Sopot

'Monciak'

Why does Sopot’s main street, Bohaterów Monte Cassino (The Heroes of Monte Cassino), carries the name of an Italian town? Well, in 1943 the Allies’ progress north through Italy was blocked by a line of defence the Germans called the Gustav Line. At its heart lay a 1,300-year-old Benedictine monastery on the top of the 1,100-metre Monte Cassino. Fierce fighting during a slow and brutal advance cost over 25,000 lives with the battle finally ending on the morning of May 18 when soldiers from the Polish 12th Podolian Uhlans Regiment reached the completely devastated monastery. The Battle of Monte Cassino was won, the Gustav Line broken and the Allied advance on Rome continued. Today it is one of Poland’s most famous streets, frequently clogged in high season, and fondly known as 'Monciak' (Mon-chack) to the locals.

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