The Pier in Sopot is one of the symbols of the health resort. Its history going back to the idea of creating a resort in the small fishing village on Gdansk Bay. The idea was pursued by Jean Georges Haffner, a French Doctor, who arrived there as an Army Doctor serving Napoleon’s troops and who decided to stay in Gdańsk after the imperial plans of the French emperor had been demolished. He is the creator of the whole infrastructure of bathing and tourist attractions in Sopot, including the pier going into the sea.
The first pier from Haffner’s times was only 30 metres long and was deconstructed before each winter to preserve its parts from sea storms. In the 19th Century it was extended to 150 metres and at the beginning of the 20th Century it was over 300 metres long, but today’s length results from the reconstruction which took place at the end of the 1920’s. Precise information on its current length depends on various measuring points chosen. The safest bet is to say that the pier in Sopot is approximately half a kilometre long.
It remains the longest wooden pier in Europe and was recently quite substantially modernised. First, in the 1890’s, its tip was secured with a concrete head against the strong forces of the sea, and then in the 20th Century the pier underwent general preservation works and a yacht harbour was constructed at its southern end.
For almost 200 years a walk across the pier remains the obligatory part of any visit to Sopot, notwithstanding where you arrived from, be it a long distance or just a weekend family walk. Half a kilometre into the sea for anyone who walked from the beach to the end of the pier offers a great view onto the Sopot panorama and helps discover the dangerous beauty of the sea.