The Golden Gate
The Golden Gate
The Golden Gate was built on the location of the mediaeval Długa Street Gate during the years 1612-1614, according to the design of Abraham van den Blocke.
This is one of the most valuable monuments of late Renaissance architecture, with visible Netherlandic and Italian influence. The form and symbolism of the gate refer to classic traditions. Deprived of its defensive functions, it became a something of a triumphal arch, an allegory of the city's wealth and power. This great triumphal arch with two storeys of columns leads to the representative Długa Street. Royal processions used to enter Gdańsk through the Golden Gate.
Both facades of the building are almost identical. The lower storey, with an arcade passage and symmetrical walkways on the sides, hosts Ionic columns set on high pedestals. The upper, divided by a row of arcade windows, presents Corinthian columns. The light-grey walls are covered with Netherlandic decorative elements - stylised fruit, vegetables, cones and other plant themes.
A colourful Gdańsk coat of arms is located above the main passage on both sides of the gate. The attic from the direction of the Gatehouse presents stone sculptures made by Piotr Ringering, which symbolise Peace, Freedom, Wealth and Glory. From the direction of Długa Street, it is dominated by Harmony, Justice, Devotion and Prudence. This is also the location of the Latin maxim, stating "Concordia crescit parva terris, incongruentia facit magna ones cadent" - "Harmony grows small countries, disharmony makes big ones fall".
During the years 1803-1872, the Golden Gate served as the home of the Fine Arts School, the administrators of which included Johan Schultz, the famous Gdańsk engraver. The valuable monument was seriously damaged during the most recent war. It was rebuilt in the nineteen fifties and, together with the adjoining St. George's Manor, presented for the needs of the Polish Architects' Association.