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Gdansk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast, at the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.The city lies on the southern edge of Gdansk Bay (of the Baltic Sea), in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the Tricity (Trojmiasto), with a population of over 800,000.Gdansk itself has a population of 455,830 (June 2010), making it the largest city in the Pomerania region of Northern Poland.Gdansk is Poland's principal seaport as well as the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship.It is also historically the largest city of the Kashubian region.The city is close to the former late medieval/modern boundary between West Slavic and Germanic lands and it has a complex political history with periods of Polish rule, periods of German rule, and extensive self-rule, with two spells as a free city. It has been part of modern Poland since 1945.

Gdansk is situated at the mouth of the Motława River, connected to the Leniwka, a branch in the delta of the nearby Vistula River, whose waterway system supplies 60% of the area of Poland and connects Gdansk to the national capital in Warsaw. This gives the city a unique advantage as the centre of Poland's sea trade. Together with the nearby port of Gdynia, Gdansk is also an important industrial centre. Historically an important seaport and shipbuilding centre, Gdansk was a member of the Hanseatic League.The city was the birthplace of the Solidarity movement which, under the leadership of political activist Lech Walesa, played a major role in bringing an end to Communist rule across Central Europe.The city's name is thought to originate from the Gdania River,the original name of the Motlawa branch on which the city is situated. Gdansk and Gdania are considered to be derivations from the Gothic name of the area (Gutiskandja),however this has also been questioned.Like many other Central European cities, Gdańsk has had many different names throughout its history.

The city suffered a slow economic decline due to the wars of the 18th century, when it was taken by the Russians after the Siege of Danzig in 1734. Danzig was annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia in 1793. During the era of Napoleon Bonaparte the city became a free city in the period extending from 1807 to 1814. After France's defeat in the Napoleonic Wars it again became part of Prussia and became the capital of Regierungsbezirk Danzig within the province of West Prussia from 1815. The city's longest serving Regierungsprasident was Robert von Blumenthal, who held office from 1841, through the revolutions of 1848, until 1863. The city became part of the German Empire in 1871.The seasons are clearly differentiated. Spring starts in March and is initially cold and windy, later becoming pleasantly warm and often very sunny. Summer, which begins in June, is predominantly warm but hot at times (with temperature reaching as high as 30-35C at least once per year) with plenty of sunshine interspersed with heavy rain. The average annual hours of sunshine for Gdansk are 1600, similar to other Northern cities. July and August are the hottest months. Autumn comes in September and is at first warm and usually sunny, turning cold, damp and foggy in November. Winter lasts from December to March and includes periods of snow.

How to Reach

By Air

Gdansk Lech Walesa Airport (IATA: GDN, ICAO: EPGD) is an international airport located 12 km west northwest of Gdansk,Poland not far from the city centres of the Tricity metropolitan area: Gdansk (12 km), Sopot (10 km) and Gdynia (23 km).The airport is named after Lech Walesa, the former Polish president.On the outside wall of the terminal building one can see the logo of the airport, which is Lech Walesa's actual signature, a stylized "W".

By Train

The main railway station, Gdansk Glowny, is a beautiful historic building, although a rather confusing experience to non-Polish tourists.Information in languages other than Polish is almost non-existent.Beware of pickpockets and people who may try to intimidate you for money around the railway station, especially late at night. There is very little available in the way of food outside of business hours except for a tiny coffee / snack stall at the rear of the station with only one small table outside.PKP operates long distance trains to other cities in Poland and Europe.Train timetable is available online.Buy a ticket before you enter the train. It is advisable to write the name of your destination on a piece of paper and then show it to the ticket sales person, as other languages than polish are rarely spoken.Foreigners trying to pronounce the name of polish destinations often cause confusion.

By Bus

The bus station is located just behind the main railway station.Buses can be used to travel to regional destinations that lack railway connections, such as the concentration camp in Sztutowo.

By Ferries

Polferries operates ferry service between Gdansk and Nynashamn, just south of Stockholm, Sweden.The trip takes 18 hours and costs EUR70.Stena Line operates ferry service between Gdynia and Karlskrona, Sweden.The trip takes 12.5 hours and costs EUR50.Finnlinesoperates ferry service between Gdynia and Helsinki, Finland.The trip takes 21 hours and costs EUR55 (low season) or EUR80 (high season).

Key places to visit
Golden Gate, Artus Court, Green Gate, Baltic Institute


Places to Visit

Golden Gate

In Gdansk,Poland is one of the most notable tourist attractions of the city.It was raised in 1612–14 in place of the 13th century gothic gate (Brama Dlugouliczna).It is located at one end of Long Lane,where together with Brama Wyzynna and Wieza Wiezienna,it forms a part of the old city fortifications.It was designed by architect Abraham van den Blocke and was constructed by Jan Strakowski. The architectural style of the gate is Dutch manierism. Next to it is the late-gothic building of the Brotherhood of St.George.Both sides of the gate have attiques, with figures symbolising citizen's qualities. They were designed in 1648 by Jeremias Falck ("Polonus"), and reconstructed in 1878 due to the originals being damaged by time and climate.

Artus Court

Is a building in the centre of Gdansk, Poland at Dlugi Targ 44, which used to be the meeting place of merchants and a centre of social life. Today it is a point of interest of numerous visitors and a branch of the Gdansk History Museum.Artus Court was seriously damaged during the East Pomeranian Offensive of the Red Army in 1945, but it was rebuilt after the war. A vast part of the equipment, including the furnace, was reconstructed with the use of materials from the city hidden before the front's moving into Gdansk.The building was entered into register of monuments on 25 February 1967.Currently the interior of the Artus Court is open for visitors - there is also the department of the Gdańsk History Museum.

Green Gate

is one of the most notable tourist attractions of the city.It is situated between Long Market (Dlugi Targ) and the River Motlawa.Today the Green Gate houses the National Museum in Gdansk.Various exhibitions, meetings, conferences and shows are organized here. In one room, the office of former President Lech Walesa is located.Together with the Golden Gate and the Highland Gate it was used to span the Long Street and Long Market, called the Royal Route. The Green Gate is a building which is clearly inspired by the Antwerp City Hall.It was built between 1568-1571 to serve as the formal residence of the Polish monarchs.It is a masterpiece by Regnier (or Reiner van Amsterdam), the architect from Amsterdam and reflects the influence of the Flemish architecture in the city.Hans Kramer likely participated in the construction.On 11-20 February 1646 the future Queen of Poland, Marie Louise Gonzaga, was entertained here.The Nature Society, located here in the late 18th century, soon moved to the House of Naturalists (Research Society House).

Baltic Institute

The Baltic Institute was established in 1925 in Torun, beginning real activities in 1927, with the main goal of documenting the Polish heritage in Pomerania after 100 years of German occupation and Germanization practices.In 1931 a branch was established in Gdynia.During the German occupation of Poland in World War II the institute was abolished by the Nazis.The Baltic Institute was re-established in 1945 with its headquarters first in Bydgoszcz, Sopot and then in Gdansk.New branches were opened in Gdynia, Sopot, Torun, Bydgoszcz and Szczecin. During the big reorganization of the scientific societies in Pomerania, in 1950 the institute became a part of the Western Institute in Poznan, but was made independent again in 1958 with its headquarters in Gdansk.

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