Gdansk’s Golden Gate forms part of the main town’s historic fortifications and is one of the highlights of the Royal Way.
The Story of the Golden Gate
The Golden Gate was built in 1612 in Dutch Mannerist style to replace an earlier Gothic gate that was constructed in the 13th century. The Golden Gate is an impressive two-storey colonnade adorned with eight statues, with four on each side. The golden figures – originally made in 1648 and re-created after the 1945 destruction of Gdansk – represent peace, liberty, fame, wealth, wisdom, piety, justice and concord.
The gate was designed by Abraham van den Blocke, who was following in the footsteps of his father, the Flemish sculptor Willem van den Blocke, who had added his sculptures to the nearby Upland Gate.
Where to Stay near the Golden Gate
Choose from three-star apartment hotels if you want to do some self-catering, or opt for a friendly bed and breakfast in the centre. There’s a good selection of traditional hotels near the Golden Gate and the Royal Way, some of which are in the same stately style as the buildings along Long Street and Long Market. You could also stay at a two-star hostel a couple of minutes’ walk from the Golden Gate.
What to See near the Golden Gate
Just beyond the Golden Gate are two landmarks that recall a grisly past. One is the Prison Tower, where executions used to be carried out, and the other is the Torture House, which did exactly what its name implies. Nowadays, though, the complex has slightly different purpose: it’s now home both to the Amber Museum and the Torture Museum. During the summer, you can access the viewing platform at the top of the tower and take in views of the city.
Carry on a few moments to the west and you come to Upland Gate, which was built in 1574 as the traditional entry point for Polish kings on their periodic visits to Gdansk. It was the original starting point for the Royal Way, which comprises Long Street and Long Market. This bustling pedestrianised thoroughfare is one of the main gathering points in the city and is full of attractive Baroque-style facades and cafes.