November 30, 2016

0210, 2888 POLAND (Pomerania) - Gdansk, Town of Memory and Freedom (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

2888 Gdansk - The Main Town Hall and St. Mary's Church.

Posted on 18.05.2012, 30.11.2016
Built on the site of an early settlements associated with the Wielbark culture, which was followed in 980 by a stronghold, Gdańsk received city rights by Swietopelk II, in 1235. With permanent valences of a free city, due to its location on the Baltic Sea coast, to the mouth of the river Motława, which gives it a opening both towards the sea as well as towards central Poland, and from there towards Eastern Europe, the city belonged, successively, to the Kingdom of Poland, the Teutonic Knights, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Prussia, German Empire, German Reich, and Poland, except for two brief periods, when it was a free city (1807-1814, 1920-1939).

0210 Gdansk - The crane Żuraw

The stronghold and town of Gdansk contained from its beginnings a series of individual urban components which later became distinct districts within which there are valuable examples of urban, sacral and defensive architecture. These include the Main Town (Glowne Miasto), Old Town (Stare Miasto), the Lower Town (Dolne Miasto), the Old Suburbs (Stare Prdedmiejscie), Granary Island (Wyspa Spichrzow), Olowianka, Long Gardens (Dlugie Ogrody), Bishpop's Hill (Biskupia Gorka) and Grodzisko.

The historical heart of the city is formed by the Main Town and the Royal Route (between the High Gate and Green Gate) by which are sited the most valuable examples of municipal architecture: the Town Hall of the Main Town, Arthur's Court, the Court of the Brotherhood of St.George, the Arsenal and burghers houses. In the Main town there are also to be seen examples of richly decorated medieval sacral architecture: the churches of the Holy Virgin, St John, St Nicholas, as well as many towers and gates of the medieval fortifications. In the area of the Old town are situated medieval churches (St Catherine, St Bridget, St Bartholemew, St Jacob, St Joseph, St Elizabeth), as well as the renaissance Town Hall.

The Main Town Hall is one of the finest examples of the Gothic-Renaissance buildings in the city, and houses the History Museum of the city. Its oldest fragments come from 1327 to 1336, but in the following centuries the building underwent major expansions, and after a fire in 1556, it was rebuilt and expanded with Renaissance influences by Dutch architects and master-builders. St. Mary's Church is currently one of the two or three second largest brick church in the world, and from the 16th century until 1945 it was the second largest Lutheran church in the world. Inside is room for 25,000 people. Its construction began in 1379, and in all, is a good example of late Gothic architecture.

Other defining symbols of Gdańsk, reminding from the period when the city was part of Hanseatic League (to which it joined in 1358), is the medieval port crane from the the postcard 0210, called Żuraw. First mentioned in 1367, the original structure burnt down in 1442, and its current design was created in 1442-1444. As a working crane it was used to transfer cargoes and to put up masts on ships. At one time this was the biggest working crane in the world, but it also served a defence function and as one of the gates to the city (Brama Szeroka - the Wide Gate).

It had a lifting capacity of 4t to a height of 11m and this was achieved by two huge wooden wheels at its heart each with a diameter of 6m. These wheels were originally powered by men walking inside of them to turn the lifting mechanism. It remained a working crane until the middle of the 19th century, and was 80% destroyed in 1945 in the battle for Gdańsk. After the war, Żuraw was once again rebuilt and handed over to the Polish Maritime Museum. It houses a collection of permanent and temporary exhibitions, including an exhibition on port life between the 16th and 18th centuries.

About the stamps
On the postcard 0210
The stamp is part of the series Polish Mansion Houses, about which I wrote here.

On the postcard 2888

The first stamp is part of the series Film "Quo Vadis" by Jerzy Kawalerowicz, issued on  September 1, 2001. It comprises 6 stamps with the same face value (1 PLN).
• Ligia, Vinicius, Petrinius - It's on the postcard 2888
• Nero singing
• Apostle Peter in catacombs
• Chilon Chilonides, fire in Rome
• Ligia tied to back of aurochs - It's on the postcard 2888
• Apostle Peter blessing Vincius and Ligia

The second stamp is part of the series Artists, designed by Kazimierz Bulik, and issued on November 20, 2009.
Albrecht Dürer (1.55 PLN)
Peter Paul Rubens (1.55 PLN)
Rembrandt Hermensz van Rijn (1.55 PLN) - It's on the postcard 2888

The third stamp, depicting All Saints Collegiate Church in Sieradz, is part of the series Polish Cities, about which I wrote here.

The last stamp is part of the series Birds - Owls, designed by Marzanna Dąbrowska, and issued on October 23, 2015.
Eurasian Eagle-Owl / Bubo bubo (2.35 PLN)
Boreal Owl / Aegolius funereus (2.35 PLN)       
Western Barn Owl / Tyto alba (2.35 PLN) - It's on the postcard 2888
Great Grey Owl / Strix nebulosa (2.35 PLN)

Gdansk - Town of Memory and Freedom - UNESCO official website
Gdańsk - Wikipedia
Gdańsk Town Hall - Wikipedia
St. Mary's Church, Gdańsk - Wikipedia
The Crane (Żuraw) - In Your Pocket

Sender: Karolina Guldzińska / Oj_karola (postcrossing) PL-340848
Sent from Gdansk (Pomerania / Poland), on 29.02.2012
Photo: Dariusz Krakowiak; proj. Krzysztof Gaszewski
Sender: Krystyna Betiuk (direct swap)
Sent from Gdansk (Pomerania / Poland), on 24.11.2016
Photo: Vojciech Nieznalski