Gateways of Gdańsk

28 Jul 2015

If Prague is the City of Spires, then that surely makes Gdańsk the City of Gateways. There are, simply speaking, a fair few, and while some stand out like neon toadstools others can be missed with the blink of an eye. Indeed, while many have been restored to their full, glittery glory, others stand on the periphery, derelict and deserted, their function long since forgotten.

The story begins straightforward enough. In the bad old days it was a good idea to have your city defended by a sturdy set of walls, and this was never truer than in the case of Gdańsk – a town under constant menace from invading parties. Entry and exit points were added over the centuries, and while most of the walls were pulled down, many of these grand gateways survived. Some, such as the Green Gate and Upland Gate, need no introduction, and you’ll find plenty about them later in the guide. Others however remain unsung, until today that is:

Brama Chłebnicka

Of all the gateways in Gdańsk it’s this one that’s the best preserved, and that’s no small feat considering the pounding the Russkies gave the city come revenge time at the end of the war. Thought to have been completed in 1450 this signature piece of Gothic style features curved cornices and a pointy arch, and is worth closer inspection on account of the oldest coat of arms on show in the city. Found on the Motława side a beady eyed scan will reveal a crest of two silver crosses imposed on a red shield, added in 1457. That’s not the only piece of identification stamped on the structure. Duck through the passage and you’ll find a lily, once the symbol of the Dukes of Pomerania.


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