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Lying on the southern shore of Gdansk Bay in the Baltic Sea, the city of Gdansk, Poland is its country’s primary seaport. Gdansk is the most populous city in the region and the capital of the Polish Province of Pomerania. Gdansk played a prominent role in Poland’s independence from communism as it was the place where the Solidarity movement first gained traction. Settlement of the area around Gdansk dates back to at least the 7th century AD. Gdansk has a storied history having intermittently been part of a number of empires since the settlement was first established until Poland’s independence in 1989. The city suffered severe damage during World War II. Parts of the city were reconstructed during the 1950’s and 1960’s to resemble the 18th century look of Gdansk.
Gdansk attracts a significant tourist trade. Visitors to the area enjoy the buildings, monuments, bridges and other structures that were rebuilt in a mainly 1700’s style. Most of the meaningful structures are located either along Ulica Dluga (Long Street) or Dlugi Targ (Long Market) through the city’s Old Town which is sometimes referred to as the “Royal Way” due to its former service as the pathway for processions by visiting kings. Tourists enjoy visiting the Hall of the Main City and its museum, Artus Court, Neptune’s Fountain, the impressive homes along the Motlawa River Bank, the Golden Gate and the Green Gate (guarding either end of Long Street) and the aptly named Torture House. Gdansk contains some impressive houses of worship that are frequently visited by tourists including one of the largest Gothic churches in Europe, St. Mary’s Church, which is able to seat as many as 20,000 people.
The Gdansk Zoo, Memorial to Fallen Shipyard Workers (in Solidarity Square), the Highland Gate and the Nowy Port Lighthouse are also favorites of visitors to Gdansk. Among the offerings for museums visitors find the Archeological Museum, the Tower Clock Museum, the Gdansk History Museum and the Roads to Freedom Exhibition are can’t miss venues. Westerplatte Monument, marking the spot where the first shot of World War II was fired, is another historical site worth a visit.
Gdansk is part of a combination of Baltic Sea oriented communities called “Tricity” with the cities of Sopot and Gdynia. These three sea oriented municipalities provide locations for sailing adventures, beaches, resorts and seaside dining and entertainment.
Your list may not be complete until you add a trip to an ancient city in Eastern Europe that was a hotbed of activity in the two World Wars and instrumental in the fight to freedom from Communist rule. Visit Gdansk, Poland to fulfill your dream of visiting just such a place and enjoy some of the beautiful Baltic seaside between visits to historic sites.
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