Gdańsk is the Polish maritime capital with the population nearing half a million. It is a large centre of economic life, science, culture, and a popular tourist destination. Lying on the Bay of Gdańsk and the southern cost of the Baltic Sea the city is a thousand years old. With its Hanseatic tradition, it has for ages played a major role in the commercial relationships between Northern and Western Europe on the one hand, and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe on the other hand. Today, Gdańsk is the capital of the Pomeranian province and an important administration centre.
Gdańsk – an open city
In its “golden age” the city enjoyed the specific status of a municipal republic. It was also a melting pot of cultures and ethnical groups. The air of tolerance and the wealth built on trade made culture, science, and art. flourish. Today, works by outstanding Gdańsk masters can be admired in museums, churches, and galleries. These collections, as well as the historic sites of enchanting beauty witness a thousand years of the city’s continued existence. The break-through events of the most recent turbulent period are documented in the multi-medial exhibition: “Roads to Freedom” arranged in the historic BHP hall of the Gdańsk Shipyard. The exposition recalls the local struggle for freedom and justice, and the birth of the first Independent Trade Union, “Solidarity”. These developments triggered the avalanche that toppled communism in Europe.
From amber to high-tech
The recent ten-odd years have brought huge transformation of the Gdańsk economy. The city’s industrial map continues to include some of the traditional branches, e.g. the shipping, petrochemical, chemical, and food industries. However, the share of know-how based lines such as electronics, telecommunications, IT technology, or cosmetics and pharmaceuticals is on the rise. The specific trade of amber processing is also far from minor in importance. Gdańsk cultivates its centuries-long tradition in the field, and its nickname of the world capital of amber is well earned. Just like in the olden days the city owes much to its sea port. The harbour, largest along the Polish coast and in the entire Southern Baltic basin, continues to develop.
Gdańsk is strategically located at the crossing of major transit routes and plays the function of a large transport and cargo handling node. It offers well-developed business infrastructure, rich research, technical, and advisory backup, and highly educated human resources. All these factors put Gdańsk among the top-ranking Polish cities in terms of investment attractiveness. The city owns extensive land available for investments and sites designated for development, including buildings of historic status. The envisaged future of Gdańsk is directed to such ventures as for instance the bold project of creating a multi-functional downtown area to span 3 Maja Street and bind two separate city into a single organism, reconstructing the 17th century Elizabethan theatre, or revitalising the 19th century Lower City residential district. Ultimately, the city cherishes a vision of a huge investment undertaking: the project of erecting the New City on the post-industrial estate reclaimed from the Gdańsk Shipyard.
Gdańsk has a modern international airport and two ferry terminals servicing regular lines between Gdańsk and Copenhagen via Trelleborg (Denmark), and Gdańsk and Nynashamn (Sweden).
Gdańsk – a green city
Our living standard is determined by the quality of the surrounding natural environment. In Gdańsk the issue of environment protection is given an exceptionally high priority, as is evidenced by its numerous environmental investments. The nature was very generous here. Sprawling on the southern Baltic coast, Gdańsk gains a lot thanks to its background of the picturesque Tri-City Landscape Park and the hills and lakes of the Kashubian Switzerland district.
The offer addressed at those who seek leisure at the sea comprises twenty three kilometres of clean beaches, three organised bathing grounds, and a 130-metre long pier. These are appended with such other outdoor attractions as the Gdańsk cycling tracks, zoological gardens, the famous Oliwa Park with its ancient trees, the “Gdańsk Fortress” Culture Park of City Fortifications with unique authentic military architecture, numerous parks and city squares, or the nature reserves of the Sobieszewo Island. The list is far from complete. The heart of the Old City features a yacht marina. Amateurs of water sports can indulge in their pastime out in the Bay of Gdańsk or along the Motława Arm, an exquisite watercourse for canoeing or kayak escapades.
Always hospitable, Gdańsk invites visitors to its charming lanes and historic interiors, bathing grounds on the sea and sailing courses, comfortable hotels, elegant restaurants, and cosy cafes. The city has several theatres, a philharmonic hall, opera house, outdoor summer musical stage, three multi-cinema complexes and several smaller cinemas, frequented youth clubs, pubs, and discos. Its numerous museums, concerts, fairs, exhibitions, and street theatrical events complete the broad spectrum of the city’s cultural offer. Everyone will find something of his/her liking, irrespective of the interests or mood.