Central Maritime Museum

Gdańsk, Poland

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 Museum in Hel, the River Vistula Museum in Tczew and two ships, SS Soldek and Dar Pomorza. The newest addition is the Centre of Maritime Culture.

The museums’ collections relate to the history of ports, shipbuilding, shipping and trade. Among them are historic examples of the craft of shipbuilding, salvage, ship fittings, navigational equipment, propulsion systems, handguns and deck cannons, etc. There are also interesting collections of models of Slavic boats, Gdansk’s medieval ships, warships from the 16th and 17th centuries, Polish merchant and passenger ships between 1920 and 1939 and river boats and tugs built after 1945. The collection also includes examples of vessels from Oceania, Indonesia and Africa. The museum houses art collections with a maritime theme.

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Details

Founded: 1960
Category: Museums in Poland

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Oliwia Biros (4 months ago)
This museum consists of three separates sites on both banks of the river. You can buy a ticket which includes crossing the river on the museums ferry which shuttles back and to every fifteen minutes. The modern site is highly recommended (caters for English speaking tourists). If you are visiting with kids head to the third floor. The other museum located inside the granaries I found a bit boring and sadly it has no English signs. There are wordy English guide books in each room that explain the exhibits but I would rather have audio guide.
Juhani (4 months ago)
Otherwice a great museum, but in my opinion it would be nice if they made it easier for foreigners to get familiar with the content.
Anton Ivchenko (4 months ago)
Big exposition, maybe a little bit dated and lacking interactive elements (maritime museum in Tallinn says hello). But we had a great time.
samuel james (6 months ago)
Do not recommend, staff were really rude, display were confusing and all in Polish. Really did not cater to English people. The cannons exhibition was gold really interesting. The ship was closed as well. Toilets we clean. Would not recommend. 1/5
Filip Malczak (7 months ago)
I've been really surprised by the size of this place. It took me 2 hours to see one floor, while there are 3 floors here - and a standalone ship (opened for tourists) and temporary exhibitions too. Whole place is well organized, clean, not expensive at all and very interesting. 5/5 without any doubt.
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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.