Question: Are you going to write a whole post about a lighthouse? Answer: Well Yes I am! Question: Isn’t that boring and not something you usually write about? Answer: No and yes. We usually don’t write about a lighthouse but this is not a regular nice lighthouse that you can visit while in Gdansk. This lighthouse has an amazing history and an even more amazing owner. Well worth reading!
The old Lighthouse of Nowy Port in Gdansk
The owner of the lighthouse, Stefan, is an incredible storyteller. He got us the full history of the lighthouse. But he made it so interesting and so easy to listen to. At first, I couldn’t decide whether I thought that he was funny in a boring way or boring in a funny way. Finally, I decided that he was funny in a “boring” way. And this is said with the utmost respect and with love because he is an amazing person.
The thing is that he was cracking jokes but without laughing or changing his tone of voice. But all the information that we got was incredible and something that we would not have read in any book. Or we might but we wouldn’t have!
The design of the lighthouse in Gdansk
This lighthouse was the fourth in Gdansk and when it was built, the architecture was important. This lighthouse was made out of bricks and sandstone and it was built in a Nordic gothic style. It has been said that it was copied from the lighthouse in Ohio.
And the one in Ohio is no longer there so we have no idea if it’s true or not. At first, the lighthouse was white. It’s hard to believe when you look at it now but it has changed color due to its age.
The function of the Lighthouse in Nowy port
The lighthouse had several functions. Number one was to send signals and to help boats to navigate. Number two it was a harbor pilots tower. The people working here would help the boats to come in and out of the harbor.
The third thing that the lighthouse had was the timeball. The ball was dropped each day at twelve and this was something that happened every day. And the timeball is still, to this day, what brings people to the lighthouse.
A Timeball, it’s a time-signalling device?
A long time ago, all the boats had three chronometers on the boat. That was to make sure that if one of them malfunctioned, they still had working ones. The first timball was installed in Portsmouth in 1862. In Gdansk, it came in 1876 but then it was on another lighthouse and not the one that has it today. There were electromagnets that dropped the ball each day. After that, it was recharged by hand. The timeball was super important until the radio was invented. Then there was no need for the timball anymore.
The one that sits on the lighthouse in Nowy Port was destroyed during a storm in 1929. After that, it was not restored until 2008. The owner Stefan was part of the restoration team and today the timeball is one of only five or six that are left in the world. This timeball is not solid, it lets the air flow through. And this is also the biggest attraction at the lighthouse. Each day the ball drops at 12.00, 14.00, 16.00 and 18.00. A lot of people come here to see the ball drop.
This is where the world war II really started?
Westerplatte is the place that is known to have been the starting point of the WWII. According to Stefan, the first fire was shot through one of the windows from the lighthouse. After that, the ship that was situated in the water down below started to shoot at Westerplatte. But there is a sign inside the lighthouse that shows what window it was!
Information about the lighthouse in Nowy Port
Address: Przemysłowa 6, 80-542 Gdańsk, Poland.
Opening hours: Daily 10.00 – 19.00.
Getting here: Until the end of August, you can reach the lighthouse by water tram F5 from Targ Rybny which stops at the lighthouse after dropping off at Westerplatte on the opposite side. At other times you can take any of trams 2, 3 or 8 from the Main Train Station and switch to the No 5 tram at the Wyspiańskiego stop (6th stop) heading in the direction of Latarnia Morska.