ESRA CONGRESS 2017

City and travel

How to travel?

 

Gdańsk has one of the biggest international airport in Poland. You can book a flight from hundreds of destinations.

Getting from the airport to the city:

The fastest way would doubtless be by taxi – no need to speak English so long as you’re going to a major hotel/or have address written down. The cost is probably at minimum 10 pounds and it would take about 25 minutes outside of rush hour.

If you have time or don’t mind a wait, and want to take a tour of Gdansk’s outer neighborhoods there’s a bus (no. 210) and PKM train that leaves about every half hour. It’s quite inexpensive – cost about 1-2 euros.

It may be possible to take a shuttle if you are staying in a major hotel, but you should contact the hotel directly about that. There is a little tourist kiosk at the (very small and manageable) airport with English speaking staff, who can give more details and a good map.
You can also book a flight to Warsow. It is easy and fast to get to Gdańsk by train!

The railway network in Poland is well organized both in respect of convenient connections and the standard of travel. Some people have even suggested that Poland should be visited by train.

Types of trains

Fast and express trains run between the largest cities. Fast trains run between the larger cities without stopping at smaller stations. Express trains run between the main Polish cities.
Regional trains carry passengers to smaller towns. Traveling by slower trains you can visit smaller Polish towns and villages. These trains usually run over short routes and often stop at all the local stations.
Train fares depend on the route, the kind of train and the class. Many different promotional prices are always on offer. For details ask at the railway station.

Train standards
Polish trains have very diverse standards. Express trains are of the highest standard, regional or the slower trains are of the lowest standard. All trains, except for the slower ones, are divided into first and second class carriages.
Intercity trains and many express trains have a separate restaurant car.
Some trains also have special smoking compartments.
Long-distance trains are often equipped with additional sleeping-cars.
The Polish State Railway offer seats to disabled passengers in special carriages, and in some stations there are lifts on some platforms.

 City of Gdańsk – what is worth to visit?

 

Gdansk in the very top of tourist destinations in Europe! Our city won 3rd place in a prestigious contest: European Best Destination 2017

 

Gdansk called the maritime capital of Poland, is a city with over a thousand year history. It enchants tourists with the beauty of its renaissance tenement houses and Gothic churches, with its charming, narrow medieval streets and the wealth of its museum collections. The hands of famous European architects and artists have given eternal life to the city’s ages of glory. Have a walk with us to feel the atmosphere of 1000 years of history. Starting from Uppland Gate, the tour leads through so called Royal Route, showing the most important sights and monuments of Gdańsk like: the Golden Gate, Torture Chamber, Grand Armory, City hall, Artus Court, Neptune’s Fountain, and St. Mary’s Church (the biggest brick church in the world). Our tour ends on Mariacka Street, one of the most picturesque and beautiful among medieval streets. For all those interested in contemporary history it is possible to continue our walk and visit Gdańsk Shipyard with the Solidarity Museum. Gdańsk offers a lot of possibilities depending on your interests: Amber Tour, Gothic churches, maritime history, Teutonic Knights… these are just examples.

 

city-hallThe Town Hall at the junction of the Długa and Długi Targ streets was the seat of the Gdańsk area authorities called the Main City since the 15th century. It is currently one of the most important historical buildings. The accurate construction date of the Town Hall is unknown; it is estimated that the first one-floor brick building was built there in the first half of the 14th century. With the development of the city, the town hall was expanded as well and mayors, the City Council as well as the Municipal Tribunal and the Veto Court were debating there. A gold-plated statue of Sigismund III Vasa, the then king of Poland, was placed on a steeple of the building’s tower in 1561. Town Hall rooms were being decorated and beautified to stress the rank of the developing Gdańsk; artists such as Isaak van den Block or Willem van der Meer had their contributions. Most representative rooms were located on the second floor: the Great Council Hall (Red and Summer Hall) and the Great Hall of Court (White Hall). The Town Hall used to be the seat of the city authorities until 1921; it currently houses a branch of the Gdańsk History Museum to which you are cordially invited.

 

last-judgementThe Archangel Michael weighing good and evil, the saved ascending to heaven on crystal stairs, devils throwing sinners into the fires of hell. The bothersome vision of judgement day by the brush of the great Dutch artist was obtained accidentally, captured as the spoils of war by Gdańsk’s famous privateer Paweł Benecke. Hans Memling’s triptych “The Last Judgement” is the most valuable exhibit of the National Museum in Gdańsk and his only work in Polish collections. The painting, considered to be Memling’s crowning point (his authorship was not determined until the mid nineteenth century!), is of an impressive size (height 242 cm, width 360 cm), with technical perfection and artistic beauty, and its dramatic fate intrigues both with its message and its rich symbolism, understandable only to insiders. You can admire a copy of the work at St. Mary’s Basilica, where the original was first donated to the church.

 

 

 

museumYou can meditate on the message of the famous triptych in one of the Dutch paintings gallery rooms of the Museum’s Department of Old Art, located in the historic building of the former Franciscan monastery. The stunning architecture of the late Gothic interior is a beautiful setting for many valuable collections: Gdańsk, Dutch and Flemish paintings, old ceramics, sculptures, famous Gdańsk furniture and  works of Gdańsk goldsmiths. The collection of the Department of Modern Art containing about 400 works of outstanding Polish artists from the nineteenth and twentieth century, presenting the most important trends in Polish art is located at the Abbot’s Palace is Oliwa. Near the Abbot’s Granary is the Department of Ethnography. At the Mannerist Green Gate, the most impressive of the City’s gates on the Royal Route, is a representative art gallery with temporary exhibitions of ancient and contemporary art, both Polish and foreign

European Solidarity Centre

 

ecsSolidarity Square. The impressive rusty block resembles a ship’s hull. This characteristic expressive building covered with corten steel dominates the landscape of the former shipyard terrain. The jacket worn by 20 year old shipyard worker Ludwik Piernicki when he was shot, a victim of December ‘70, the sign with the 21 postulates, hanging during the strike in August ‘80 at the gate of the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk, the crane, on which Anna Walentynowicz worked, Jacek Kuron’s desk, a gift from his wife … almost 1,800 unique memorabilia! The modern, multimedia exposition of the European Solidarity Centre dedicated to the history of Polish freedom and the “Solidarity” movement with an area of 3 thousand square metres presents emotional memorabilia, photos, video and audio footage, archival documents, manuscripts, maps, underground publications, newspapers, inde- pendent art objects …The European Solidarity Centre (ESC) is important institution on the freedom trail in a new, experimental form: it is not only a museum dedicated to the history of Solidarity and anticommunist opposition in Poland and Europe, but also a centre of dialog in the modern world; a meeting place for people who are close to the values of liberty and democracy. In the spirit of solidarity revolu- tion, in accordance with the mission of ESC: Explore history, decide about the future, here should be conducted dialog between history and the future of Poland and the world. This is the first such institution in Europe. The heart of ESC is a grand exhibition arranged which narrative allows everyone to find their own meaning and emotions. Visitors from Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Germany also find their piece of history in the centre. But ESC is also a library, reading room and archives. It is a centre for research, education and training as well as creative workshops for young people. There is also a place for younger visitors – the Playroom Department is a multimedia educational room for children. Here non-governmental organizations have their headquarters along with the first president of free Poland, Lech Wałęsa. There is much attractive space accessible to everyone including: a terrace, winter garden, restaurant, bar and cafe making the Centre an open meeting place.

 

stoczniaIn 2010 thirty years have passed since the memorable events of Gdańsk’s August 1980, when due to strikes at the Gdańsk shipyard under the leadership of Lech Wałęsa and the creation of “Solidarity”, the dismantling of the communist system began. This ultimately led to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Autumn of Nations 1989, the liquidation of the post-Yalta order in Europe and finally the division of our conti- nent into two blocs, separated
by the “Iron Curtain” came to an end. A walk in the former areas of the Gdańsk Shipyard is an ex-
ceptional journey leading through the famous Gate No. 2, the historic Health and Safety Hall, the “Wyspa” Institute of Art and the European Solidarity Centre-a trip to the place where freedom was born, because it all started in Gdańsk…

 

 

Pomerania region

helHel penisula – a popular summer resort with wide, sandy beaches and pine forests, located at the end of a 35 km long peninsula. It is possible to get there by boat or bus. You can also combine these two options. Main tourist attractions: the lighthouse – open for sightseeing in high season; the port and Museum of Fishery in the old Gothic Evangelical Church from XV century; Wiejska Street – with small wooden houses, bars and restaurants; Museum of Coastal Defense – a military exhibition including the period of World War II; and the centre for research, breeding and rehabilitation of gray seals – a very interesting place, especially for parents with children. Here you can watch and learn about these fascinating animals. On guest’s request (possible only by bus) – sightseeing of Puck, Władysławowo, cliffs in Jastrzębia Góra (the northernmost point of Poland) and fisherman villages located along the Peninsula. For visitors keen on military history we recommend Fortified Region Hel, the tourist route including fortifications from World War II.

 

malborkMalbork – a city located about 60km from Gdańsk (one hour drive). This place is not to be missed during your stay in the Pomerania region. The main attraction is a fortified castle from the late 13th-century, belonging to the Teutonic Order, enlarged and embellished after 1309, when the knights conquered Gdańsk and the seat of the Grand Master moved from Venice to Malbork. In 1997 the castle was put on the UNESCO World Heritage List as “… the most complete and elaborate example of the Gothic brick castle complex in the characteristic and unique style of the Teutonic Order, which evolved independently of the contemporary castles of western Europe…”. Today it is a museum with many interesting expositions (with a splendid collection of amber, medieval armory and much more). Price includes transfer from Gdańsk and back to the hotel, local guide service and entrance tickets. On the way to Malbork there is a chance to learn some interesting facts about the lowland area called Żuławy, located at the mouth of the Vistula river.

 

 

stutthofThe former Nazi Concentration Camp in Stutthof was established at the beginning of September 1939 and was the oldest camp of mass-extermination in Poland. The place is located about a one hour drive from Gdańsk center. The first prisoners were representatives of Polish associations in Free City of Danzig. Within the 5 years of camp existence, 120.000 of men, women and children were kept here (about a half of them were Jews). Almost 65.000 prisoners died as result of murdering in gas chambers, beating, hanging, torturing and making medical tests by mad scientists.

Stutthof was liberated at the beginning of May 1945 by the Soviet Army. Nowadays the place hosts the National Museum of Stutthof, established in 1962 including post-camp buildings, prisoners’ barracks, gas chambers, crematory, gallows. There is also a permanent exhibition dedicated to the prisoners of Stutthof inside the post-camp buildings. On the back of the wall there is a Reliquary of nearly completely burnt human remains from the holocaustal stake – place where in the years of 1944 and 1945 the Nazis burnt the bodies of their victims.
It is not recommended that children under the age of 13 visit the museum.