Old Town, Gdansk, Poland.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2024

My journey in Gdansk, Poland, began in the heart of the Old Town, where I stayed along the picturesque Motlawa River. The riverfront’s charm, with its historic buildings and serene waters, served as a perfect backdrop for my few days’ getaway. A walk along the riverside is a journey through the city’s heart, offering stunning views of Gdansk’s architecture. The tranquility of the river is a pleasant contrast to the bustling Old Town. If I thought the riverside was reminiscent of Boat Quay and Clarke Quay in Singapore, there was good reason.

Gdansk, with roots tracing back to the 10th century, has evolved from a small settlement into a major trading hub, largely due to its strategic location and ties to the Hanseatic League. This rich history is mirrored in the Old Town’s architecture, a stunning array of colorful, narrow houses that line the charming cobblestone streets, beckoning you to explore their nooks and crannies.

Even on the rainy days of late February 2024, I was immediately drawn to the vibrant colors of the buildings and the bustling life in the squares. A leisurely stroll through these streets is like a walk through time, with every corner revealing a piece of Gdansk’s storied past. The Main Town Hall, a stunning testament to the city’s medieval heritage, offers a glimpse into Gdansk’s rich history. Although I didn’t have time to take a guided tour, I explored the activities along the Long Market. Its array of shops and cafes provided a lively atmosphere. A personal curiosity was to observe the numerous jewellery shops that specialized in amber jewellery. Beautiful and intricate, it made for some window shopping opportunity in the heart of the Old Town. On the food front, the corner T-Bone Steakhouse was a restaurant that caught my eye, serving up delicious cuts of meat to your preferred doneness.

At the heart of Long Market stands the Neptune Fountain, a symbol of Gdansk’s connection to the sea. This impressive sculpture captures the essence of the city’s maritime heritage. Further enhancing the city’s grandeur is the Royal Castle, which has witnessed Gdansk’s transformation over centuries. The city was under heavy construction and building during my visit, a continued effort of the city’s evolution. The city’s post-war rebuilding aimed to erase German influences and celebrate its Dutch and Flemish connections, evident in the architecture of the city’s buildings. Walking through the streets, I couldn’t help but admire the artisans’ work in restoring Gdansk’s landmarks, their attention to detail evident in every statue, embellishment, and building façade.