Opened and modern, marked by the history. Welcome to Gdansk.
Despite the fact, the city is over one thousand years old, it impresses with modernity. Proud from its incredibly rich history, opened to the world and the future. With the view to the Baltic Sea, Motlawa River, Tricity Landscape Park. With the Westerplatte Peninsula, where WWII began, September 1 1939, the former Gdansk Shipyard areas and the historical gate no 2, the Gradowa Hill and the Vistulamouth Fortress, with its history form Napoleon times. Gdansk – the city at Motlawa River. A fantastic place to live, work and progress. The biggest city in the Northern part of Poland and one of its kind in the world.
Situated at the Baltic Bay, with the access to sandy beaches, which in Springs and Summers are full of life. Surrounded by picturesque forests of the Tricity Landscape Park and the close vicinity of Kashuby region. Gdansk is one of the most interesting cities on the map of Poland. It fascinates not only with the landscape but with the history too.. This is here, where starting from the Golden Gate to the Green Gate, Polish kings walked and greeted the citizens. This is here, where on the Long Market stands the Arthur’s Court and the Neptune Fountain – symbols of Gdansk.
There are more of those symbols. One of them I also, situated at the Long Embankment, the Crane, the biggest and the oldest, preserved port cranes from medieval Europe, a construction which from XV c. gave a dynamic growth to the port of Gdansk.
Gdansk is the city where famous astronomer, John Hewelius was born, the great physician, Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit and the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. This is the place, where Polish soldiers from Westerplatte bravery defended the state, when Schleswig-Holstein, the III Reich battle ship in 1939 attacked Polish Military Transit Depot, and started WWII. This is the place, where at Gdansk Shipyard, in 1980 workers started famous straik which triggered slow stream of changes in Poland and Central – Eastern part of Poland.
The European Solidarity Centre, Fot. Pomorskie.Travel
The most interesting attractions in Gdansk
Today, Gdansk is described as the city of freedom and Solidarity. About the history of the trade unions, called “Solidarity”, we can learn more about visiting the unique in the international scale European Solidarity Centre. Extremely original when architecture is concerned (in a shape of a ship), shows the exhibition about the Solidarity movement and is a place of many cultural events.
Lech Walesa, the first leader of the trade unions, “Solidarity”, the former President of Poland and the laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize, has his office here as well.
From the European Solidarity Centre, situated in the former shipyard areas it is not far to the WWII Museum. This is the newest and the most modern museum in the city, built in a big scale. It tells the story about the war in a wide international context.
Gdansk is also a fine place, not only for history lovers, but also for the ones, Who like astronomy and general science. There is Hewelianum Centre situated in a former napoleon’s fort. In one of Gdansk district, called Wrzeszcz, there is a monumental building of Gdansk Technical University, one on the best technical school in Poland.
Talking about Gdansk, we cannot forget about the parks – beautiful and cameral Orunia Park and the unique and vary popular park in Oliwa, which is situated few steps from the XIV c. Cathedral.
The Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre, Fot. Dawid Linkowski
Those are just few, the most characteristic places on the map of this over half million city. Gdansk is the city that all the times develops, where new objects of culture appear, like the Shakespeare Theatre, sport objects (the football stadium in Letnica, which has an amber shape), as well as new and modern infrastructure objects – for example: the port and the container terminal, the airport, which in becoming one of the most important airport around the Baltic states.
Gdansk is a modern city which attracts young people and with its history and tradition elder generations. Gdansk is a city which joins.
Zaspa- A block that became an art gallery.
It would seem that the history of the Zaspa district of Gdansk is a story typical of large blocks of Polish cities built in the times of the previous era. Nothing could be more wrong. Zaspa today is the largest art gallery in the open air. The great grey block walls became a canvas for muralists. Within a dozen or so years, one of the world's largest mural collections was created here. We talk about unique art on the block of flats with Jarosław Orłowski, a local guide to the Collection of Monumental Paintings in Zaspa in Gdansk.
Pomorskie.travel: Zaspa. One of the largest blocks of flats in the Tri-City. Zaspa has always been colourful because it was full of greenery. Nevertheless, some time ago murals started to appear on the huge block of flats. Where did it come from?
Jarosław Orłowski: Although it may seem obvious today, Zaspa has not always been as colourful as it is today. Back in the 1990s, it was still an unfinished project with undeveloped spaces, uplifted investments and green fields. In such a lunar landscape, Rafał Roskowiński decided to intervene, a pioneer of muralism in Poland, organizing the festival for the millennium anniversary of Gdansk.
Pomorskie.travel: Which murals were first and why?
Jarosław Orłowski: The first murals were created in 1997 as part of the international Festival of Monumental Painting organized by Rafał Roskowiński. The festival was one of the events for the millennium of Gdansk. In this way, the first 10 murals by artists from Poland, the United States, Lithuania and Mexico were created, which is considered the world cradle of muralism. The murals returned to Zaspa in 2008 as one of the projects as part of the city efforts to become European Capital of Culture. In 2009, the first edition of the Monumental Art Festival took place, thanks to which over the years 2009-2016 the collection was enriched by over 40 murals of artists from all over of the world.
Mural Shai Dahana, Pilotów 6f Street, fot. pomorskie.travel
Pomorskie.travel: Zaspa is a very important place on the historical map of Gdańsk and Poland. It's here at Pilotów 17 Street were President Lech Wałęsa lived. Here in the park in 1987 Pope John Paul II celebrated the mass. Therefore, Lech Wałęsa and Pope JPII have their murals ...
Jarosław Orłowski: In 1999, Rafał Roskowiński added one more work to the new collection, which is a fairly well-known mural from 303 Squadron Street presenting John Paul II and Lech Wałęsa. In the background of the mural, we can find a sketch of the papal altar from Zaspa, designed by the eminent Gdansk designer Marian Kołodziej. During this mass, the walls of the top blocks were covered with huge religious banners. Seeing them, Rafał Roskowiński thought that the top walls of the blocks in Zaspa are like big canvases waiting only to be painted. The idea materialized 10 years later thanks to the festival for the millennium anniversary of Gdansk.
Pomorskie.travel: Which, in your opinion, wall paintings deserve special attention of visitors?
Jarosław Orłowski: If I had to choose one, it would probably be the work of artists from Uruguay: Licuado and Alfaalf. The mural in Zaspa is the largest realization in the history of Uruguayan muralism. It presents a rooster with a crest, which is supposed to bring associations with the coat of arms of Gdansk and a Polish girl helping a Uruguayan boy in realizing his dreams. On the boy's shirt, except the Uruguay’s flag, we can see the badges that depict a yerba mate drinking cup, the most popular South American brew, Palacio Salvio, the most recognizable Montevideo building, a paint roller and the artists themselves holding hands.
Skarżyńskiego 6a Street, fot. pomorskie.travel
Pomorskie.travel: Well - the authors of the murals are both Poles and foreign artists. Which names are specific on this list and why?
Jarosław Orłowski: It is definitely worth paying attention to Mariusz Waras (m-city), the most famous Polish muralist in the world. Among the artists in the collection we have a very good representation of Italy: 2501 and Ozmo are the leading figures of Italian street art. If I were to recommend my favourite artist, I would probably point Shaia Dahana from the United States.
Pomorskie.travel: Are the Zaspa "canvases" already full? Are there plans to create more paintings? Will those who are already be there forever or will they be repainted?
Jarosław Orłowski: There are still some walls left in Zaspa, however, the Monumental Art Collection from the beginning was a project planned to end in 2016. The year 2016 was the end of the dynamic development of the gallery, but the works will still appear in Zaspa, and some will disappear, because this is the inevitable fate of wall painting in the open air.
Pomorskie.travel: You can visit the Zaspa by the path of murals. Where is the best way to start and what route to take?
Jarosław Orłowski: Zaspa is best visited with the Local Guides. The first walk is already 27 April as part of the national Day of Free Art. I invite you for regular walks from June to September. All walks are free. Details on our pages. If you come alone, it is worth having our recent guide book. The guide book with the map can be obtained free of charge at the Institute of Urban Culture. The order of murals in the guide and on the map was chosen according to the optimal route of sightseeing. It is easiest to get to Zaspa Młyniec by SKM or tram. We recommend to start the tour from the tram stop of Jana Pawła II or the SKM Zaspa stop.
Mural Shai Dahana, Pilotów 6f Street, fot. pomorskie.travel
Oliwa, a place with a soul
Zaspa- A block that became an art gallery
Pomorskie – the capital of amber
The Bishop’s Hill
Gdansk Lower Town
"The Last Judgment". The most valuable image in Gdansk
The Gdansk Water Supply Trail
Beach offer of the Tri-City
St. Mary’s Church
Wrzeszcz. A story about Gdansk from years ago.
The Gdańsk Brewing Tradition
Maritime Tradition and the Hanseatic League
The Main Town of Gdansk