The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
User: Guest

Home / Travel  % width posts: 10

Special stories / anecdotes about Gdansk

lomivdoser 1 | 5
15 May 2012 #1

I'm going to Poland with my friends this June for Euro2012.
We are going to visit four Polish cities: Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw and Gdansk. We decided to prepare little guides on every city we are going to visit and my task is to prepare guide on Gdansk.

It should be not usual touristic guide with MUST SEE PLACES but something like a story (or stories) about the town that I will tell my friends (they are in charge of guides on other cities).

I have already found a lot of information about Gdansk, about its history, local attractions/sightseeing places etc. But I would like to know few "special" stories (like anecdotes, funny stories or anything else that is really worth to tell) about the town that are not usualy written in City Guides for tourists.

If you have some stories like this, please HELP!
boletus 30 | 1,366
15 May 2012 #2
But I would like to know few "special" stories (like anecdotes, funny stories or anything else that is really worth to tell) about the town that are not usualy written in City Guides for tourists.

What a nice initiative. :-)
Here is one story:

Long ago the Gdańsk's "Jacek's Tower" wore a completely different name: "German: Kiek in die Koek", "Polish: Patrz do Kuchni", "English: Look in the Kitchen".

It adheres to the walls of the Dominicans monastery, so that one could see from it into the convent's kitchen. The monks were famous for gingerbread making, which they sold in the convent's bakery. The gingerbread was shaped as little hearts, which had this advantage that the longer you kept them, the more delicious they were.

Brother Walenty had a special talent in the art of pastry making. With time, local confectioners began to envy his skills. The most jelous of them was a man named Ambroży, who was the owner of the worst bakery in Gdańsk. He decided to spy on Brother Walenty in order to find out what was the composition of his wonderful recipe.

The monk quickly realized the deception. He pretended adding ground chestnuts to the dough; which was scrupulously used by peeping Amboży in his baked goods. Unfortunately, his cakes were hard as stone and not fit to eat. Consequently, he was expelled from the guild for his shoddy work.

Built in the late fourteenth century the soaring tower was named after St. Jacek Odrowąż, who, being the first Polish Dominican accepted an invitation of Świętopełk the Great in 1227 and - with a group of brothers - founded the monastery in Gdansk.

The 36m tall tower was the highest building of this type in Gdańsk and the best prepared for the defense. The battle porches, placed under the roof, perfectly facilitated effective bombardment of attacking enemy.
scottie1113 7 | 898
15 May 2012 #3
Not to mention that is was built in 1400 and that it's now a photo studio.

When you get here pick up a free copy of Gdansk in Your Pocket at most decent hotels. I get mine at the Scandic Hotel across the street from the train station or you could could check out inyourpocket.

You'll want to see the Old Town. As you pass under the Golden Gate to begin your trip down Długa Street toward the Motława River, stop to look at the photos of the city just after WWII. There was a faction here at the time that wanted to tear everything down and rebuild a "modern" city a la Warsaw. Thank God that didn't happen. When you see warsaw you'll know what I mean.

What other kind of stories or anecdotes are you looking for?
OP lomivdoser 1 | 5
16 May 2012 #4
Guys, many thanks!

I would like also to collect some interesting facts like
- Gdansk is the only town in Poland that has two town halls
- one of the symbols of the town is Neptune waterworks (fountain) and there is a legend that one day there were not usual water but golden water springing out of it. And one of the most famous Gdansk liqueur is called Goldwasser after that

- the Museum for amber used to be a prison for people sentenced to death penalty etc.

I do not know whether all these facts are true or not, but I will be glad to collect more facts like this to impress my friends :) (we have a bet - the best "storyteller" will receive box of beer)
21 May 2012 #5
To the Germans it's always gonna be Danzig. Now here's your fun fact: Glenn Danzig was actually born Glenn Allen Anzalone.
boletus 30 | 1,366
21 May 2012 #6
we have a bet - the best "storyteller" will receive box of beer

Well, the legend of secret love between Anne Schilling and Nicolas Copernicus could possibly do the job. There is one in English

[Polish narration, but you can disable it in right upper corner of the page.]
OP lomivdoser 1 | 5
21 May 2012 #7
Many thanks to jasondmzk and boletus

Does anyone have anything else?
boletus 30 | 1,366
29 May 2012 #8
Does anyone have anything else?

The Beer Flowing Gdańsk: from Gdańsk piwem płynący.

Beer indirectly contributed to the development of science in Gdańsk - if not for the income derived from its brewing, Johannes Hevelius could never afford his astronomical research.

At the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries large European cities have been receiving special royal privileges, allowing brewing. Brewers, fearing unfair competition, quickly joined in guilds to keep an eye on product quality and protect the market against bunglers. Already in 1378 Gdańsk and Mazovian manufacturers of beer came to sharp conflict.

Beer produced in Gdańsk belonged to one of the four kinds.

Jopen beer, Jopenbier, Piwo Jopejskie
the noblest of all, was produced from 1449. Its name came from the wooden bucket, so called "jopa" (German Schöpfkelle), used in the process of brewing, to pour hot water to malt. It was "dubeltowe" (of double strength), which means that twice as much of malt and four times of hops was used than in other beers. It had about 14 percent of alcohol, dark colour, tarry texture, resembling a thick syrup. Some drinkers used to dilute it by mixing it with poorer quality beers. It was also used as a medicine causing sweating.

The secret of Jopen Beer was in its brewing process. First of all it was made with the best quality ingredients. Brewing lasted ten hours, not three, as with other beers. Then the brew had to be cooled rapidly, which meant that the peak production fell in the winter months. The biggest secret was its specific fermentation process. Someone had the idea that mold could be used instead of yeast - with this difference that it was not added directly to the brew - the beer aged in clean tubs, and mold made its work from the walls of the room. Jopen beer fermented up to nine weeks in sheds or cellars overgrown with mold. Then it matured in barrels for one year.

Jopen Beer was exported to many countries in Europe, mainly to England. To facilitate loading of beer kegs into ships' cargo holds the famous Żuraw (German Krantor), Gdańsk Port Crane was built.

Gdańsk Beer, Danzigerbier, was the second in terms of refinement. It was very popular because of the abundant froth and light bitter taste. It was also much weaker than Jopen Beer, because it contained only about 6 percent of alcohol.

Table Beer, Tafelbier was a common daily drink.

Krolling was the worst kind of Gdańsk's beers. It was made from beer keg washings. It was cheap, with low alcoholic content and was drunk by the poor.

In the year 1416 the most, as many as seventy-three brewers, lived at Hundegasse, Ogarna street today. Around the year 1620 when the seat of the brewers guild was located at Hundegasse 11.

Since the beginning of the sixteenth century beer production started moving out of Gdańsk center to the suburbs - Biskupia Górka (Bishops Hill), Chełm, and Stare Szkoty (Old Scots). During this period, much of the brewing industry was run by Dutch Mennonites. In the sixteenth century one of the largest brewers in Gdańsk and Pomerania belonged Schröders family: Hans, Joachim and Georg.

In the sixteenth century the brewers guild had 150 members, but barely 54 brewers in the middle of the seventeenth century. The brewing industry crisis brought the annual production from 150 thousand barrels down to a mere 50 000 (standard barrel held 126 liters).

In 1621 alone 34 breweries bankrupted.

One of the exceptions in these critical times was Johannes Hevelius brewery. The astronomer was a brewer by family tradition. His ancestors came from Ottendorf in 1434 and settled in Steblewo, then moved to Gdansk in 1526. They were initially engaged in commerce. Later, Hevelius grandfather, Nicholas, and his brother, founded their first brewery. Already in the mid-sixteenth century Hevelius family owned 12 breweries, including the largest one in the city.

When Johannes Hevelius married in 1635 Catherine Rebeschke, a daughter of another brewer, she has brought him a dowry of two houses adjacent to the Hevelius house at Korzenna Street (Spice Street). In one of them was a brewery, which Johannes began to manage. He was soon admitted to the Gdansk brewers guild, and thus earned the right to brewing and selling beer. He was quickly promoted to Senior of the guild, and in 1648, after the death of his father, he inherited the family house and was finally able to combine his father's and his wife's business into one large brewing company. The three adjacent houses, with the brewery, were the apple of the eye and the financial basis of the astronomer.

Where was beer drunk in the seventeenth century? Most pubs and taverns were located along the Motława river. These premises were popular with the common people and artisans, but were avoided by the patricians and nobles. The most elegant restaurants were in the suburbs. The inns lured travelers with recognizable symbols: of panicles made of spruce or fir branches. A panicle meant one thing: you can eat here, and - above all - drink something good.

Apparently, the best beer was administered in Gęsia Karczma (Goose Inn), Trzy Świńskie £by (Three Pig Heads) and Jerusalem.
pawian 176 | 14,830
29 May 2012 #9
anecdotes about Gdansk

A nice one:

found in the Spiegel article about Poland provided by Pennboy:

Shots fired at the city's Westerplatte peninsula on Sept. 1, 1939 marked the beginning of World War II. Large sections of the old city were destroyed in the subsequent bombing.

Gdansk recovered from its wounds......
OP lomivdoser 1 | 5
30 May 2012 #10
Guys, many thanks!
I'm going to win in a bet! :) with your help of course!!!

Home / Travel / Special stories / anecdotes about Gdansk
BoldItalic [quote]
To post as Guest, enter a temporary username or login and post as a member.