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Gdynia travel guide — Gdynia tourism and travel information

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about Gdynia

Gdynia (pronounce: [:gdiɲia], Kashubian Gdiniô; German name until 1939 Gdingen, 1939-45 Gotenhafen) is a city in the Pomeranian Voivodship of Poland and an important seaport at Gdansk Bay on the south coast of the Baltic Sea. Gdynia is located in Kashubia in Eastern Pomerania. Gdynia is part of a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdańsk and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the Tricity (Trójmiasto) with a population of over a million people.

Gdynia sights

Gdynia is a relatively modern city and one will not find many historical buildings or places. The oldest building in Gdynia is 13th century St. Michael Archangel's Church in Oksywie. There is also a 17th century neo-Gothic manor located in the Folwarczna Street in Orłowo. However, what most of the tourists: the ORP Blyskawica destroyer and Dar Pomorza Tall Ship frigate. Gdynia is also famous for its numerous monuments of early 20th century architecture, especially the examples of monumentalism and early functionalism. Recently reconstructed Świętojańska street and Kościuszki square are also worth mentioning. The surrounding hills and the coastline attract many nature lovers. Leisure pier and cliff-like coastline in Kępa Redłowska as well as the surrounding Reservation Park are also popular. 1.5 kilometres long promenade leads from the marina in the city centre to the beach in Redłowo. Most of Gdynia can be).

Gdynia history

Gdynia has a long history. Initially it was a Pomeranian (Kashubian) fishers village first mentioned in 1253. Oksywie, now part of Gdynia, was mentioned even earlier in 1209. In the years 1382–1772 Gdynia belonged to the Cistersian abbey in Oliwa.

Gdynia, as part of Eastern Pomerania, was part of the loose confederation of Slavic tribes that would later be called Poland from circa. 990–1308. After the Northern Crusades it became a state of the Teutonic Order (1308–1454/66), but afterwards fell to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1466–1772). At the Partitions of Poland of 1772 it was annexed into the Kingdom of Prussia (1772–1919), and as part of Prussia became part of the German Empire (1870–1919).

After World War One it was assigned as part of the Polish Corridor to Poland (1919–1945), and was annexed by Nazi Germany at the start of World War Two in 1939. Gdynia returned to Poland in 1945. Its name during the centuries it was under German rule was Gdingen.

In 1870 Gdynia had some 1200 inhabitants, and it was not a poor fishers village as sometimes described in the literature. It was a popular tourist spot with several guest houses, restaurants, cafes, a couple of brick houses and small harbour with pier for small trading ships. The first Kashubian mayor of Gdynia was Jan Radtke. After the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, the town, with other parts of former Polish Pomerania (or Royal Prussia), was returned to Poland, partially to compensate for the loss of Poland's seaport Danzig/Gdansk and surrounding area, which were declared the Free City of Danzig under the League of Nations, and were only partially under Poland's control.

Construction of the Seaport

The decision to build a major seaport at the Gdynia village was made by the Polish government in winter 1920, because of the hostile attitude of the Danzig (Gdansk) authorities and the seaport workers towards Allied military supplies to Poland during the Polish-Soviet War (1919–1920). Construction of the seaport was started in 1921, but because of financial difficulties was conducted slowly and with interruptions. It was accelerated after The Sejm (Polish parliament) had passed Gdynia Seaport Construction Act on 23 September 1922. Up to 1923 550 metres pier, 175 metres of a wooden tide breaker, and a small harbour were constructed. Ceremonial inauguration of Gdynia as a temporary military port and fishers shelter took place on 23 April 1923, and the first major sea-going ship arrived on 13 August 1923.

To speed up the construction works Polish government signed in November 1924 a contract with the French-Polish Consortium for Gdynia Seaport Construction, which till end of 1925 has built a small 7 metres-deep harbour, the south pier, partly the north pier, a rail road, and has also ordered the trans-shipment equipment. The works were going on slower than expected though. They were accelerated only after May 1926, because of the increase of the sea trade exports of Poland, economic prosperity, outbreak of the German–Polish trade war which has reverted most of Polish international trade to the sea routes, and also thanks to the personal engagement of Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski, Polish Minister of Industry and Trade. Till the end of 1930 docks, piers, breakwaters and many auxiliary and industrial installations were constructed, (e.g depots, trans-shipment equipment, rice processing factory) or started (e.g. big clod room).

Trans-shipments rose to 10,000 tons (1924) and 2,923,000 tons (1929). At this time Gdynia was only the transit and special seaport designed to the coal exports. In the years 1931-1939 Gdynia harbour was further extended to become a universal seaport. In 1938 Gdynia was the most modern and the biggest seaport on the Baltic sea, and the 10th biggest in Europe. The transshipments rose to 8.7 million tons, which was 46% of Polish foreign trade. In 1938 the Gdynia shipyard started to build its first full-sea ship called Olza.

Construction of the City

The city was constructed later that the seaport. In 1925 a special committee was inaugurated to build the city, in 1926 city expansion plans were designed, and city rights were granted, in 1927 tax privileges for investors granted. The city started to grow significantly after 1928 and the population grew rapidly to over 120.000 in 1939.

Gdynia during World War II (1939–1945)

Gdynia city and seaport were occupied in [[Polish Defence War of 1939|September 1939 and renamed Gotenhafen to commemorate the Goths (despite that the previous German name was Gdingen, with no relation to the Goths). Some 50,000 of the Poles were expelled to the General Gouvernment and their homes were seized by German settlers. The harbour was turned into a German navy base. The shipyard was extended in 1940 and turned into a branch of a Kiel shipyard (Deutsche Werke Kiel AG.). It became a primary German naval base, and witnessed several air raids by the Allies from 1943 onwards, but suffered little damage. The seaport was largely destroyed by the withdrawing German troops in 1945 (90% of the buildings and equipment were destroyed) and the harbour entrance was blocked by the Gneisenau battleship.

The city was also the location for the Nazi concentration camp Gotenhafen, a subcamp of the Stutthof concentration camp.

Gdynia after World War II

In March 1945 Gdynia was captured by the Soviets and assigned to Poland (Gdansk Voivodship). In 1970 riots occurred.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gdynia".

This city is also known as: Gdynia.

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