Old Town Adventure

This past weekend, we replaced our gym time with walking all over Gdańsk and Sopot. There wasn’t much rhyme or reason to our meandering, but we wandered through the pretty streets, explored the Grand Mill, the Hall of the Old Town, Hala Targowa (market hall), St. Mary’s Church, the Old Gdańsk Crane, and the Golden Gate.

For a bit of background on Gdańsk, the city’s history starts in 997 when a Bohemian Bishop arrived and baptized the citizens. The Teutonic Knights controlled the city in the 15th century and built Malbork Castle, the largest brick castle in the world. Prussia annexed Gdańsk in 1793, was briefly controlled by Napoleon, and was transferred back to the Prussians/Germans. When WWII rolled around, the city was leveled and was also a massive building operation for German ships. Following the war, Gdańsk was painstakingly rebuilt to accurately reflect the city’s history and all of its foreign influences.

We started off near the canal and Grand Mill. This part of the river even features its own lock bridge, which I doubt will cause the bridge to start falling into the river like in Paris. In this same vicinity is the Hall of Old Town.

The Grand Mill by the Kanuł Raduni, an offshoot of the Martwa Wisła

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The Hall of Old Town

We then made our way to Hala Targowa, which is situated on top of a 13th century church (I had to Google this information after the fact since all of the information about the market was in Polish). The market was renovated in the mid 2000’s to display the ruins of the church on the market floor. Despite the rest of Gdańsk suffering significant damage during WWII, the market remained relatively untouched.

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Some gorgeous colors and facades

Our next stop was St. Mary’s Cathedral, the world’s largest brick, Gothic church. After 159 years of construction (1343-1502), the church was part of the Catholic congregation, then passed to the Protestants in 1572 until WWII. Inside, there are white washed walls with warped stone floors and many ornaments on display.

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St. Mary’s Cathedral

After St. Mary’s, we ducked into a brewery to warm up. We then made our way down to the Gdańsk Crane, an enormous wooden crane used to load and unload cargo from the ships at port. After, we headed back towards St. Mary’s and stumbled upon what I now realize is the Great Arsenal, a gorgeous Mannerist building. It’s one of the many buildings that was leveled during the war and rebuilt.

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The Great Arsenal

Our last stop in Old Town was the Golden Gate, which was built in 1612. The statues at the top of the gate depict the virtues of the citizens of Gdańsk: Prudence, Justice, Piety, and Harmony.

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The Golden Gate

After all of that walking, we rewarded ourselves with a delicious dinner at Tu’Gether in Sopot, a contemporary European restaurant. I cannot describe the food in a way to do it justice, but it was a fantastic meal!

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Homemade bread, poppyseed truffles with goose, rabbit with potatoes au gratin, and a chocolate torte

 

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