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The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. The correct title is Gdańsk.

(Flag ) (Coat of Arms )
Motto: Nec temere, nec timide (Neither rashly nor timidly)
Voivodship Pomeranian
Municipal government Rada miasta Gdańska
Mayor Paweł Adamowicz
Area 262 km²
 - city
 - urban
 - density

461 400 (2003)
City rights
Area code +48 58
Car plates GD
Twin towns Astana, Barcelona, Bremen, Cleveland, Elsinore, Kaliningrad, Kalmar, Marseilles, Nice, Odessa, Rotterdam, Rouen, Sefton, St. Petersburg, Turku, Vilnius
[ Municipal Website]

Gdańsk (pronounced: Image:Ltspkr.png [gdaɲsk], Kashubian: Gduńsk, Latin: Gedania, German: Danzig) is the 6th largest city in Poland, its principal seaport, and the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodship. Gdańsk is pronounced IPA <span style="font-family: Arial Unicode MS, Lucida Sans Unicode, Lucida Grande, Code2000, Gentium">[gdaɲsk]</span> (listen) in Polish and <span style="font-family: Arial Unicode MS, Lucida Sans Unicode, Lucida Grande, Code2000, Gentium">[gəˈdɑːnsk]</span>, <span style="font-family: Arial Unicode MS, Lucida Sans Unicode, Lucida Grande, Code2000, Gentium"> [gəˈdansk]</span>, or <span style="font-family: Arial Unicode MS, Lucida Sans Unicode, Lucida Grande, Code2000, Gentium">[gəˈdænsk]</span> in English.

The city lies on the southern coast of the Gdańsk Bay (of the Baltic Sea), in a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdynia and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the Tricity (Trójmiasto) with a population of over a million people. Gdańsk is, with a population of 460,000 (2002), the largest city in the historical province of Eastern Pomerania.

Gdańsk is situated at the mouth of the Motława river, connected to a Leniwka, a branch in the delta of the Vistula, whose waterway system connects 60% of the area of Poland, giving the city a unique advantage as the center of Poland's sea trade.

A major port since the 14th century and subsequently a principal ship-building centre, today's Gdańsk remains an important industrial centre together with the developed since the 1920s of the nearby port of Gdynia. In the 1970s the modern port (Port Północny) in Gdańsk was developed, accessible for much bigger ships, including middle sized tankers.



Like many other European cities, Gdańsk has had many different names throughout its history. The Polish name is Gdańsk and in the local Kashubian language it is known as Gduńsk. Due to the city's German heritage the name Danzig is still used but in the international community this name was more commonly used before World War II. The city's Latin name may be given as any of Gedania, Gedanum or Dantiscum; the variety of Latin names reflects the influence of the Polish, Kashubian, and German names.

Historical documents

The name of Gdańsk is usually interpreted as a town located on Gdania river, which is thought to be the original name of the Motława branch the city is situated on. The name of a settlement was recorded after St. Adalbert's demise in 997 A.D. as urbs Gyddanyzc and later was written as Kdanzk (1148), Gdanzc (1188), Gdansk (1236), Danzc (1263), Danczk (1311, 1399, 1410, 1414–1438), Danczik (1399, 1410, 1414), Danczig (1414), Gdansk (1454, 1468, 1484), Gdansk (1590), Gdąnsk (1636) and in Latin documents Gedanum or Dantiscum. These early recordings show the Pomeranian name Gduńsk, the Polish name Gdańsk and the German name Danzig.

Alternative spellings from medieval and early modern documents are Gyddanyzc, Kdansk, Gdanzc, Dantzk, Dantzig, Dantzigk, Dantiscum and Gedanum. The official Latin name of Gedanum was used simultaneously.

Special celebration names

On special occasions it is also known as The Royal Polish City of Gdańsk; Polish: Królewskie Polskie Miasto Gdańsk, German: Königliche Polnische Stadt Danzig, Latin: Regia Civitas Polonica Gedanensis, Kashubian: Królewsczi Polsczi Gard Gduńsk.

The Kashubians prefer the name: Our Capital City Gdańsk (=Nasz Stoleczny Gard Gduńsk) or The Kashubian Capital City Gdańsk (=Stoleczny Kaszëbsczi Gard Gduńsk).


  • Gdańsk, in: Kazimierz Rymut, Nazwy Miast Polski, Ossolineum, Wrocław 1987
  • Hubert Gurnowicz, Gdańsk, in: Nazwy miast Pomorza Gdańskiego, Ossolineum, Wrocław 1978


Main article: History of Gdansk, see also: History of Pomerania

Historical summary

Seal of M&#347;ciwój II, duke of Gda&#324;sk Pomerania (1271-1294)
Seal of Mściwój II, duke of Gdańsk Pomerania (1271-1294)

According to archeologists, the Gdańsk stronghold was constructed in the 980s; however, the year 997 has in recent years been considered to be the date of the foundation of the city itself, as the year in which Saint Adalbert of Prague (sent by the Polish king Boleslaus the Brave) baptized the Gdańsk inhabitants (urbs Gyddanyzc). In the following years Gdańsk was the main centre of a Polish splinter duchy ruled by the dynasty of Dukes of Pomerania. The most famous of them, Swantipolk II, granted a local autonomy charter in ca. 1235 to the city, which had some 2,000 inhabitants. Gdańsk became a flourishing trading city with some 10,000 inhabitants by the year 1308, however in this year it was occupied and demolished by the Teutonic Knights (the Gdańsk massacre of November 13, 1308). This led to the city's decline and to a series of wars between the rebellious Knights and the Polish kings, ending with the Peace of Kalisz in 1343 when the Knights acknowledged that they would keep Pomerania as "an alm" from the Polish king. This made the legal basis of their possession of the province to remain in some doubt. The agreement permitted the foundation of the municipality in 1343 and the development of increased trade in export of grain from Poland via the Vistula river trading routes. The city became a full member of the Hanseatic League by 1361. When a new war broke out in 1409 and ended with the Battle of Grunwald (1410) the city accepted the direct overlordship of Polish kings, but with the Peace of Thorn (1411) it returned to the Teutonic Knights' administration. In 1440 it participated in the foundation of the Prussian Union which led to the Thirteen Years War (1454-1466) and the incorporation of Gdańsk Pomerania, under direct rule of the Polish Crown.

Thanks to the Royal charters granted by the king Casimir IV the Jagiellonian and the free access to all Polish markets, Gdańsk became a large and rich seaport and city. The 16th to 17th centuries were a Golden Age for trade and culture in Gdańsk. Inhabitants from various ethnic groups (Germans, Poles, Jews and the Dutch being the largest) contributed to the specific Gdańsk identity and richest culture of the period. The city suffered slowly economic decline becauce of the wars in the 18th century, which ended with the Partitions of Poland in 1772-1793. Some citizens of Gdańsk fought for Gdańsk's independence, but they had to accept the annexation of the city by the Kingdom of Prussia in 1793 and, again in 1815, after a short period as a Free City (1807-1815) under Napoleon. In contrast to the independent period, under the Prussian administration Gdańsk became a relatively unimportant city dominated by the military garrison and the administration officials. As part of Prussia, it became part of the German Empire in 1871.

After World War I, Poland became independent, and the Poles hoped to restore Gdańsk as 'a free access to the sea', as they had been promised by the Allies. They were very unhappy when the city was not placed under full Polish sovereignty, but was made into the Free City of Gdańsk, formally an autonomous part of Poland and protected by the League of Nations, but in practice dominated by the local German-speaking residents. Because these authorities obstructed Polish trade and restricted Poles from settling in the city, the Polish government decided to invest in construction of the nearby seaport of Gdynia, which in the following years took the majority of total Polish exports.

Tensions arising from quarrels between Germany and Poland over control of the Free City served as a pretext for the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 and the outbreak of World War II. Gdańsk was annexed to Nazi Germany. Thousands of Poles and Jews were expelled or executed.

The city was taken by Polish and Soviet forces on March 30, 1945 after a fierce battle with the defending Germans. 90% of the city was reduced to ruins, and it is estimated that 40% of the pre-war population was killed during the war. By the decision of the Allies at the Yalta Conference and the Potsdam Conference Gdańsk was ceded to full Polish sovereignty. Poland started a programme of denazification of all Germans from the city. In 1950, around 285,000 former Gdańsk inhabitants lived in exile in the remaining parts of Germany, while 100 000 had lost their lives. The city was rebuilt from ruins in the 1950s and 1960s to become a major port and industrial centre of communist Poland, once again known as Gdańsk.

Gdańsk was the scene of anti-government demonstrations which led to the downfall of Poland's communist leader Wladyslaw Gomulka in December 1970, and ten years later the Gdańsk Shipyard was the birthplace of the Solidarity trade union movement, whose opposition to the government led to the end of communist party rule (1989) and to the election as Polish president of its leader Lech Wałęsa. Today it remains a major industrial city and shipping port.

Historical population

Historical population
of Gdańsk

ca. 1000 1000
1235 2,000
1600 40,000
1650 70,000
1700 50,000
1750 46,000
1793 36,000
1800 48,000
1825 61,900
1840 65,000
1852 67,000
1874 90,500
1880 13,701
1885 108,500
1900 140,600
1910 170,300
1920 360,000 (whole FCD)
1925 210,300
1939 250,000
1946 118,000
1950  ?
1960 286,900
1970 365,600
1975 421,000
1980 456,700
1990  ?
1994 464,000
2000  ?
2002 460,000

Compare: population of Tricity


Main article: Economy of Gdansk

Neptune statue at the Old Town
Neptune statue at the Old Town

The city's industrial kaleidoscope is dominated by traditional lines of shipbuilding, petrochemical and chemical industry, and food processing. The share of the know-how based sectors such as electronics, telecommunication, IT engineering, or cosmetics and pharmaceuticals is on the rise. Amber processing specific for the local economy is also prominent.


Gdańsk used to be an important center of culture. In the 16th century it used to host Shakespeare theater on foreign tours. Currently, there is a Fundation Theatrum Gedanensis aimed at rebuilding the Shakespeare theater building on its traditional site in Gdańsk. It is expected that Gdańsk will have a permanent English language theater, as at present it is only an annual event: the review of the Shakespeare theater groups from Poland and abroad.

The Mot&#322;awa River in Gda&#324;sk (2002)
The Motława River in Gdańsk (2002)


Gdańsk boasts many fine Hanseatic league buildings. The St Mary's Church (Bazylika Mariacka), built in the 15th century, is one of the largest brick churches in the world.

On the Motława river there is a museum ship SS Soldek anchored.

Gdańsk is the starting point of the EuroVelo 9 cycle route which continues on southward through Poland, then onto the Czech Republic, Austria, and Slovenia before it finally ends on the Adriatic Sea at Pula in Croatia.


Main article: Sports in Gdansk

There are many popular professional sports team in the Gdańsk and Tricity area. Amateur sports are played by thousands of Gdańsk citizens and also in schools of all levels (elementary, secondary, university).

Politics and Local Government

Main article: Politics of Gdansk

Contemporary Gdańsk is the capital of the Pomeranian province and is one of the major centres of economic and administrative life in Poland. Many important agencies of the state and local government levels have their main offices here: the Provincial Administration Office, the Provincial Government, the Ministerial Agency of the State Treasury, the Agency for Consumer and Competition Protection, the National Insurance regional office, the Court of Appeal, and the High Administrative Court.

Regional center

Gdańsk Voivodship was extended in 1999 to include most of Słupsk Voivodship, western part of Elbląg Voivodship and Chojnice County from Bydgoszcz Voivodship to form new Pomeranian Voivodship. The area of the region was thus extended from 7,394 km² to 18,293 km² and population from 1,333,800 (1980) to 2,198,000 (2000). By 1998, Tricity or greater Gdańsk, constituted an absolute majority of population; almost half of the inhabitants of the new region live in the centre.

Education and Science

There are 10 universities with 60,436 students, of which 10,439 are graduates (2001).

  • Gdańsk University (Uniwersytet Gdański)
  • Gdańsk University of Technology (Politechnika Gdańska]]
  • Medical Academy (Akademia Medyczna)
  • Physical Education Academy (Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego im. Jędrzeja Śniadeckiego
  • Musical Academy (Akademia Muzyczna im. Stanisława Moniuszki)
  • Arts Academy (Akademia Sztuk Pięknych) [[1] ]
  • Instytut Budownictwa Wodnego PAN
  • Ateneum - Szkoła Wyższa
  • Gdańska Wyższa Szkoła Humanistyczna
  • Gdańska Wyższa Szkoła Administracji
  • Wyższa Szkoła Bankowa
  • Wyższa Szkoła Społeczno-Ekonomiczna
  • Wyższa Szkoła Turystyki i Hotelarstwa w Gdańsku
  • Wyższa Szkoła Zarządzania

Scietific and regional organizations

Further reading

  • (ed.) E. Cieślak, Historia Gdańska, vol. I–II, Gdańsk 1978
  • E. Cieślak, C. Biernat, Dzieje Gdańska, Gdańsk 1969
  • P. Simson, Geschichte der Stadt Danzig, vol. 1–4, Danzig 1913–18
  • H. Samsonowicz, Badania nad kapitałem mieszczańskim Gdańska w II połowie VX wieku., Warszawa 1960
  • Cz. Biernat, Statystyka obrotu towarowego Gdańska w latach 1651–1815., Warszawa 1962
  • M. Bogucka, Gdańsk jako ośrodek produkcyjny w XIV–XVII wieku., Warszawa 1962
  • M. Bogucka, Handel zagraniczny Gdańska w pierwszej połowie XVII wieku, Wrocław 1970
  • H. Górnowicz, Z. Brocki, Nazwy miast Pomorza Gdańskiego, Wrocław 1978
  • Gminy województwa gdańskiego, Gdańsk 1995
  • Gerard Labuda (ed.), Historia Pomorza, vol. I-IV, Poznań 1969–2003
  • L. Bądkowski, Pomorska myśl polityczna, Gdańsk 1990
  • W. Odyniec, Dzieje Prus Królewskich (1454–1772). Zarys monograficzny, Warszawa 1972
  • (ed.) W. Odyniec, Dzieje Pomorza Nadwiślańskiego od VII wieku do 1945 roku, Gdańsk 1978
  • L. Bądkowski, W. Samp, Poczet książąt Pomorza Gdańskiego, Gdańsk 1974
  • B. Śliwiński, Poczet książąt gdańskich, Gdańsk 1997
  • Józef Spors, Podziały administracyjne Pomorza Gdańskiego i Sławieńsko-Słupskiego od XII do początków XIV w, Słupsk 1983
  • M. Latoszek, Pomorze. Zagadnienia etniczno-regionalne, Gdańsk 1996
  • Działacze polscy i przedstawiciele R.P. w Wolnym Mieście Gdańsku, Pomorze Gdańskie nr 9, Gdańsk 1974
  • B. Bojarska, Eksterminacja inteligencji polskiej na Pomorzu Gdańskim (wrzesień-grudzień 1939), Poznań 1972
  • K. Ciechanowski, Ruch oporu na Pomorzu Gdańskim 1939–1945., Warszawa 1972
  • Dziedzictwo kulturowe Pomorza nad Wisłą, Pomorze Gdańskie nr 20, Gdańsk 1997

See also

External links

  • The Website of Gdańsk Town Hall
  • Together in Gdańsk Again — Comprehensive information about Gdańsk online
  • Freie Stadt Danzig
  • Airport Gdańsk-Rębiechowo
  • Tricity Regional Portal
  • Gdańsk University
  • Gdańsk Companies
  • Gdansk Life
  • Mayors of Gdańsk

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Last updated: 02-08-2005 09:36:16
Last updated: 02-17-2005 08:10:09