Europe Travel

Travel || Waterfront in Gdansk

I was fascinated by the history of Gdansk. It’s a city in Northern Poland at the edge of the Baltic Sea with a strong German influence (it was officially incorporated in to Poland after World War II). But in intermediary years Gdansk was a free city state. Twice. The first time was in the 1800s and the second time was between WWI and WWII (Gdansk as a free city state was in Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points). 

Gdansk played an insanely large part in modern history. It’s basically where WWII began. The German invasion of Poland started on the 1st of September 1939 with the attacking of the Free City of Gdansk. (Though some historians say that Wielun was bombarded several hours before the attack on Gdansk began.)  As you can imagine, the city was utterly destroyed. It’s almost impossible to look at pictures of it in 1945 and understand how it got back to into the picturesque state that it lives in now. And then later it’s where the Solidarnosc (Solidarity) movement started in 1980. Under the Solidarity movement and the leadership of Lech Walesa Poland freed itself from communism.

Because it’s access to the Baltic is what made Gdansk so historically important, I wanted to start my travel photos with the ones I took along the waterway, along Dlugie Pobreze and the Motlawa river area. The most famous site along the water’s edge is the Zuraw or Old Crane.  The crane is actually the defining symbol of Gdansk and it harkens back to its time as one of the great trading towns of Europe. The Zuraw is from 1442, and was the biggest working crane in the world. (It could lift 4 tons up 11m. All this was done by a team of men who turned two massive 6 m diameter wheels inside.) The Crane was also one of the defensive structures of the old city. Sadly, 80% of the original Crane’s structure was destroyed in the Battle of Gdansk in 1945, but it’s since been rebuilt. The Polish Maritime Museum is adjacent to the Crane. 

One of the most surprising things to stumble across on the waterfront were the Pictish Stones. These were ancient stones (10,000 years old) found along a now-modern road several hundred years ago.  The one that I’ve shown below is called “the old hag”. It was just such a shock to stumble upon a piece of ancient history! 

Probably because of the lack of water in my natural habitat (New Mexico), I am absolutely fascinated by maritime areas. 

You Might Also Like

  • Such a fascinating history, paired with really dark and moody pictures – amazing! You’re making me itching to go to Poland now! xx

    Lynsey || One More Slice

  • it looks a bit Scandinavian to me? πŸ™‚

    • Its not that far from Copenhagen, and it is right on the Baltic just like Stockholm, Copenhagen and Helsinki. It’s such an old port city that they all share that maritime influence and so I bet they must have swapped lots of architectural influences as well! X

  • The building looks pretty awesome

    Candice | Beauty Candy Loves

  • The architecture is so interesting, and the fog just adds to the atmospheric moodiness! Also, I didn’t know that you were from New Mexico! One of my best friends here in London is from there!

    • Wait- who is your friend and where in New Mexico is she from? (I’m from Albuquerque). It’s legitimately one of those states where we probably do have at least mutual acquaintances. X

      • Ha! She’s from Albuquerque too – her name is Alex Levy! x

        • Hmm if she went to private school there were some Levy’s at mine (Albuquerque Academy) but no Alex! But I’m sure we know a ton of people in common!

          • I’ll ask her about it when she’s back from her honeymoon – it’d be a funny coincidence! Her younger sister is Kate.

  • Wow a gorgeous place! I am loving the architecture and the colors.

  • What a stunning place! And the Pictish Stones are so cool!

    • I had no idea that there were any Pictish Stones when I left the hostel that morning, I literally just stumbled across them! x

  • Wow what a bloody amazing place, not a place I will get to visit so I just loved the post

  • Gdansk looks so pretty! Can’t believe I’d never considered visiting before. The story of those stones is crazy too!

    • It’s probably my top recommendation now! Especially for people traveling on a budget because you can stretch it so far there! x

  • Stunning photos – this place looks awesome! Reminds me of some of the architecture in riga and amsterdam too!
    Holly xx BLOG:

    • It felt quite Scandi to me! I absolutely love Amsterdam. I haven’t been to Riga yet, but every photo I’ve seen of it has been gorgeous! x

  • Anywhere with water, that’s where I want to be! and I grew up near lakes and waterfalls, so no rhyme or reason for that one.

  • Must be fascinating to travel around an area so rich in history – I had no idea about Gdansk’s WWII significance. And that Pictish stone is kind of cute, ha! x

    • I hadn’t known anything about the city at all before I booked my trip and I’m so glad that I did. It has a fascinating history! x

  • Right, so “the old hag” must be a relatively new name for this piece of art. I’m wondering what the person who originally made it called it… like, it could have been “my brother Eric annoys the cat” and now it’s “the old hag”. That’s like someone stumbling across Rhyme and Ribbons in 10,000 years and just deciding to rename it “Bro talk” πŸ˜‚

    • I can only sincerely hope that “old hag” was once called something like “wizard with purple cat”. Long died me will come back to lay a mummy style curse on any one who calls my blog Bro Talk πŸ˜‰ x