What You Need To Know
Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast. It is the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland’s principal seaport and is also the centre of the country’s fourth-largest metropolitan area. The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay (of the Baltic Sea), in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the Tricity (Trójmiasto), with a population approaching 1.4 million. Gdańsk itself has a population of 460,427 (December 2012), making it the largest city in the Pomerania region of Northern Poland. Gdańsk is the capital of Gdańsk Pomerania and the largest city of Kashubia. The city’s history is complex, with periods of Polish rule, periods of Prusso-German rule, and periods of autonomy or self-rule as a “free city”. Between the world wars, the Free City of Danzig was in a customs union with Poland and was located between German East Prussia and the so-called Polish Corridor. Gdańsk lies at the mouth of the Motława River, connected to the Leniwka, a branch in the delta of the nearby Vistula River, which drains 60 percent of Poland and connects Gdańsk with the Polish capital, Warsaw. Together with the nearby port of Gdynia, Gdańsk is also an important industrial center. In the late Middle Ages it was an important seaport and shipbuilding town, and in the 14th and 15th centuries a member of the Hanseatic League. In the interwar period, owing to its multi ethnic make-up and history, Gdańsk lay in a disputed region between Poland and the Weimar Republic, and later Nazi Germany. The city’s ambiguous political status was exploited, furthering tension between the two countries, which would ultimately culminate in the Invasion of Poland and the first clash of the Second World War just outside the city limits. In the 1980s it would become the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, which played a major role in bringing an end to Communist rule in Poland and helped precipitate the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Gdańsk is home to the University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk University of Technology, the National Museum, the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre, the Museum of World War II, Polish Baltic Philharmonic and the European Solidarity Centre. The city also hosts St. Dominic’s Fair, which dates back to 1260, and is regarded as one of the biggest trade and cultural events in Europe.
Area: 262 km²
Population: Estimate 462,705
The Polish złoty is the Official Currency.
The industrial sections of the city are dominated by shipbuilding, petrochemical & chemical industries, and food processing. The share of high-tech sectors such as electronics, telecommunications, IT engineering, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals is on the rise. Amber processing is also an important part of the local economy, as the majority of the world’s amber deposits lie along the Baltic coast. The Pomeranian Voivodeship, including Gdańsk, is also a major tourist destination in the summer, as millions of Poles and other European tourists flock to the beaches of the Baltic coastline. Major companies in Gdańsk:
Health care in Poland is delivered through a publicly funded health care system, which is free for all the citizens of Poland provided they fall into the “insured” category (usually meaning that they have their health insurance paid for by their employer, or are the spouse or child of an insured person).
Polish is the Official Language.
- Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport – an international airport located in Gdańsk;
- The Szybka Kolej Miejska (Tricity), (SKM) the ‘Fast Urban Railway,’ functions as a Metro system for the Tricity area including Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia, operating frequent trains to 27 stations covering the Tricity. The service is operated by electric multiple unit trains at a frequency of 6 minutes to 30 minutes between trains (depending on the time of day) on the central section between Gdańsk and Gdynia, and less frequently on outlying sections. The SKM system has been extended northwest of the Tricity, to Wejherowo, Lębork and Słupsk, 110 kilometres (68 miles) west of Gdynia, and to the south it has been extended to Tczew, 31 kilometres (19 miles) south of Gdańsk.
- Railways: The principal station in Gdańsk is Gdańsk Główny railway station, served by both SKM local trains and PKP long distance trains. In addition, long distance trains also stop at Gdańsk Oliwa railway station, Gdańsk Wrzeszcz railway station, Sopot and Gdynia. Gdańsk also has nine (9) other railway stations, served by local SKM trains;
- Long distance trains are operated by PKP Intercity which provides connections with all major Polish cities, including Warsaw, Kraków, Łódź, Poznań, Katowice and Szczecin, and with the neighbouring Kashubian Lakes region.
In 2011–2015 the Warsaw-Gdańsk-Gdynia railway route underwent a major upgrading costing $3 billion, partly funded by the European Investment Bank, including track replacement, realignment of curves and relocation of sections of track to allow speeds up to 200 km/h (124 mph), modernization of stations, and installation of the most modern ETCS signalling system, which was completed in June 2015. In December 2014 new Alstom Pendolino high-speed trains were put into service between Gdańsk, Warsaw and Kraków reducing the rail travel time from Gdańsk to Warsaw to 2 hours 58 minutes, further reduced in December 2015 to 2 hours 39 minutes.
- A new railway, Pomorska Kolej Metropolitalna (PKM, the ‘Pomeranian Metropolitan Railway’), commenced service on 1 September 2015, connecting Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport with Wrzeszcz and downtown Gdańsk. It connects to the Szybka Kolej Miejska (Tricity) (SKM) which provides further connections to the entire area served by SKM.
- City buses and trams are operated by ZTM Gdańsk (Zarząd Transportu Miejskiego w Gdańsku).
- Port of Gdańsk – a seaport located on the southern coast of Gdańsk Bay within the city;
- Obwodnica Trojmiejska – part of expressway S6 that bypasses the cities of Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia.
- The A1 motorway connects the port and city of Gdańsk with the southern border of the country. As of 2014, some fragments of the A1 motorway are still incomplete.
Gdańsk is the starting point of the EuroVelo 9 cycling route which continues southward through Poland, then into the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovenia before ending at the Adriatic Sea in Pula, Croatia.
Gdańsk has an oceanic climate, with cold, cloudy, moderate winters and mild summers with frequent showers and thunderstorms. Average temperatures range from −1.0 to 17.2 °C (30.2 to 63.0 °F) and average rainfall varies from 17.9 mm/month to 66.7 mm/month. In general it is damp, variable and mild. The seasons are clearly differentiated. Spring starts in March and is initially cold and windy, later becoming pleasantly warm and often very sunny. Summer, which begins in June, is predominantly warm but hot at times (with temperature reaching as high as 30-35C at least once per year) with plenty of sunshine interspersed with heavy rain. The average annual hours of sunshine for Gdańsk are 1700. July and August are the hottest months. Autumn comes in September and is at first warm and usually sunny, turning cold, damp and foggy in November. Winter lasts from December to March and includes periods of snow. January and February are the coldest months with the temperature sometimes dropping as low as −15 °C (5 °F).