Probably the thing that draws more traffic to Europe is their magnificent cities. Metropolitan areas such as Paris, London and Rome entice millions of visitors every year, and for good cause. But I think a much forgotten component of Europe is its average-size towns and cities. For example, Salzburg, Austria and Lucerne, Switzerland are a couple of these that radiate old world appeal. One other that I’d like to talk about in this piece is a Polish city on the Baltic Sea known as Gdansk.
The tragedies that have befallen this metro area during the world wars have been unmistakable. But after World War II the way these folks decided to reconstruct the Gdansk is nothing less than a miracle. After World War II many cities all through Europe were entirely devastated, and in some cases today you can still make out pockets of locations that were quickly rebuilt shortly after that conflict. This was necessary during the time for most, as money became short and the time necessary to rebuild and get back to some kind of normalcy was even shorter.
But in Gdansk, the city that over the centuries had gone back and forth between Polish and German control (when it was known as Danzig), an alternative tact was taken. Though significant amounts of this historical old downtown area had been demolished by first the Germans when they attacked Poland, then the Soviet Union along with allies when they retook it, a complete renovation did not begin prior to the 1950s and 1960s.
Given it had been destined to become a key shipping port situated on the Baltic, quite a lot of Soviet expense went into rebuilding the city Gdansk. But mostly for political purposes the plan had been to eliminate any traces of German impact. As a result when you visit this charming city of about ? million people, it will have a very old world look of Flemish, Dutch, French as well as Italian design.
As a result, it would appear to have been a prudent choice. It is still a great spot as Poland’s main shipping port, but tourism has also turned into a large industry. Through the summer period it’s a mecca for countless Poles as well as others from Europe, and it also is a popular stopping off point for cruise liners.
Some people will also remember Gdansk as the birthplace for the Solidarity trade union movement. Those demonstrations played a huge part in the end of the communist rule within Poland, and that is a key historic event. Most Americans most likely have never thought about seeing this outstanding city, but if you get the chance you will experience a genuine old world charm that can still truly be present in a few places.