Top Historic Sights in Gdańsk, Poland

Explore the historic highlights of Gdańsk

Artus Court

The Artus Court (Dwór Artusa) was used to be the meeting place of merchants and a centre of social life. Today it is a point of interest of numerous visitors and a branch of the Gdańsk History Museum. The name was taken from the very popular medieval legend of King Arthur - a symbol of chivalry and gallantry. The heyday of the Artus Court falls into 16th and 17th century, but its history is much longer. The name of the ...
Founded: 1348-1350 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Main Town Hall

The main headquarters of the Gdańsk History Museum is a Gothic-Renaissance Main Town Hall, dominating the panorama of the Royal Route – the most representative route of the listed part of the city. The origins of the Town Hall, which from the very beginning was the seat of the authorities of the main Gdańsk area, from the 14th century referred to as the Main City, go back to the early Middle Ages. From the ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Neptune's Fountain

Neptune's Fountain, in the center of Dlugi Targ has grown to be one of Gdansk's most recognizable symbols. The bronze statue of the Roman god of the sea was first erected in 1549, before being aptly made into a fountain in 1633. Like the city he represents, Neptune has had a storied history, himself - dismantled and hidden during World War II, old Neptune didn't come out of hiding until 1954 when he was restored to his ri ...
Founded: 1633 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

St. Mary's Church

St. Mary's Church (Bazylika Mariacka) is the largest brick church in the world. According to tradition, as early as 1243 a wooden Church of the Assumption existed at this site, built by Prince Swantopolk II. The foundation stone for the new brick church was placed on on 25 March 1343. At first a six-span bay basilica with a low turret was built, erected from 1343 to 1360. Parts of the pillars and lower levels of the turre ...
Founded: 1343 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Green Gate

The Green Gate (Brama Zielona) is one of the city"s most notable tourist attractions. With the Golden Gate and the Highland Gate, the Green Gate spans the Long Market and Long Street, together comprising the Royal Route. The Green Gate was clearly inspired by the Antwerp City Hall. It was built 1568-1571 as the formal residence of Poland's monarchs. It is a masterpiece by Regnier (or Reiner van Amsterdam), an Amsterd ...
Founded: 1568-1571 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Royal Chapel

Just to the north and completely overshadowed by St Mary's Church, sits the small Royal Chapel, squeezed between two houses. The only Baroque church in old Gdańsk, it was built between 1678 and 1681 to fulfil the last will of the primate of Poland of the time, Andrzej Olszowski. It was designed by famous royal architect Tylman van Gameren. Its façade is its more attractive feature, and bears the coats of arms ...
Founded: 1678-1681 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Gdánsk Crane

The Crane (Żuraw) is one of the defining symbols of Gdańsk and represents what little is left of the city’s great trading age. First mentioned in 1367, the original structure was burnt down in 1442 before its current design was created in 1442-1444. As a working crane it was used to transfer cargoes and to put up masts on ships. At one time this was the biggest working crane in the world but it also served ...
Founded: 1442-1444 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Uphagens’ House

The Uphagen House was erected in the second half of the 18th century by Jan Uphagen, who obliged future owners to preserve the house in its original form. Thanks to this agreement, the building’s original character has been preserved and now houses the Museum of Patrician Interiors. The Uphagen House is a memory of Gdańsk’s former glory. It features a hall, lofty interiors, a stone slab floor built and wa ...
Founded: 1775-1787 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

SS Soldek

SS Sołdek was a Polish coal and ore freighter. She was the first ship built in Poland after World War II and the first seagoing ship completed in Poland. She was the first of 29 ships classed as Project B30, built between 1949 and 1954 in Stocznia Gdańska (Gdańsk Shipyard). The name was given in honour of Stanisław Sołdek, one of the shipyard's shock workers. The ship is currently preserved as a museum ship in Gdańs ...
Founded: 1949-1954 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Golden Gate

Golden Gate (Złota Brama) is one of the most notable tourist attractions of the Gdánsk. It was raised in 1612–1614 in place of the 13th century Gothic gate. It forms a part of the old city fortifications. The gate was designed by architect Abraham van den Blocke and was constructed by Jan Strakowski. The architectural style of the gate is Dutch manierism. Next to it is the late-gothic building of the Bro ...
Founded: 1612–1614 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Central Maritime Museum

The history of the museum dates back to 1960 when the Pomeranian Museum (now the National Museum) set up an independent branch under the name “Maritime Department”. Two years later this department became a separate institution based in the famous Zuraw Crane in Gdansk. The museum then took over several barns on Olowianka Island. Apart from these and the Wielki Zuraw Crane the other divisions are the Fisheries ...
Founded: 1960 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Upland Gate

The Upland Gate was built along with the surrounding fortifications between 1571-1576. Formerly, it was the main entrance to the town. The western embankment (built up in 1573) was equipped with a basic looking brick gate building, initially devoid of any kind of decoration. It should be emphasised that this was the first gate in Gdánsk built according to the latest fortification techniques at that time. Credit fo ...
Founded: 1571-1576 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Great Mill

Built by the Teutonic Knights in 1350, the Great Mill with its rising tiled roof is the grandest civil construction in Gdańsk. Until 1356 when the Radunia Canal was built, the mill was powered by slaves turning 18 huge wheels. It was the largest industrial plant in Europe during the Middle Ages and functioned until the end of WWII. Unfortunately, this treasure has since been turned into a shopping centre. At least th ...
Founded: 1350 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

St. Catherine's Church

St Catherine's Church is the oldest church in Gdańsk. The first record dates from 1185, when Prince Sobieslaw I built a wooden church. It was replaced with a stone church in 1227-1239. St. Catherine’s church evolved over centuries and only reached its final shape in the mid-15th century. It was a Protestant church from 1545 until 1945, after which it became a Roman Catholic church. There are several magnificent ...
Founded: 1227-1239 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers

The Monument to the fallen Shipyard Workers 1970 (Pomnik Poległych Stoczniowców 1970) was unveiled on 16 December 1980 near the entrance to what was then the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk. It commemorates the 42 or more people killed during the Coastal cities events in December 1970. It was created in the aftermath of the Gdańsk Agreement and is the first monument to the victims of communist oppression to ...
Founded: 1980 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

St. Hyacinth Tower

In front of the Market Hall is the tall octagonal Hyacinthus" Tower, one of the remnants of the medieval fortifications. It was built around 1400 and, apart from its defensive role, it also served as a watchtower. Today it houses a photo shop.
Founded: c. 1400 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Old Town Hall

The 16th-century Renaissance building was once home to the office of the Polish astronomer and city councillor Johann Hevelius, whose statue can be found in the park in front of the building. The former headquarters of the Council of Gdansk, the Old Town Hall served as the headquarters of the Soviet Army during the dying days of WWII, probably because it was practically the only building left standing in the city at the t ...
Founded: 1517 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Abbot's Palace

The Abbots' Palace (Pałac Opatów w Oliwie) is a roccoco style palace in Oliwa. The first portion of the palace, the 'Old Palace' was constructed in the 15th century. Later, in the first half of the sixteen hundreds a 'New Palace' was added, which served as the residency of the then abbot of the Cistercians, Jan Grabiński. The final additions to the palace were made between 1754 and 175 ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

St Nicholas' Church

The Dominican Church of St. Nicholas is one of the oldest churches in Gdansk. Its history begins in the 12th century. It was built at the junction of two important trade routes: the ancient mercantile path (via mercatorum) and the route leading from the royal castle of Gdansk’s estate in Pomerania. On January 22, 1227, the Pomeranian prince Svatopluk entrusted the Church of St. Nicholas to the Dominicans, who had j ...
Founded: 1348-90 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

St. Bridget's Church

St. Bridget's Church was built in the mid-1300s, initially as St. Magdalene’s Chapel, on the location of the legendary appearance of the Holiest Virgin. In 1374, the funeral procession carrying the remains of the founder of the Holiest Saviour Convent, Bridget of Sweden, which was travelling from Rome to Vadstena in Sweden, made a stop in Gda?sk. The residents of Gda?sk paid great homage to the deceased, whose sarco ...
Founded: c. 1350 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Oliwa Cathedral

Oliwa Cathedral is dedicated to The Holy Trinity, Blessed Virgin Mary and St Bernard. The first Cistercian monastery on the site was founded by Sambor I of Gdánsk, Duke of Pomerania, in 1186. The first Romanesque oratory was burnt down in 1224 during the pagan Prussians crusade. It was rebuilt in 1234-1236, but destroyed again by Prussian crusade. In 1350 fire that was caused by chimney soot excess completely cons ...
Founded: 1578-1594 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Westerplatte

Westerplatte is a long peninsula at the entrance to the harbour. When Gdańsk became a free city after WWI, Poland was permitted to maintain a post at this location, at the tip of the port zone. It served both trading and military purposes and had a garrison to protect it. WWII broke out here at dawn on 1 September 1939, when the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein began shelling the Polish guard post. The garrison, ...
Founded: 1966 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Holy Trinity Church

The imposing Church of the Holy Trinity was built by Franciscan monks in 1420-1514. In 1480, the Chapel of St Anne was constructed alongside the church. This towering Gothic building, adjoining a former Franciscan monastery (now the National Museum), is among the best preserved buildings in the city.The altar is offset by a lofty whitewashed interior and the wide expanse of floor is cobbled with tombstones, including an e ...
Founded: 1420-1514 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Wisloujscie Fortress

Wisłoujście Fortress is located in direct proximity to the Westerplatte peninsula. This was an important area from a strategic point of view, as the movement of ships entering and leaving Gdańsk harbour could be controlled from this place. The first written comments on the existence of a guard post in the place of the present fortress date from the mid-14th century. The first permanent fortifications were b ...
Founded: 1482 | Location: Gdańsk, Poland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.