The wealth of the old Gdańska is proven by outstanding pieces of architecture such as the City Hall, St. Mary’s Church, the Arthus Court and the Golden Gate. Today the inner city attracts large number of tourists who want to enjoy the magic of this city.
What is usually referred to as the Old Town in most Polish monumental cities in Gdańsk is called the Main Town. This may be the only example in the world where the Old Town does not imply the oldest part of the city. In Gdańsk the Old Town means the area where St. Catherine’s Church, the Great Mill and Madison Shopping Mall are located, while the Main Town is the area where Long (Długa) Street and Long Market (Długi Targ) are located.
The Long Street and the Long Market are the most important communication ducts of the area, which has been the most representative of Gdańsk over the centuries. The wealthiest residents lived here in their great houses. Polish kings used to arrive in the City through here, together with their retinues. The tallest of all buildings of the Royal Route is the City Hall, built in the renaissance style with its 80 meters tall tower. The Long Market is the City’s most representative part, with the Artus Court and Neptune’s fountain, the symbol of Gdańsk, as well as the Green Gate, through which there is a passage to the old harbour on Motława. Along the river there is the Long Pier (Długie Pobrzeże) and Fishermans’ Pier (Rybackie Pobrzeże) joined into a promenade with numerous restaurants and cafes capturing the unique atmosphere of the old harbour city.
The grid of streets in the Main Town reminds you of a chessboard as all streets are at right angles to each other. The remaining main streets are located parallel to the Royal Route, lead to Motława and finish at the medieval water gates. The famous St.Mary’s (Mariacka) Street is the most beautiful of these, with its porches and amber galleries, which are the most spectacular in Europe. The promenade, full of tourists and numerous restaurant gardens serving food in summer, is located on Bier (Piwna) Street, which gradually becomes the second most important artery of the Main Town. It starts with the Grand Armoury and ends at the huge tower of St. Mary’s Church, the biggest brick church in the world. The more private character can be attributed to the Holy Spirit (Św. Ducha) Street, within its Baroque Royal Chapel, and St.John’s (Świętojańska) Street with two gothic churches – St. Nicholas’ and St. John’s. Hound (Ogarna) Street remains slightly forgotten (unfairly) with the Gothic Cow’s Gate at its end. The Coal Market (Targ Węglowy) is the venue of numerous concerts and cultural events with the Prison Tower and the Torture Chamber. The gate opening the Royal Route, the High Gate, contains the modern Tourist Information Centre of Pomerania.