Day Trip in Gdansk with Historical Highlights

Poland Gdansk

©Ciaranz/flickr

Gdansk is believed to have got its name from the Gothic name of the area called Gutiskandja but as majority of the city’s inhabitants were German-speakers during the 16th century, it would have been called its German form ‘Danzig’ instead of Gdańsk.

This historical Polish city with a population 455,000 is right on the Baltic coast. At the southern edge of the Gdansk Bay, Gdansk is the largest city in the Pomerania region of Northern Poland. Not just being Poland’s principal seaport, it was also the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship (or province in north-central Poland) and historically the largest city of the Kashubian region.

Medieval/Modern Boundary

As Gdansk is close to the former late medieval/modern boundary between West Slavic and Germanic lands, it is a wonderful place for sight seeing. It has a rich yet complex political history: from periods of Polish rule, German rule, extensive self-rule, 2 spells as a free city!

Motława River

You must be wondering how much suffering this place has gone through. This city is also part of modern Poland since 1945. Its geographic position is of particular note, situated at the mouth of the Motława River, a 64.7 km length river in the Eastern Pomerania. Motława River‘s source in Szpegawskie Lake and actually this name ‘Motława’ is from the Old Prussian language that is already extinct. Never mind, the river goes through Rokickie Lake, and to Leniwka. So connected to a branch in the delta of the Vistula River, to Warsaw (Poland’s capital). Thus it is the centre of Poland’s sea trade and being nearby port of Gdynia, it became an important seaport and shipbuilding centre.

Birthplace of Solidarity Movement

Gdansk is the birthplace of the Solidarity movement that played a major role in bringing an end to the Communist rule across Central Europe. Such an illustrious yet dramatic history of war and perturbation, today it offers such a picturesque old quarters of Eastern Europe!

Poland Gdansk

©Exmam/flickr

Check out those blocks of red brick churches. Colorful and so ornately decorated mansions that were just like the Dutch. These houses were built thin and deep as they were taxed based on the frontage. Those days during the Golden Age, only the super-elite could afford a wide house front. After how the city was 80% destroyed during the WWII in 1939, what you see today is a rebuild based on old photographs and detailed drawings and its original brick.

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