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The Old Suburb and the Isles

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Another part of Gdansk, though not so rich in gabled houses and impressive mansions as the Main City, is the Old Suburb and the Isles. It used to abound in granaries and industrial buildings. In the 15th century Gdansk was ranked second to Amsterdam as a maritime centre for grain trade. However, most of the buildings of that golden period have not survived till today as they were damaged in 1945. Only a part was rebuilt after the Second World War. Of all the buildings in this part of Gdansk the Franciscan Church, built in the Gothic style, is worth visiting.

Church of the HolyTrinity GdanskThis towering Church of the Holy Trinity (Kosciol sw.Trojcy), erected between 1420 and 1514, was seriously damaged during the Second World War. Nowadays it is mostly noted for St. Anne's Chapel which is among the most beautiful late-Gothic architectural monuments in the region of Pomerania. The Church once housed the city's first library. Nowadays in the Church of note are the beautifully carved Gothic stalls, the oldest preserved pulpit in Gdansk dating from 1541. There is also a vast number of tombstones, including an epitaph in memory of the Marquis of Oria who donated over 1,000 valuable books to the city library and is, thus, regarded as the founder of the Gdansk Library.

The adjoining Post-Franciscan Monastery houses the extremely interesting National Museum. It is mainly famous for housing Flemish and Dutch paintings, elaborately carved furniture, the 17/18th-century gold cups, the ceramics of old Gdansk, etc. The museum boasts Hans Memling's triptych, ''The Final Judgment''. It has been on display in the National Museum since 1956 when it was returned to the city by the Russians.

Granary Island GdanskAnother attraction of this part of Gdansk is the Granary Island (Wyspa Spichrzow), which used to be an industrial district of the city due to the granaries located here. In the 16th century there were as many as three hundred granaries on the Granary Island, making Gdansk one of the richest cities in Europe. Each of the granaries had its name and a coat of arms on the facade. However, hardly any of them can be seen today as the whole island was almost levelled in 1945. Consequently, the Island is full of ruined brick walls nowadays.

In the three reconstructed granaries on Olawianka the Central Maritime Museum is located. These three Renaissance granaries make up only a part of the Central Maritime Museum. The Crane and the ships on the Motlawa river pier are also a part of it. The history of the maritime traditions of Gdansk and Poland and of the Vistula sailing is presented here. The first ship built in the Gdansk shipyard after World War II, the Soldek, with all of the parts accessible to the visitors is a living museum. The Crane, a symbol of Gdansk, is also a part of the museum exposition. It is here that one can see not only the two giant drive-wheels of the 15th-century crane but permanent and temporary exhibitions devoted to the life of the old Gdansk port. As it is the oldest crane in Europe, it is definitely worth a look inside.


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