There’s much more to Gdansk than Solidarity

Mention Gdansk to most people and what springs to mind is Solidarity, the trade union movement which became a fight for freedom and a trigger for the sequence of events that eventually led to the downfall of communism.

So an important place, historically and politically, but perhaps not a first choice as a tourist destination.

That image had led me to expect an unexceptional industrial landscape with not much going on.

What I found was a simply lovely small city full of beautiful buildings, bursting with art and culture, packed with bars and cafes and restaurant: buzzing, bustling and, a big attraction, very walkable.

The Old Town is where Gdansk began around a thousand years ago but the Main City as it is known is where it reached its Golden Age in the 16th to 18th centuries and which is now the main attraction.

You can start with a stroll along the lively waterfront of the Motlawa, the river which connects Poland to the Baltic and made Gdansk its biggest port, and look up at the giant wooden crane, the largest in the Mediaeval world and a reminder of the wealth created by the trade in grain and timber.

Go in through the arch of the Green Gate and cross the Dlug Targ or Long Market, the heart of the city, lined with grand, lavishly decorated and multi coloured houses and places of business and administration.

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