Travels

Wisłoujście Fortress

Due to renovation works, that will last until 2024, museum is closed in 2021, it will be partly opened starting from 2022.

Wisłoujście Fortress (literally mouth of Vistula river fortress) was located at the mouth of Vistula river in order to protect Gdańsk from invasion from the sea. Since it was build, Vistula moved more sand and additional land was formed at the north of fortress (mainly Westerplatte) so now fortress is not at the mouth of the Vistula, but 2,5 km from it.

It’s construction begun in 1308, but it was modified and expanded numerous time through history. During second world war it was severy damaged, but was rebuild after war. Now it serves as a museum.

Entrance to the fortress.

Central tower served also as a lighthouse. Around central tower are officers living quarters.

If you look at the other side you will see barracks.

Sightseeing of the museum is done every one hour with a tourguide. A part of the tour is going to the viewpoint on top of the tower.

Eastern view: you can see barracks inside fortress and in the distant cranes from the container port.

North eastern view: mainly facilities of the fortress can be seen.

North view: Vistula river near it’s mouth.

South western view: Vistula river seen towards Gdańsk historical city center, you can also see cranes of the shipyard.

Artillery at the bottom of fortress.

Travels

Tower Clock Museum

Tower Clock Museum is located in bell tower of St. Catherine Church, at 54°21’14″N 18°39’04″E.

In this museum you can see many clocks and clock mechanisms installed in varius towers. Mechanisms are shown to the public and everybody can see how they work.

Entry ticket to the Tower Clock Museum is 10 zł.

To enter the museum you need to go to a small entrance near main entrance to the church and go several dozens of small and narrow steps until you finally arrive at first floor of museum.

Clock with the longest pendulum in the world – 31,22 m. Of course not whole pendulum is shown, it stretches through few floors.

Second floor.

Third floor – there are no clocks in here, but on this floor is 50-bell carillon.

Top view on carillon.

Going higher takes you to the view point atop of St. Catherine’s Church bell tower.

Western view: building at the bottom of the picture is Wielki Młyn (Great mill), further to the west, covered partially by trees, is Old City Town Hall and left to him and little behind is St. Joseph Church. At the right side of the picture you can see Gdańsk Główny railway station.

Southern view: the most noticaable buildings in the center of the picture are market hall and just behind it St. Nicolaus Basilica. The tower next to them is Baszta Jacek a part od Gdańsk’s old fortifications. Behind church you can clearly see St. Mary’s Basilica, on the left side of the picture is St. John’s Church.

Eastern view: just behind the back of St. Catherine Church you can see St. Brigitte Basilica. Far left you can see cranes of the Gdańsk Shipyard.

Northern view: St. Catherine Church is located at the edge of Gdańsk’s historical city center and northern view is already outside of it. Buildings visible are Mercure hotel, Organica Trade office bulding and the green one in the distant is Zieleniak.

Landscape

Amber museum and Katownia

Katownia was first a one of the gates leading inside the city, later expanded and served as a prison, court room, it had also a torture chambers. Now there is located Amber museum together with small museum of building history. Atop of tower is also a view point. In the same bulding, but at the ground floor is amber jewellery shop.

Katownia is located in Gdańsk’s Main City district at 54°20’59″N 18°38’50″E.

Ticket prices:

Normal price 16 zł, reduced 8 zł.

Viewpoint, normal price 10 zł, reduced 5 zł.

You can also buy 90 day pass to all eight branches of Gdańsk municipal museums, normal price 80 zł, reduced 50 zł.

On Wednesdays entrence is free. See https://muzeumgdansk.pl/index.php?id=362&L=1 for current information.

 

The sightseeing begins with the amber museum.

Amber is gathered in many places all around the world and each place has it’s own characteristic amber.

Amber is a resin that have fallen into a water and hardened. Sometimes an insect (in rare cases something bigger) falls into resin resulting in amber with preserved insect exactly how it looked millions of years ago.

Throughout history a jewellery was made out of amber. Because for a few centuries Gdańsk was the wealthiest city in Poland (and the wealthiest city on Baltic sea and one of the wealthiest cities in Europe), many amber jewelers lived here.

Amber variation of Fabergé egg.

At the highest floor of Prison Tower a viewpoint is located.

East view: at the bottom of the picture we can see parts of Katownia building, close to the Katownia is Brama Wyżynna (High gate), the whole complex of buildings just beside the street is shopping mall.

Northern view: the most part of this view is a square called Targ Węglowy, there is a scene and many merchants tents because i took the picture during St. Dominic’s Fair. Behind the scene is theatre building (Teatr Wybrzeże) and behind theatre you can see the tower of St. Catherine’s Church in which The Bell Tower Clock Museum is located. Four roofs together at the right side is the Grand Armory.

Western view: you can clearly see Złota Brama (Golden Gate) at which Long Lane begins with Main City Town Hall at the end of the street. On the left of Złota Brama is The Court of St. George Brotherhood. The big tower on the left is St. Mary’s Basilica bell tower. Smaller tower even further on the left is St. John’s Church bell tower.

There is no souther view as it is not available for the public.

Katownia’s inner yard.

Landscape

Main City Town Hall

Gdańsk has two town halls – Main City Town Hall and Old City Town Hall. Main City and Old City are two different districts and often people refer to the Gdańsk historic center simply as “old city”, even locals do so. Main City Town Hall is located in Main City district at 54°20’56″N 18°39’09″E, near Neptune’s Fountain, just about the place where Long Lane and Long Market conects. Although if you ask about old city everyone will point you roughly to this place.

Building started in 1346, but in 1378-1382 it was rebuild, tower was added in 1486–1488. Around 1537 it was again extended and since then it has it’s todays shape.

Ticket prices:

Normal price 16 zł, reduced 8 zł.

The Palowa Gallery (Galeria Palowa), normal price 6 zł, reduced 4 zł.

Viewpoint, normal price 10 zł, reduced 5 zł.

You can also buy 90 day pass to all eight branches of Gdańsk municipal museums, normal price 80 zł, reduced 50 zł.

On Wednesdays entrence is free. See https://muzeumgdansk.pl/index.php?id=362&L=1 for current information.

In 1556 fire damaged the town hall and it had to been rebuild again, this time a 14-bell carillon was mounted on the tower.

During second world war town hall was severely damaged, repairs were performed in years 1946-1970 and are considered one of the greatest and hardest building reconstructions after the war. In year 2000 a new, 37-bell carillon was mounted on the tower.

During renaissance Gdańsk was the richest city in Poland. Of course it has to show off and it starts with the stoop.

Great Hall of Court (Wielka Sala Wety), also called White Hall (Sala Biała). This is the most representative hall in Main City Town Hall, this is the hall in which court was sitting, king’s (and his representative) audiences happened and also Gdańsk citizenship granting ceremony happened. This is the hall in which most Gdańsk treaties and agreements were signed.

At the walls you can see paintings of Polish Kings.

Red Hall (Sala Czerwona). In this hall the city council was debating.

Just look at the ceiling.

I also recommend going to the tower, you have great view over Gdańsk. Tower is 83,5 meter high and you can go to the part above clock. It is the second highest building in the Gdańsk historic center, only St. Mary’s Basilica is higher.

Western view: you can clearly see Long Lane ending with Złota Brama (Golden Gate). Even further you can see Katownia.

Southern view: this is the view on the tenements called kamienica (plural kamienice) alongside street. The narrow street on the bottom right side is Long Lane and the wide street is called Long Market.

East view: Long Market street ending with Green Gate. Behind Green Gate is river Motława and on the other side of the river is  Granary Island (with that awful fairy wheel) with a lot of new hotels being build on it.

Northern view: to the north you can see St. Mary’s Basilica, now under renovation.

But if you look at north-east you will also see Chlebnicka street ending with Chlebnicka gate.

Landscape

St. Mary’s Basilica

In polish “Bazylika Mariacka“, it’s one of the biggest brick churches in the world. The building began in 1343, it was numerous times extended and changed until it was completed in 1502. Inside the basilica there is a room for about 25 000 people, which at the time if it’s completion was more than half of city’s population. It is located in Gdańsk’s Main City district at 54°20’59″N 18°39’11″E.

In 1945 because of fights during second world war, 40% of domes collapsed, part of the paintings, sculptures and altars were destroyed and moved away. Organs were also destroyed.

St. Mary’s Basilica is 30 meter high with the bell tower ranging 82 meter high. The fee for the bell tower entrance is 10 zł, reduced ticket 5 zł.

View on St. Mary’s Basilica from Main City Town Hall.

There are 409 steps to reach the top of bell tower. First 150 steps are narrow spiral stairs that look like this.

You then are at the roof of the basilica, above the domes. Roof is under renovation, hence you can see parts of roof covered just with foil.

Upon that you enter the stairs in the bell tower itself.

At the top you can see the panorama of Gdańsk.

Western view: you can clearly see the Piwna (beer) street and the Grand Armory at it’s end. To the left of it and further away you can see Katownia and Brama Wyżynna (High gate),

Southern view: the tower with a clock is the Main City Town Hall, located at Long Lane. At Long Lane you can see tenements called kamienica (plural kamienice).

East view: you can see mainly the rear of St. Mary’s Basilica, Mariacka (St. Mary’s) street right behing it and Św. Ducha (Holy Spirit) street on the left. On the right you can see Granary Island (with that awful fairy wheel) with a lot of new hotels being build, although river Motława is flowing around it, you can see just it just in the far left side of the picture. Also on the far left you can see St. John’s Church.

Finally north view: the closest buildings are kamienice at Św. Ducha street and almost in the central of the picture – St. Nicholas’ Church. Behind St. Nicholas’ Church (and a row of kamienice) you can see St. Catherine’s Church. In the distance you can see cranes of the Gdańsk Shipyard. The water on the right side of the picture is Motława river.

The inside of the St. Mary’s Basilica.

Babtismal font.

View of the nave from the babtismal font.

Note the star vault.

View of modern reconstruction of organs destroyed in 1945. At the bottom you can also see babtismal font.

View at the altar. Unfortunately there is renovation going on from 2017 through 2018, hence the scaffolding.