Euro Handball Poland 2014

GDYNIA

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Gdynia is the most dynamic of the three metropolitan cities. Thanks to its exceptional geopolitical location, Gdynia is a center of international meetings and commercial exchange. During the last dozen or so years Gdynia has also become the capital of jazz and Polish cinema. The city is attracting more and more visitors yearning for peace but also interested in the thriving nightlife of the Tri-City.

The setting of Gdynia, half-way overland between Gdańsk and Sopot and Hel and Jastarnia, as well as the fact that it is here that all the sea connections with the Hel Peninsula depart makes this city an ideal venue for sailing and business and adventure tourism.

Pomerania is abundant in extraordinary places – it is a region with diverse attractions, offering a mosaic of climates typical of the sea, lake region and even mountains – as pursuant to the EU regulations Kashubia is a mountain region. It already has its own ski lifts in Wieżyca and Sopot.

WORTH SEEING

HEL PENINSULA

The Hel Peninsula is a natural and landscape phenomenon that is unique at European scale. It attracts thousands of tourists every year. Surrounded by the Baltic Sea and the Bay of Gdańsk, it offers not only convenient infrastructure for holidays, but also the best conditions in Poland for water sports such as kitesurfing and windsurfing. You can reach the peninsula from Gdynia by various means. Apart from road transport, the water tram is particularly interesting. It offers fast connections: Gdynia-Hel and Gdynia-Jastarnia everyday between 1 May and 31 August.

ZOO in OLIWA

The “Wybrzeże” Municipal Zoo is located in one of the most picturesque district of Gdańsk – Oliwa. It is the pride of all Pomeranians and one of the most beautiful such facilities in Poland. With over 200 animal species living on more than 130 hectares, the trip to the zoo in Gdańsk is one of the best ways to enjoy a walk in the Tri-City. Apart from fine-looking landscape and a wide range of animals, the zoo also offers a number of attractions for children, horseback riding as well as tasty food.

PIER in ORŁOWO

It is one of the most charming and quiet places in the Tri-City, where the inhabitants of Gdynia and others love to take a walk. The first pier in Orłowo was built in 1934 and was over 400 m long. It was last renovated in 2007 and is now 180 m long. The pier was equipped with new benches and stylish lighting. It is available free-of-charge. The famous picturesque Orłowo Cliff is located nearby. The pier in Orłowo is less packed that the one in Sopot, which is longer and more popular. There are fewer tourists here so this pier is more calm and quiet. If you go south towards Sopot and Gdańsk, you can enjoy a walk along the renovated Promenade of Queen Marysieńka Sobieska, who used to come to the Kolibki palace nearby. It also offers a beautiful view of the sea here. In the summer, the local beach is home to the Summer Theatre. Performances usually start at 8 pm (until mid-August). Close to the seashore is Żeromski’s manor house where the author lived and worked on his book Wiatr od morza [eng. Wind from the Sea] in 1920.

POLANKA REDŁOWSKA and THE KĘPA REDŁOWSKA NATURE RESERVE

If you go towards it from the hotel (a distance of 100 m), you will pass an embankment with an observation deck, stone table and spiral stairs leading to the boulevard. Just above Polanka Redłowska (or directly behind it to be exact) you enter the Kępa Redłowska nature reserve, one of the most valuable nature objects in Gdynia, established way back in 1938. An area of almost 120 hectares boasts breathtaking ravines and gorges that cross a beautiful beech and oak forest and lead to the shore of the Gdańsk Bay, all the way to Orłowo. There are numerous species of protected birds and plants (including common sea-buckthorn and Swedish whitebeam, which is very rare in Poland). The local cliff is up to 40 m high, while the highest point of Kępa Redłowska is as much as 91 m above sea level. The cliff is covered by a forest that holds many wartime secrets. Due to its location, Kępa Redłowska used to have a special military importance. At the turn of the 1940s and 1950s it became home to the 11th Artillery Battery, which protected the naval base in Gdynia against attacks from the sea. It comprised four reinforced concrete stations for 130 mm guns, several bunkers and an observation tower (located within a military complex). The artillery stations with guns have been recently renovated and are now quite a popular tourist attraction. They are located ca. 700 m south of Polanka Redłowska, about 50 m above sea level. You can reach the place from Polanka Redłowska by following the trail marked brown.

AQUARIUM in GDYNIA

The aquarium in Gdynia is Poland’s largest water zoo with almost 200 fish, reptile and amphibian species. It is located in one of the most beautiful spots in Gdynia so it can be easily combined with a walk around the Kościuszko Square. Its attractions include museum exhibits, aquariums with exotic animals and much more: numerous lectures, workshops, and multimedia presentations both for children and adults. It must be noted that the aquarium in Gdynia is home to the only octopus in Poland.

TWIERDZA WISŁOUJŚCIE – THE VISTULA ESTUARY STRONGHOLD

Open until 30th September, Twierdza Wisłoujście is an unusual museum, as it is a large exhibit in itself. It is located near Westerplatte, on the eastern bank of the Martwa Wisła (the Dead Vistula). On the opposite side, in the west, the Nowy Port (New Port) is situated. The first fortress was erected here by Teutonic Knights in the 14th century. This place is speculated to have been a watchtower before. The medieval port in Gdańsk (today Długie Pobrzeże – Long Littoral) could be reached by the Vistula estuary. The stronghold acted then as a lighthouse. This was where the territory of Gdańsk began. This is why that place was strategically the best to control ship traffic and to defend the city against attacks from the sea. In the first version, the tower was made of wood. It was burned down by Hussites, and after its reconstruction it was destroyed in a storm. The brick version lasted longer – until 1945, when a Russian bomb damaged its structure. A strong gust of wind took down the walls (only the eastern wall was preserved). Today, the fortress condition, despite its numerous damages, still marvels visitors. The tower shows an interesting panorama: Zatoka Gdańska (the Bay of Gdańsk), Westerplatte, Port Północny (Northern Port), the Old Town, Nowy Port (New Port) and Zatoka (the Bay) again. The stronghold can be visited with a tour guide (included in the ticket price). Thanks to this, a tour can be very interesting. Guides wait for groups to collect, and then show them around. Tours are organised even if there are only two visitors, and the likelihood of more tourists joining is low. While waiting for a group to collect, adults may have a cup of tea or coffee, and children can enjoy themselves on the playground. Twierdza Wisłoujście is open for visitors between 1st June and 30th September, and the opening hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sight-seeing on Mondays is free of charge, but the site closes at 4 p.m. on other days, tickets will cost you PLN 8 and 4. The museum can be reached in several ways: by car (a small car park is located near the fortress), by bus No. 106 (terminal by the Music Academy), or by “Wisłoujście” ferry form Nowy Port (both for pedestrians and vehicles). To reach the fortress, you should walk over a restored drawbridge. Right off there, you will see place where the territory of Gdańsk began…

FORT GÓRY GRADOWEJ – HAIL MOUNTAIN FORT

Fort Góry Gradowej (Hail Mountain Fort) towers over the Bus Terminal in Gdańsk. Fortifications on Góra Gradowa were made already in mid-17th century, whereas the vast majority of structures that have survived until today appeared in the 2nd half of the 19th century, during the last, general reconstruction of the whole defensive work. After the Napoleonic era, Góra Gradowa was left with a huge, pentagonal artillery battery, known as the Napoleonic redoubt (or, more correctly: réduit). Originally, the réduit was called Fort Vauban, later (i.e. after 1814 r.) bore the name of Réduit Hagel and Réduit Horn – its current, non-historic name has only indirect correspondence with the original. The Réduit – erected in the years 1810-1812 – was supposed to constitute the last defence point in the entire fortification system on Góra Gradowa. French fortification engineers (among then a genius, Gen. Nicolas B. Haxo, who designed and most probably also personally supervised the Réduit construction) drew conclusions from the previous siege, and decided to strengthen the key points of the municipal defensive work. Since Napoleon visited the city also in 1811, it seems quite possible that he was on Góra Gradowa also at that time, when new fortifications were frantically being erected. The Réduit, since the beginning of 1970’s hosted an entertainment outlet (“Na Fortach” discotheque), which later changed its name several times, as well as its character. Currently, a museum is operating there, and although the Napoleonic myth is being revised more and more frequently, one cannot deny that that the short Corsican changed historic fates of not only our city, but of the whole continent. For this reason, in 2005, a kind of monument was erected, the so-called Napoleonic Table, which is currently located on the fort groundwork. It makes one of the most interesting vantage points onto the Main City, which offers a delightful panorama of the historic centre of Gdańsk. There are much more places associated with the Emperor, both in the city and in Góra Gradowa fort. The most important of them can be discovered when walking in Napoleon’s footsteps during a tour organised by one of Gdańsk tour agencies. The fort itself can be thoroughly explored during the cyclical tours (every Saturday) to Góra Gradowa.

DAR POMORZA

“Dar Pomorza” (Gift of Pomerania), is one of the most beautiful sailing ships in the world; the ship-museum, preserved until today, has become sui generis a monument and symbol of Polish maritime traditions and aspirations. It is moored by its old pier in the port of Gdynia. Every year, it is visited by over 100,000 tourists. “Biała fregata” (White Frigate), inseparably associated with Gdynia for 70 years, was built in 1909 in Blohm-Voss shipyard in Hamburg, as a training ship for the German merchant marine. Launched on 18th September, 1909, she received the name of “Prinzess Eitel Friedrich”. She began service on 6th April 1910, setting out for her maiden voyage to Christians and Antwerp. In 1929, the ship was bought for money obtained in a social collection by the Pomorski Komitet Floty Narodowej (Pomeranian National Fleet Committee) for 7,000 pound sterling. She was supposed to replace the well-worn “Lwów” training bark. The frigate received another name, “Dar Pomorza”, to commemorate the generosity of the Pomeranian community. On 19th June, 1930, “Dar Pomorza” stood for the first time on the roadstead in Gdynia. On 13th July, a solemn ceremony took place, during which bishop St. Okoniewski consecrated the ship and its flag. The ship was handed over to Państwowa Szkoła Morska (National Maritime School) in Gdynia, and during her 51 years of service for the Polish Merchant Marine took part in 102 training cruises, covering half a million of nautical miles. On its board, 13,384 students of Szkoła Morska were trained. The ship log lists a crossing of the equator (22nd November, 1931 ), a journey round the world in the years 1934-1935, sailing round the “dangerous Cape Horn” (1st March, 1937). During WW II, the ship was interned by Swedes, and stayed in Stockholm between 1st October 1939 and 21st October, 1945. She came back to Gdynia on 24th October, 1945, and was soon put back to service as a training ship of Państwowa Szkoła Morska. The last cruise took place in September, 1981, under the command of Master Mariner Tadeusz Olechnowicz – to the Finnish port of Kotka. On 4th August, 1982, “Dar Pomorza” was formally withdrawn from service. On 16th November, 1982, “Dar Pomorza” was handed over to CMM. Basic technical data: length with the bowsprit – 91 m, width – 12.6 m, draught 5.7 m. 1561 BRT. 2 decks, 28 crew members, 150-200 students-apprentices. Sailing speed: average 5 knots, record achieved 17 knots.