In another example of the continuing revitalization of the Gdańsk district of Wrzeszcz, what for many years was a closed military zone is being redeveloped for public use. The Garnizon (Garrison) district, close to the main road between the airport and the city, is gradually being turned into a residential and entertainment district.
The area was originally developed at the beginning of the 20th century as a home for the German Leibhusaren Brigade (Hussar Brigade), which included the 2nd Hussar Regiment Queen Victoria of Prussia, notable for being named in honour of the daughter of Britain’s Queen Victoria, wife of German Kaiser Friedrich III and whose emblem was the skull and crossbones which gained them the popular name of the ‘Death’s Head Hussars’. Home at one stage to nearly 2,000 men, the garrison (then on what was called Hochstrieß in Langfuhr) was taken over by the Free City of Danzig police force following Germany’s defeat in WWI and then in turn by the Polish army following WWII (Hochstrieß is now Al. Żołnierzy Wyklętych).
The area had fallen into decline until the ambitious re-development began which has seen 10 of the old red brick buildings modernised and gradually being turned over to new uses such as cafes and restaurants, a concert venue, offices, hotel and eventually a cinema and theatre. The bulk of the development consists of modern offices and apartments, the whole area being a blend of old red brick buildings and modern architecture to raise an eyebrow, and it has done well with its initial promises to breathe new life into a square of land that has lain empty for years. Definitely worth checking out.
The old buildings particularly worth looking out for are the former officers’ mess at the Galeria Bałtycka end of Al. ŻołnierzyWyklętych (set to become a theatre); the Stary Maneż restaurant and concert venue, which was formerly the Manège (French for riding academy, apparently) and the beautifully modernised building which today houses the Elixir bar/restaurant, the building which formerly was home to the garrison's commanding officer.