Gdansk – King's Road

The Royal Route in Gdańsk


About 1343 r. The Teutonic Knights granted the location privilege to the settlement built on the site of the destroyed village of 1308 r. the city at Długi Targ. Soon the most significant economically was established here, militarily and culturally part of the city, The main city zwana (Main city). The richest merchants lived in the houses at Długa and Długi Targ, the most prominent families; Facilities important for the new urban center were also built: the town hall and the Artus Court. The elegant tenement houses on the Royal Route looked proudly at the processions of rulers marching at their feet, who – for example, Jan III Sobieski – they willingly resided in magnificent buildings at Długi Targ. Executions took place here, bale, tenders, the parade - the heart of Gdańsk was beating. The appearance of the buildings depends on the style of the era, in which they were erected, rebuilt, was renewed, and also from the wealth and vanity of the owner. Only the sizes of plots designated in the Middle Ages remain unchanged, which subsequent architects adjust to, while rebuilding tenement houses, it was rather taller than wide. Age, with which the buildings of Długa and Długi Targ have been associated since then, went down in history as the "golden age" of Gdańsk.

Gold age

It fell on the 16th and first half of the 17th century., and it ended with the Swedish deluge. The beginnings of the "golden age" can be found in 1454 r., when it was after the successful anti-Teutonic uprising, by virtue of the act of Kazimierz Jagiellończyk, Gdańsk was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Since then, the city has enjoyed numerous privileges, confirmed and extended by successive Polish rulers. The fact that it had a monopoly on maritime trade with foreign countries contributed to the strengthening of the unique position of the stronghold, as well as the high aspirations of the patriciate, acting as the ruler of the city and patron of the arts. Enlightened, The representatives of the wealthy bourgeoisie educated at European universities determined the programs not only in political terms, but also artistic for Gdańsk art, which was to bring joy and beauty, and also to teach and moralize. Hence the enormity of the parable, morals, sentences on pictures and portals, constituting a kind of ethics handbook. The patriot of Gdańsk loved the city in the first place, and then – depending on the era and the economic situation – or Poland, or Prussia, or the Third Reich.

The inhabitants of Gdańsk, who were rapidly getting rich in trade, did not arouse the sympathy of the Polish nobility, who felt exploited and deceived. Hence the nickname "Chłańsk" – significant enough, what a terrible dragon, squeezing juices from all over the country. About the inhabitants of Gdańsk, who endured all insults calmly, was said, that they are greedy, not very friendly, skimpy, etc.. The Gdańsk merchant was thrifty and diligent, and the greatest shame for him was poverty and the loss of property. Many of them were educated people, educating children, and it would be a tremendous injustice to attribute stupidity to them, lack of intelligence or ignorance of languages.

The inhabitants of Gdańsk were sensitive to art and curious about the world, they were collecting books, nature exhibits, etc.. The middle bourgeoisie was of a high standard; representatives of this social group graduated from municipal and private schools, they were in the world, they listened to the news, they wrote letters (in the summer, a letter from Gdańsk to Wrocław was sent 9 days, and in winter 11).

The poor and the rich shared a love of politics. The people of Gdańsk were pious, but not fanatical. Even if they tried to eliminate Jews or Menonnites from social life, they did so out of fear of competition in commerce rather than for ideological reasons.


After a 12-hour working day, ordinary people were hungry for rest and entertainment. Most often they visited pubs and taverns, where they listened to music, they danced, sometimes they beat themselves up, and most of all they listened to the stories of sailors about overseas countries and amazing adventures. Chess was commonly played, cards, dice and dominoes. Catholic holidays provided great attractions: processions, rites, church celebration. Flagellants appeared before Corpus Christi. April Fool's Day was celebrated, in the summer, Dominik was greeted happily, and in winter, people had fun at the famous Gdańsk carnivals. Great popularity, both commoners, and patriciate, enjoyed organized by the Brotherhood of St.. Jerzy knights tournaments in May, at the end of which a great ball was held at the Main Town Hall or at the Artus Court.

Education in former Gdańsk

The first stage in the education of young patricians was "primary school", called the Latin or trivial school. It was in Gdańsk 6 municipal and several times more private Latin schools. Latin was taught there, catechism, reading and writing, German and the basics of philosophy. These schools were focused on education in the fields of the humanities. The city or its patrons funded scholarships for poor and talented children. Girls from bourgeois homes could learn to write, reading, singing and sewing in monastery schools or private schools. The role of today's school board was played by Collegium Scholarchalae (composed of the mayor and 4 councilors), in charge of schools, including the Gdańsk Academic Gymnasium, famous for its high level of education, whose students chose to lecture on an academic model. Among the items, similar to primary school, the humanities prevailed, and the most interest, also among the townspeople, they were awakened by theology classes, which, moreover, often ended in a fight and a fight. They went abroad to study at famous European universities.

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