Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
Most of the countries have their popular Summer resorts where people flee during the hottest days of the year. Most likely they have access to oceans, seas or rivers... Poland’s one of the most famous Summer destination is Tricity (Trojmiasto) – urban area consisting of three cities with access to the Baltic Sea. These are: Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot.
Although Polish coast might seem to many not attractive – because of the urbanisation, pollution of the water and crowded beaches – the Poles boast of their only access to the sea. Tricity is not only favourite destination to those who wish to bath in the water during the heat as it provides also fabulous monuments, cultural and historical sites for its visitors. The three cities are situated at the Gdansk Bay that ensures also sandy beaches for tourists.
The city is known also by its German name – Danzig. It used to be one of the richest cities in whole Poland. The first mentions of Gdansk come from 997 and this date starts conventionally the history of the city. Gdansk is also symbolically acclaimed as the place of WW II outbreak and the fall of Communism in Central Europe (as the Solidarity movement – led by Lech Walesa – was born there).
The history of Gdansk is very turbulent and complicated as the city was under the rule of various tribes (like Pomeranians), kingdoms (like Prussian or Polish), nations (like German or Polish) and rulers. The city was also taken over by the Order of the Teutonic Knights and in 1361 it became a full member of Hanseatic League. Before 1945 (when Gdansk returned to Poland) the city faced various periods of rule from different states. For about 29 years (between 1807-1814 and 1918-1939) Gdansk was marked with a status of free city.
Nowadays there are about 450 thousand people living in Gdansk. The city belongs to the most important urban and cultural centres of the Poland.
The main sights, visited by tourists, are ‘Long Street’ (with Uphagen House and Main Town Hall) and ‘Long Market’ (with Arthur’s Court, Neptune Fountain and Golden House). Other sights that one will find on the Royal Way are Torture House, Prison Tower and the three gates: Upland, Golden and Green. Among numerous historical churches in Gdansk the most popular is St Mary’s Basilica (from 15th century) that is at the same time the largest brick church in the world. The visitors will surely appreciate beautiful Hanseatic style buildings and astonishing medieval port crane called Zuraw.
The city of Gdansk got its municipal rights in 1926 due to the plans of building the harbour there (because of unstable situation in Gdansk) what made a small fishing village develop into a large city within several years. Gdynia especially boasts of large coastal walking areas. The city is inhabited by about 250 thousand people. Its buildings represent modern architecture.
The city is situated between Gdansk and Gdynia (in North of Poland along the Baltic Sea coast) and is one of the most important Spa resorts in the country. It became especially recognised after the nation-wide song contest – called Sopot Festival – has been organised there since 1961. It boasts also of the longest wooden pier in the world. The first mentions of Sopot come from 1283 but the stronghold had existed there already in 8th century. The visitors can admire beautiful buildings such as numerous villas (mostly from the beginning of 20th century), The Forest Opera (Opera Lesna) from 1909 – large open-air amphitheatre, or spa buildings. The city, that offers also large sandy beaches at Gdansk Bay, is inhabited by about 38 thousand people.
All the three cities are situated in nearness of each other. Easy access (with public transport) enables the tourists to visit all 3 of them in a short period of time. Each of the cities offers different architecture and ambience but all ensure the stroll along the Baltic coast.