Historic sites - the reminders of Gdansk's splendour

Tourists usually begin a stroll through historical Gdansk on the Royal Way, the several-hundred-metre long main axis of the old city. The Royal Way starts from the Renaissance Wyzynna (Upland) Gate (1586-1588), once part of the city’s western fortifications. Right behind it is the Torture House and the Prison Tower, built in the 14th century and subsequently converted. Nearby, on the left-hand side, is the Great Armory (1600-1609) — Gdansk’s former arsenal. This building is considered Gdansk’s best example of Dutch Mannerism. Nearby is Zlota (Golden) Gate (1612-1614), another example of Mannerist architecture. This gate opens Dluga Street, where the wealthiest Gdansk residents used to live. Among the many houses with fascinating facades is the Uphagen House, 12 Dluga St., which has been a museum since 1910. This house includes examples of the gloriously rich historic interiors of an upper-class Gdansk home, with original fittings.

Near the far end of Dluga Street stands the Main Town Hall, dating from the late 13th/early 14th century. Its size and form are proof of Gdansk’s former splendour. Many elements (stoves, painted ceilings, wood panelling and furniture) have been preserved in the interiors, which were once famous throughout Europe for their luxury and refinement. The Town Hall opens Gdansk’s most characteristic area — the wide Dlugi Targ (Long Market) Street, with beautiful, excellently reconstructed tenement houses.

These include the Artus Court from the second half of the 15th century, which was the meeting place of wealthy Gdansk citizens. The magnificent late-Gothic façade conceals spacious interiors, which house a 12-m-tall Renaissance ceramic-tile stove, old ship models and many other beautiful items. The building’s huge cellars house a wine cellar and a restaurant. In front of the Artus Court is the large 17th-century Rococo Neptune fountain, the symbol of the city and a meeting place for lovers.