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One can never imagine that visiting Gdansk can be so much fun! Learn how to read history from bricks, find out how the city was brought back to life after WWII, where Mr. Fahrenheit lived as a child, what's inside the city prison and why Green Gate (which is not green at all) is called so.
Old Town in Gdańsk can be found north of the modern city center. There are lots of exciting structures there, including: Gdańsk Granaries, Gdańsk Mills, Gdańsk Town Hall, Monument of King Sobieski, Polish Post, Preachers' House. The main streets of the Old town are Ulica Długa (Long Street) and Długi Targ (Long Market), a pedestrian walkways surrounded by buildings reconstructed in historical (primarily during the 17th century) style and flanked at both ends by elaborate city gates.
The cathedral is dedicated to The Holy Trinity, Blessed Virgin Mary and St Bernard. In 1186 Sambor I of Gdańsk (son of Subisław I), Duke of Pomerania, founded the Cistercian monastery named “Beatae Mariae de Oliva” or “ad montem Olivarum” - the name which stayed with this church over the centuries. All the 23 altars of the cathedral are of great historical value. They are mainly Baroque and Rococo, partly made of marble. The interior also holds Rococo chapels of the Holy Cross and St John of Nepomuk, an ambo, tombstones, epitaphs, the Pomeranian Dukes tomb, the Kos family tomb, bishop’s crypt, antique chandeliers, canopies, and many other antiquities, including a feretory of great cultural value, showing Our Lady of Oliwa with an Infant Jesus.
The Golden Gate is one of the most notable tourist attractions of the city. It was created in 1612–14 in place of a 13th-century gothic gate, the Brama Długouliczna (Long Street Gate). Both sides of the gate have attiques, with figures symbolizing the qualities of the ideal citizen.
The Green Gate is located between Long Market (Długi Targ) and the River Motława. The Green Gate was clearly inspired by the Antwerp City Hall. It was built as the formal residence of Poland's monarchs. Today the Green Gate houses the National Museum in Gdańsk. Exhibitions, meetings, conferences and shows are held here. The Gdańsk office of former Polish President Lech Wałęsa is located in one of the rooms.
Gdańsk Main Town Hall is a historic Ratusz, one of the finest examples of the Gothic-Renaissance historic buildings in the city, built at the intersection of the Ulica Długa (Long Street) and Długi Targ (Long Market), in the most popular part of Gdańsk. The Main Town Hall houses the History Museum of the City of Gdańsk.
St. Mary's Church is currently one of the two or three largest brick churches in the world. The church is decorated within with several masterpieces of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque painting. The most notable, The Last Judgement by Flemish painter Hans Memling, is currently preserved in the National Museum of Gdańsk. Other works of art are: Jerusalem Altar, 1495-1500 (currently in the National Museum in Warsaw), High Altar, 1511–1517, Michael of Augsburg, Ten Commandments, approx. 1485, Gravestone of Simon and Judith Bahr, 1614–1620, Abraham van den Blocke, Pietà, approx. 1420, Holy Mother of God sculpture, approx. 1420, Gdańsk astronomical clock, 1464–1470, Hans Düringer of Toruń, reconstructed after 1945, Organ set, partially transferred from the St. Johns church in 1985.
Solidarity is a Polish labour union that was founded on 17 September 1980 at the Lenin Shipyard under the leadership of Lech Wałęsa. In the 1980s, Solidarity was a broad anti-bureaucratic social movement, using the methods of civil resistance to advance the causes of workers' rights and social change. The square, named after this union is marked by the Monument to the fallen Shipyard Workers opened on 16 December 1980 near the entrance to what was then the Lenin Shipyard. It commemorates the 42 or more people killed during the Coastal cities events in December 1970. The protests were sparked by a sudden increase of prices of food and other everyday items. As a result of the riots, which were put down by the Polish People's Army and the Citizen's Militia, at least 42 people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded.
On your way from the port of Gdynia, you will hear the story of this medieval town that played such an important role not only in its country's history, but in the world history as well.
Your first stop will be at the magnificent Oliwa Cathedral, built by Cistercian monks in the 12th century. This magnificent basilica holds works of art in Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Classical styles, but is more famous for its amazingOliwa Organ that boats 5100 pipes!
As you keep driving towards the Old Town, you will make several photo stops to capture the most memorable and important sights of the 20th century history: the island where theWorld War II started, the ship yard from where Cold War broke out and of course Solidarity Square (see photo) that set off the fight for freedom among the working class.
Once you finally reach Gdansk Old Town, you will leave the bus and will tour along the main street from the Golden Gate to the Green Gate. (which in fact is not green at all, but you will learn the story why people call it green.) Once nearly destroyed during the war, this lovely town will capture your heart with its bright-colored houses and mansions of Polish merchants and nobility, recreated almost from ruins. You will learn how to read history from bricks, and will admire the Town Hall of Gdansk and the largest brick cathedral in the world - St. Mary's Basilica. (*inside visit is NOT included, we recommend to visit the church during free time for self-exploration at the end of the tour)
American visitors will be delighted to learn that Mr. Farenheit was born in Gdansk (back then called Danzig), and will even be able to walk along the street where he had once lived.
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