Monday, July 21, 2014

One of the devastating reminders of World War II in Gdańsk lays just across the Motława River on Granary Island (Wyspa Spichrzów).

Here you’ll still find skeletal remains of some of the more than 300 granaries that once operated on Granary Island, which date back to the 14th-16th centuries. At one time, the granaries serviced more than 200 ships a day and supplied more than 300,000 tons of grain per year when Gdańsk was the largest Baltic harbor.
I found it interesting to walk around and explore Granary Island, which once was joined to the mainland, but was created in 1576 when the New Motława Canal was dug.
Soon after crossing the bridge connecting the island to the Main Town, you’ll encounter the Gothic, red-brick defensive tower, Stagiewna Gate (Stagwie Mleczne), built in 1517-1519. It is one of the city’s most important surviving monuments on the island. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much history about this gate except for this brief Pomorskie Travel link.
Continue walking around the island and you’ll discover more skeletal shells of the former granaries, which once had names like Gloria, Bear Dance and Copper.
Apparently, there are plans to restore some of the ruined granaries. Here you can see a short video clip about the Restoration on Granary Island. The project includes benches, a lighted walking path around the entire island, hotels, offices and apartments and is being partly subsidized with European Union funds. We saw some of the construction cranes on the island last summer.
A few of the granaries have been restored over the years. The walls of three of them were preserved on Ołowianka Street and after reconstruction in 1985, they became the main exhibition area for the Central Maritime Museum. The museum’s collection is focused on the history of shipbuilding and trade as well as models of Slavic boats, Gdańsk’s medieval ships, warships from the 16th and 17th centuries and more. Perhaps we’ll have more time to explore this museum on our next trip to Gdańsk.

Another 17th century granary was converted into a hotel, Hotel Królewski, Ołowianka 1, and is a good place for a  pre-dinner drink along the river. Unfortunately, the hotel looks like it’s already booked up every weekend in August.

After exploring the island, we returned to the Main Town and enjoyed a fantastic dinner at Restauracja Cała Naprzód, which features wonderful views of Granary Island. We arrived around sunset so we could watch the boats come into the port. The restaurant is located on the top  floor of the fairly new Maritime Museum next to the Zuraw Crane and features a good international menu.
Hopefully, the next time we return to Gdańsk, the restoration projects taking place on Granary Island will be more evident.
You can even take a ride on this Old Galleon Ship on Motława River right by Granary Island.
Granary Island as seen at night from our dinner at Restauracja Cała Naprzód.

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Lois B said...

Granaries seemed to be a theme on our trip north to Torun and Gdansk. We stayed in two hotels that were both former granaries.

There is a lot a wheat in those fields.

Joy said...

@Lois, That sounds like fun! Unfortunately, the Królewskie is booked up for August. I'm sure we'll find somewhere nice to stay anyway. :-)