Walking down Gdańsk’s Old Town

Known as Stare Miasto, Gdańsk‘s Old Town is more than a 1000 years old, and an elegant headstone of passing time. The old town has witnessed bloodshed, witchhunts, royal processions and religious marches. Its streets are seeped in the essence of history

Walking around this beautifully rebuilt town (most of the buildings were destroyed in the war and subsequently rebuilt later) is perhaps the most touristy thing to do in Gdańsk but also a worthwhile experience.

The Old Town is centred around the Long Market (Dlugi Targ) and Long Street (Ulica Dlugi) and has a few other popular streets such as Mariacka Street (Ulica Mariacka). I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

Formerly protected by walls, the entrance into the old city is circumfrenced by tall brick walls which today divide the boundaries of the old city with the modern extended one.

The Ulica Dlugi, long street of Gdansk. A pedestrian mall that has served as the main street in the city since the 13th century. It is today an important tourist site, and has many stalls selling products to fascinated tourist. The old city hall is in the centre of the picture with elegantly designed buildings on both sides.

The old town hall on the left of the picture is designed in 16th century renaissance style and was occupied by the Johannes Hevelius, a polymath who also served as mayor of Danzig (the german name of the city) during the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It served as the headquarters of the Soviet army in the dying days of World War 2. Today, it is an important cultural centre in the city.

Artus Court in blue standing behind the Statue of Neptune. Artus court used to be the social meeting point for traders and merchants and today houses part of the Gdansk History Museum.

 Neptune’s Fountain, built in the 1600s in the flemmish style. The statue was built for aesthetic reasons and the choice of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, was a nod to the maritime trading history of the city. Neptune’s head faces down so that the Roman god is bowing to the Polish royalty (who stayed opposite in the town hall when they were in town. Tradition has it that the unique Gdansk Goldwasser liquer started sprouting from the fountain one day to the delight of the citizens and creating the Gdansk specialty that is known today.

The Long Street leads to a Long Market, which is an open square that once used to be focused on trade. Today, restaurants line the street trying to flog Italian Pizzas and American Burgers to blur tourists.

On each town building along the Long Street are beautiful murals decorating the front of the structure. Many of these buildings have benefitted from rebuilding, after most were levelled during the second world war.

The long market leads out to a gate, the Green Gate. It was inspired by the Antwerp City Hall and was built to house the monarchy. A large tour group gathers round the guide who tells them about the river. This picture was taken from outside the old city.

The street lining the Gdansk river (the Lake Motlawa), Ulica Pobrzeze used to be the site of major trading. It’s streets are today lined with restaurants, gift shops and specialty shops.

This crane was rebuilt in the 1400s and was used to lift cargo and raise masts on ships. It is the only remnant of the shipping past of Pobrzeze Street.

Leading in from the river is the Mariacka Street, a specialty street that sells most amber-based products and a few hipster coffeeshops. It is also known as the most romantic street in town. 

A scene from Piwna Street that runs parallel to the Long Street and leads to the main cathedral in the old town – Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Gdańsk

Carved sculptures on the walls of residences within the old city.

The Hala Targowa market, the central market of Old Gdansk Town.

Sunset over the Old town from across the Moltowa River.

ON THE MAP

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