Those who haven't visited the Main Town for a few years may be surprised to see how it has changed. The landmarks, such as the Crane, the Main Town Hall and Neptune's Fountain have remained the same, but everything else seems to change, revive, and in some cases, even take on a new appearance. Let's take a walk and have a look!
The heart of Gdańsk is the Royal Route, which begins at the Highland Gate – a characteristic Renaissance edifice located in Wały Jagiellońskie Street, the main road in the city centre. Follow the route once taken by monarchs entering the city, which passes through the Golden Gate and leads down Długa Street and Długi Targ Street to the Green Gate. Buildings and historical sites located along the route, a picture well-known from postcards, including the Town Hall and the Artus Court, are gradually renovated. But the greatest changes are to be introduced in the forthcoming years. A thorough modernisation of the entire Royal Route planned by the city authorities will include, among others, replacing old paving blocks.
Go through the Green Gate and reach the Motława River. Here, you would usually turn left and go to the Crane along the Motława River Embankment. But now, a new alternative has been offered. Granary Island, once lying in ruins from the end of the Second World War, is constantly changing, complementing the horizon of the Main Town and opening up brand new opportunities. In the recent years, Stągiewna Street has been generally revitalised and has become a vibrant and enchanting promenade; now it’s a deserving extension of the Royal Route and a popular meeting place. Go straight over the bridge, cross the Motława River, and you’ll reach the island, which has undergone the most intensive metamorphosis.
The first spark that triggered changes in this area was the modernisation of the quayside on the northern island headland in 2014. As a result, a place avoided by tourists and locals has become their favourite walking promenade. Within the next few years, the entire northern part of Granary Island will be developed – new hotels, residential areas, bars and restaurants, service premises, and public spaces are to be built. The Main Town is moving into a new era. A number of new hotels, which perfectly blend in the urban landscape of the ‘new’ island, were opened there within the last few years.
Go through the Stągiewna Gate and over the bridge, then go left to Szafarnia Street leading along the New Motława River and the yacht marine. It’s the shortest way to another island – Ołowianka, famous for the Polish Baltic Philharmonic, Sołdek and the National Maritime Museum. You don’t have to go back the same way to return to the left side of the Motława River – now you may use one of the most spectacular Gdańsk investments of the last few years. It’s the footbridge built last year, which has connected two sides of the Motława River. This 70‑metre long structure makes it possible to get fast from Ołowianka Island to Wartka Street, which is only a few minutes away from the Crane.
This year, Gdańsk will put up another footbridge – a rotating one! – that will connect Granary Island and the Motława River Embankment near popular Św. Ducha Street, which, by the way, has also been comprehensively modernised.
As you can see, the changes are far‑reaching, and a boost of new urban energy in the heart of Gdańsk is reflected in a true investment boom. Accommodation facilities in Tricity have increased by over thousand rooms within the last year and a half, most of which are hotels set up or developed in the Main Town and its surroundings. And this is only the beginning – the city plans new investments, for example, a hotel boutique housed in a historical building of the Bank of Poland, near the Highland Gate. 1000‑year‑old Gdańsk is ready for a new crowd of visitors.
You can observe and photograph the Main Town from a breath-taking perspective of the AmberSky Observation Wheel, which now operates throughout the year and is highly popular both among tourists and locals. This 50‑metre high structure is located on Granary Island, in Chmielna Street.