Gdansk – Old Town

OLD TOWN

Street: Podwale Grodzkie, Podwale Staromiejskie and Wałowa surround the northern part of former Gdańsk. It is the Old Town – once a sailors' district, dock workers and the poor. It is not a bustling and frequented place, although there are plenty of cafes and attractive places for fair entertainment. However, life in the gray streets stops even before dark, which doesn't mean, that you can carelessly walk by the moon here. On the contrary. Admittedly, the Old Town is far from the infamous Dluga and Mariacka areas, but its nooks and crannies, shrouded in a mysterious atmosphere, it is difficult to deny the dark atmosphere of a forbidden place. To get to the Old Town right away, enough from Karmelicka Street, which opens right in front of the main exit from the railway station, head towards the Heweliusz hotel towering over the roofs of the houses. The modern building is located in the very center of the Old Town, close to its main historic buildings. There, who will gladly make their way, that the oldest area inhabited long before the arrival of St.. Wojciech, they should go along the Motława River, Długim and Rybackie Pobrzeże to Wartka Street (10 minutes from the Green Gate). Poor remnants of the Teutonic castle chip and crumble between Warta and Grodzka (a fragment of the wall and a low tower converted into a residential house – Rapid 8). As a preserved relic of the very old history of Gdańsk, they are an appropriate introduction to exploring the Old Town.

Piast settlement

At the time of the heyday of Mieszko I's political career, the city of Gdańsk, founded approx 970 r., it was situated on an island surrounded by the waters of the Motława and the Vistula rivers, which has changed its course over the course of hundreds of years.

When St.. Wojciech – bishop and missionary – before his last trip to pagan Prussia in 997 r. visited the city, Gdańsk was already a thriving city, extending over the area defined by today's streets: Cloth Hall, Grodzka and Rycerska, and one fifth of its area was occupied by the seat of the Pomeranian dukes. In those days, the streets of the castle – lined with wooden planks and devoid of sewage – they were smelly and dirty. Life of the inhabitants, most of whom only lived to see 40 years (only the strongest individuals turned sixty), was filled with work, domestic activities and entertainment. They dealt mainly with crafts and fishing. Taverns were the place of meetings and games, in which they sang to the accompaniment of five-string geese, beer and honey were enjoyed, and dice were played passionately. In years 1308-1454, when the cruel rule of the Teutonic Knights brought, apart from terror and exploitation of the local population, the expansion of the Main City, the old city slowly lost its importance. For centuries, up to years 30. XX w., "second-class townspeople" lived a poor life in the houses of the Old Town, mainly of Polish nationality, working mostly as laborers, artisans, petty merchants and dock workers.

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