Gdańsk offers everything we could want from an urban travel destination — beautiful scenery, dramatic history, and a short hop to the beach. Below are scenes from the central city, which has been rebuilt in all its former glory from rubble after World War II.
The shadow of World War II is everywhere in Poland, but Gdańsk is where it all began. At 4:45 am on September 1, 1939, the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein began shelling the Polish guard post at Westerplatte, the entrance to the Gdańsk harbor, to begin the invasion of Poland.
It was also in Gdańsk where the half century Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe truly began to unravel as shipyard workers rebelled against rising food prices. In 1970, a riot at the Gdańsk shipyard was brutally suppressed. Ten years later, as the Solidarity movement began to take hold, a monument to those workers was built, featuring the moving words of the poet Czesław Miłosz:
You who wronged a simple man
Do not feel safe
A poet remembers
You can kill one, but another is born