Oliwa Cathedral

Taking pride of place at the western end of Oliwa ParkOliwa's towering Cathedral was originally built as a simple wooden structure in the 12th century, and it was only in 1224 that the brickwork was added. Nonetheless, the year 1350 saw a negligent kitchen boy accidentally start a fire that engulfed the whole building, reducing it to cinders. Reconstruction began immediately, but in 1626 the building was again destroyed, this time by marauding Swedish soldiers. Not content with stealing its bells, altars and valuables, the Swedes also kidnapped Oliwa’s hapless monks for good measure. In a twist of irony, however, it was in this very building that Poland and Sweden finally put the past behind them and signed a peace treaty in 1660.
Oliwa Cathedral Organ; photo by Paweł Borsuk
Built along a classic three-aisle design with a vaulted basilica and shaped in the form of the Latin cross, the interior is dominated by the extraordinary organ over the main entrance. Built between 1755 and 1780 by the organ master Johann Wulf, it was at that time the largest organ of its kind in Europe, and features moving cherubs, fanfaring angels and comes with a staggering 7,896 pipes and 110 registers allowing for an incredible range of pitch and sounds including rippling water, animal cries and human voices. Hear it for yourself during one of their frequent organ recitals; check the times online at:

A couple of other points of note are the memorial plague to inter-war Danzig bishop Edward O’Rourke found on the wall (to the right as you enter from the main entrance), and, at the other end of the church, a strange and beautiful canopy around the high altar, covered with stars and featuring 150 angels poking out of a mass of clouds.



Open 09:00-17:00. Sat 09:00-15:30, Sun 14:00-17:30.

Price/Additional Info

Admission free unless visiting during an organ recital.


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Editor Poland
Hi Susan. I have sent you a direct mail but anyone else looking for tickets to the International Organ Festival held during July and August, please take a look at this link.
Susan Melton-Hill
My husband and I will be visiting Gdansk at the end of July. We wish to purchase 2 tickets for the organ recital at Oliwa Cathedral on Friday 28th July. Please advise how we can reserve these tickets on this date
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