdynia then shop in Sopot the next day. Once part of Germany (‘Gdansk’ was called ‘Danzig’ and still is called so by German tourists), this region on the Baltic Sea is today known for its beaches (in Poland, that is), and its amber production (worldwide!). It also happens to be beautiful. While the city isn’t exactly on the Baltic, (the water here is the Motlawa River), it’s only a hop, skip and a jump away from the infamous sea. A visit to Gdansk during the summer months will be pleasantly spent, no matter whether you’re sitting along the river, digging your toes in the sand of one of the surrounding beaches, eating at one of the many pleasant cafes and restaurants on the main street or dancing your heart out in one of the Tricity’s many nightclubs!

 

Gdansk, Poland

greengate

Green Gate, Gdansk, Poland

The Brama Zielona, as it is called in Polish, towers over the far end of the Long Market (differing from most Polish market squares which are typically square in shape, often with the city hall or some other monument in the centre). The Gate was built in 1568-71 as a residence for the Polish monarchy, and was inspired by Antwerp’s City Hall (in the linked photo, the city hall is to the far left-hand side; google it for further views). This tie to the Belgian city also explains the Flemish influence in the Poland’s Baltic gem. Now a museum of Polish history, it even includes the second president of post-Communist Poland’s office. After traversing Gdansk’s beautiful Long Market, step through the magnificent Brama Zielona to enjoy the city’s beautiful waterfront on the Motława River!

Long Street, Gdansk, Poland

Gdansk market sq

Down Ulica Długa to Długi Targ (Long Street to Long Market), Gdansk, Poland

This beautiful Polish city on the Baltic Sea hasn’t always been Polish…in fact, it hasn’t always been called by its’ Polish name, “Gdansk.” Because the city has historically laid upon the border between Slavic and Germanic controlled territories, it has switched hands at least 15 times since being founded in 997. Its position on the Baltic Sea made it a disputed city in WWII, with the Germans taking control of “Danzig.” And like so many other Polish cities, it was demolished in the war, and, once again like all the other cities, had to be painstakingly rebuilt and restored by dedicated citizens–though some German vestiges still exist and German tourists are still plenty. Along with Gdynia and Sopot, the three cities form the Tri-city (Trójmiasto) region, with 1.4 million inhabitants. The Long Street/Long Market is one of the most beautiful market squares in Poland and even in Europe (though it’s not really a square…more of a rectangle!), and even more lovely in warm weather as the Baltic Sea is a just a hop, skip and a jump away!


Travel to Other Beautiful Places near the Baltic Sea
  1. Malbork Castle, Poland
  2. Riga, Latvia
  3. Tallinn, Estonia
  4. St Petersburg, Russia
  5. Stockholm, Sweden
  6. The Baltic Sea