Gdansk is a town filled with water. Canals are flowing through the city center and there is a lot of connection to the water during Gdansk history. It was a very popular town because of its closeness to the waterways in Poland. Today Gdansk is flourishing town and a lot of its history have been rebuilt and made into museums. We got to visit the National Maritime Museum – Come with us.
National Maritime Museum, Gdansk
This museum is located in more than one place. There are several different parts that all together make up the Maritime Museum. There are several places to visit while being on Olowianka Island in Gdansk. Even if it’s an island you can walk there and back without any problem and it’s in the middle of town so no worries. The different locations for the museum stretch through five different cities and there are in all, eight exhibitions. However, you have four of them in the city center – all within walking distance from each other.
Granaries in Gdansk
Before Gdansk got dragged into WWII there were hundreds of granaries in the city. Unfortunately, most of them got destroyed during the war. Today there are three of them on Olowianka river that is restored. They are called “Panna” (means lady), “Miedz” and “Oliwski”. Those three host the main collections that are related to the Maritime Museum. There are more granaries in Gdansk but these three are the “main” ones.
This museum is divided into three floors and you walk from the first floor and work your way up. The first and second floor are showing you the maritime history of Poland from the middle ages until modern days. The information is in Polish but there are pamphlets in several different languages (English included) so you can still get the information even if you don’t speak polish. You can learn how to throw canons on boats and Mini had a blast here. On the second floor, the exhibition got even more interactive. There is some sort of sensors that feel when you come close to the exhibit and sound/or effects. For example, we got to see how a sunken ship is brought back up to the surface. This was really interesting to see.
You can learn a lot from this place and I believe that it’s perfect for children as well since it’s so interactive. During our visit, we were almost alone so we got to explore the place without hordes of tourists. If I could wish for something more it would be that they would add some benches or chairs. This exhibition is huge so it would be great to have a place to sit down for a while to soak it all in. The third floor is an art gallery.
Learning about diving history at the Granaries in Gdansk
My favorite part of the museum was without a doubt the exhibition about the diving. Mini and I are both divers and it was super interesting to see how the history of diving has evolved. When I saw how the divers used to dive a long time ago, I’m super happy that I am a diver of “modern times”. Before they used something that was called a “dive clock”. There was one person sitting inside a thing that looked like a clock and that person had total control over the diver’s life. The diver was outside of the “clock” and walked around under water, getting his/hers air from the person inside the clock. Thank God for modern technology and divings evolution!
Visit the museum:
Address Ołowianka Str. 9 – 13. Entrance on Ołowianka Str and Ołowianka Pier.
This is a ship that is made into a museum. So what is so special about Sołdek? This was the first seagoing ship constructed in a Polish shipyard after World War II. She is also one of the only once left that are in this condition. During her lifetime she managed to traffic the waterways between 1949 and 1980. In all, she made 1479 voyages and carried over 3 500 000 tons of cargo. Since 1985 she has been serving as a part of the Maritime Museum in Gdansk and you are allowed to walk onboard and see how she is constructed.
Visit the museum:
Address Ołowianka Str. 9 – 13. Entrance on Ołowianka Pier.
The crane is somewhat a part of Gdansk city center skyline. It’s also the biggest and oldest preserved port crane in Europe. It was first built in 1944 but a lot of it got destroyed during the war. In 1962 it was rebuilt and became a part of the Maritime Museum in Gdansk. The crane was used to unloading goods and for setting masts on vessels until the 19th century.
What is super interesting is how the crane was operated. Inside there are four huge wheels that are about six meters in diameter each. In each of those wheels, four men would get inside each of the wheels and walk around. Yes exactly like a hamster wheel but with people. They could lift up to two tons of goods. That’s not bad for 16 people.
Visit the Crane:
Address Szeroka Str. 67/68. The crane is on the opposite side of the island from the ship museum and the granaries. However, there is a boat that operates every 15 minutes during the day so you don’t have to walk there. Bit, in all honesty, it’s a really nice walk!
Maritime Culture Center
This is the newest part of the Maritime Museum and it’s located right next to the crane. This place is for both entertainment and for learning. A lot of children come here and learn a lot about ships and they get to try out clothing and learn loads about the marine way of life. There are over 60 interactive stands for the youngest so make sure to visit while here – with or without children.
Visit the Maritime Culture Center:
Address Tokarska Str. 21 – 25. Entrance on Tokarska Str. and on Rybackie Pobrzeze, on Motlawa River.
More Maritime Museum in other cities
The rest of the exhibitions of the museum are in different cities. There is a Ship-museum Dar Pomorza in Gdynia. A beautiful ship that is made into a museum. In the town of Hel you can visit the Fisheries Museum. This museum is located in a former church and the exhibition is open air that lets you look at boats that were traditional in the city. The Vistula River Museum is in Tczew (yes that’s a name of the city and it’s impossible to say). This place is dedicated to the longest river in Poland, Vistula River. Last but not least there is the Vistula Lagoon Museum that is located in a small fishing port called Katy Rybackie.
We did not visit those places yet but here you have the information on where to find them. And if you have been in any of them – please let us know what you thought of them.
Ship-museum Dar Pomorza Fisheries Museum Vistula River Museum Vistula Lagoon Museum
Al. Jana Pawla II, Gdynia Bulwar Nadmorski 2, Hel 30 Stycznia Str.4, Tczew Rybacka Str. 64, 82-110 Sztutowo.