Germany’s lost cities : a tour of Gdańsk (Danzig)

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Adam Carr
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Re: Germany’s lost cities : a tour of Gdańsk (Danzig)

Post by Adam Carr » 22 Mar 2012 11:59

Both the street and the barracks took their name from the White Tower (Baszta Biała, Weisser Turm), once part of the Danzig city walls, which dates from the mid 15th century.
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Re: Germany’s lost cities : a tour of Gdańsk (Danzig)

Post by Adam Carr » 22 Mar 2012 12:00

Nearby is the Small Armoury (Mała Zbrojownia, Kleine Zeughaus), which dates from 1645. Like much of old Gdańsk, the building was almost totally destroyed in 1945 and has been restored, although prewar photos show it looking rather different. It now houses the Gdańsk Academy of Fine Arts (Akademia Sztuk Pięknych w Gdańsku).
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Re: Germany’s lost cities : a tour of Gdańsk (Danzig)

Post by Adam Carr » 22 Mar 2012 12:01

The Gdańsk coat of arms on the outer wall of the Small Armoury.
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Re: Germany’s lost cities : a tour of Gdańsk (Danzig)

Post by Adam Carr » 22 Mar 2012 12:01

Nearby on Plac Wałowy (Wall Platz) is this fine 19th century building, which seems to have been a warehouse (it’s not far from the southern dock area of the Motława). There are now plans to redevelop it as an upmarket residential complex. (http://invest-hotel.org/Plac_Walowy.html)
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Re: Germany’s lost cities : a tour of Gdańsk (Danzig)

Post by Adam Carr » 22 Mar 2012 12:02

On the bank of the Motława is this ruined round tower, which is called, believe it or not, the Trump Tower (Trumpfturm, Wieża Atutowa). It dates from the 16th century and was also once part of the city walls. Later it was used as an ammunition storehouse. It survived World War II intact, but in 1975 half of it suddenly collapsed. Ever since, Gdańsk seems to have had higher priorities than repairing it.
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Re: Germany’s lost cities : a tour of Gdańsk (Danzig)

Post by Adam Carr » 22 Mar 2012 12:03

This is another large army barracks, the Cavalry Barracks (Reiterkaserne) on the corner of Ulica Ułańska (Reiter Gasse) and Ulica Łąkowa (Weiden Gasse). Both Ułan and Reiter mean “cavalryman.” Today, despite its forbidding appearance, it’s a music academy.
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Re: Germany’s lost cities : a tour of Gdańsk (Danzig)

Post by Adam Carr » 22 Mar 2012 12:03

Further east along Ulica Ułańska is another large barracks. Here Ułańska does not correspond to the prewar Reiter Gasse, but instead to a street called Langgarter Hintergasse, which no longer exists. This was an infantry barracks.
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Re: Germany’s lost cities : a tour of Gdańsk (Danzig)

Post by Adam Carr » 22 Mar 2012 12:04

At least some of this barracks is still used for military purposes, because at the side of the building in Ulica Sadowa is a locked gate with a sign saying “Wojsko Polskie” – Polish Army.
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Re: Germany’s lost cities : a tour of Gdańsk (Danzig)

Post by Adam Carr » 22 Mar 2012 12:05

Like all Polish cities Gdańsk is full of Catholic churches, far too many to hope to photograph all of them. Most of them were Protestant churches before 1945, and Catholic churches before they were Protestant. These are just a few I passed while walking around. This is St James’s (Kościół św Jakuba, Jakobskirche) on Ulica Łagiewniki (Schüssel Damm).
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Re: Germany’s lost cities : a tour of Gdańsk (Danzig)

Post by Adam Carr » 22 Mar 2012 12:05

The churches of St Brigid (Kościół św Brygidy, Brigittenkirche) and St Catherine (Kościół św Katarzyny, Katharinkirche) stand side-by-side near the corner of Ulica Katarzynki (Katharinkirchensteig).and Ulica Mniszky (Nonnenhof). This is St Brigid’s, parts of which date to 1350. After World War II the church lay in ruins until the 1970s, since the communist regime had little interest in restoring churches.
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Re: Germany’s lost cities : a tour of Gdańsk (Danzig)

Post by Adam Carr » 22 Mar 2012 12:06

This is the more ornate façade of St Catherine’s. The church dates to the late 13th century, but has been rebuilt several times, most recently after World War II and again after a fire in 2006.
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Re: Germany’s lost cities : a tour of Gdańsk (Danzig)

Post by Adam Carr » 22 Mar 2012 12:07

As well as many churches, Gdańsk has many memorials. This seems to be an official memorial to the eternal Polishness of Gdańsk, recording events as far back as 1305. More seriously, it commemorates the Gdańsk Poles who died in German prisons and concentration camps in the period 1939-45.
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Re: Germany’s lost cities : a tour of Gdańsk (Danzig)

Post by Adam Carr » 22 Mar 2012 12:07

There seems to be little recognition today that some Danzig Germans opposed the Nazis and suffered for doing so. This is a memorial to the Danzig Socialist leader Hans Wichmann, who was murdered by the Nazis in 1937. But it was erected by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the research arm of the German Social Democratic Party, not by any Polish organisation.
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Re: Germany’s lost cities : a tour of Gdańsk (Danzig)

Post by Adam Carr » 22 Mar 2012 12:08

This equestrian statue of the Polish King John III (better known as Jan Sobieski), who in 1683 led the forces of Christendom in defeating the Turks at the gates of Vienna, might be thought less controversial. But even here Poland’s complex history intrudes. The statue was originally erected in 1898 in Lwów (now Lviv in Ukraine), then a majority-Polish city, although at that time most of Poland was part of the Russian Empire. Lwów was in the territory annexed by the Soviet Union in 1945, and the entire Polish population, along with their memorials such as this, were relocated to the areas which Poland annexed from Germany, such as Gdańsk.
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Re: Germany’s lost cities : a tour of Gdańsk (Danzig)

Post by Adam Carr » 22 Mar 2012 12:09

A more recent memorial appears on this undistinguished postwar office block on Ulica Wały Jagiełłonskie not far from the railway station. This was the Gdańsk headquarters of the Polish United Workers Party: the communist party which ruled Poland, under Soviet supervision, from 1948 to 1989.
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