Top Historic Sights in Gdynia, Poland

Explore the historic highlights of Gdynia

ORP Blyskawica

ORP Błyskawica is a Grom-class destroyer which served in the Polish Navy during World War II and is the only ship of the Polish Navy awarded the Virtuti Militari medal. It is preserved as a museum ship in Gdynia, the oldest preserved destroyer in the world. It was the second of two Grom-class destroyers, built for the Polish Navy by J. Samuel White, Cowes in 1935–37. The name means Lightning. The two Groms were ...
Founded: 1935-1937 | Location: Gdynia, Poland

Dar Pomorza

Dar Pomorza is a Polish sailing frigate built in 1909 which is preserved in Gdynia as a museum ship. It was built in 1909 by Blohm & Voss and dedicated in 1910 by Deutscher Schulschiff-Verein as the German training ship Prinzess Eitel Friedrich. In 1920, following World War I, the ship was taken as war-reparations by Great Britain, then brought to France, where she was assigned to the seamen"s school at St-Nazair ...
Founded: 1909 | Location: Gdynia, Poland

St. Michael the Archangel's Church

St. Michael Archangel church is the oldest building in Gdynia. Originally built by nuns of the Norbertine Order, it replaced a pagan temple in 1224. The church was reduced to a pile of rubble during the war with Sweden in 17th century. After its restoration it served the Catholics until the last days of World War II when the tower was hit by a Soviet cannon ball, fired for fun. Yet again did the Kashubians have to rebuild ...
Founded: 1224 | Location: Gdynia, Poland

Monument to the Victims of December 1970

A monument commemorating the victims of the 1970 strikes which saw militia and army open fire on protestors. The “7” represents one of the fallen strikers being carried by his colleagues and may well be that of Adam Gotner who despite being hit 6 times managed to survive. Unveiled on December 17, 1980 – the tenth anniversary of the strikes and shootings.
Founded: 1980 | Location: Gdynia, Poland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Abbey of Saint-Étienne

The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.

Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.

The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.

As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).