In December 1970, Gdańsk was the scene of anti-regime demonstrations, which led to the downfall of Poland’s communist leader Władysław Gomułka. During the demonstrations in Gdańsk and Gdynia, military as well as the police opened fire on the demonstrators causing several dozen deaths. Ten years later, in August, 1980, Gdańsk Shipyard was the birthplace of the Solidarity trade union movement, whose opposition to the Communist regime led to the end of Communist Party rule in 1989, and sparked a series of protests that successfully overturned the Communist regimes of the former Soviet bloc. Solidarity’s leader, Lech Wałęsa became President of Poland in 1990.

In 2014 the European Solidarity Centre, a museum and library devoted to the history of the movement, opened in Gdańsk.


A symbol of Gdańsk, the Neptune Fountain has stood in front of the Artus Court since 1633. It was built on the initiative of the mayor of Gdańsk, Bartłomiej Schachmann. The figure of Neptune refers to the bond between Gdańsk and the sea. The fountain was modeled by Peter Husen and Johann Rogge and cast in 1615 in Augsburg.


St. Mary’s Church in Gdańsk, properly called the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the finest historical building in  Gdańsk. Its construction began in 1379 and it took 159 years to construct this giant, in phases according to the growing technical possibilities and the wealth of the church  community. St. Mary’s is one of the largest European Brick Gothic buildings, which include castles.


The oldest sources mentioning the Crane as wooden port crane equipment date from 1367. Its present look refers to the image of the middle of the 15th century. The first wooden crane totally burnt down as a result of the 1442 fire. A new crane was built in the years 1442-1444. The crane had a defence function, it was also used to put up masts and reload goods. The Crane was a city gate too.


Wisłoujście Fortress is an historic fortress located in Gdańsk by the Martwa Wisła river, by an old estuary of the river Vistula, flowing into the Bay of Gdańsk. The tower was assigned to control the passage of ships, traveling to and from the Bay of Gdańsk’s main port cities of Gdańsk and Gdynia. The Wisłoujście Fortress was target for military campaigns.


The creation of the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre in 2008 is one the most important events since Poland gained its freedom 25 years ago. The history of the theatre dates back to he year 1610, the year when, to our best knowledge, a building known as the Fencing School, where English travelling players performed works of English Renaissance theatre. In 17th century the building was converted and the first theatre in Gdańsk, Komediahaus (House of Comedy), took its place there.

The theatre, which bore a striking resemblance to London’s Fortune Theatre, includes many Elizabethan features.

Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre and Theatrum Gedanense Foundation organize Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival every year. The Festival aims at presenting and popularizing the output of William Shakespeare by presentation of his plays, but also by other means.