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Gdansk Gothic Route

The Gothic style in art and architecture evolved thanks to new structural solutions, which allowed to go beyond the previously applied principles of erecting buildings and to achieve a new type of solid. After the era of heavy Romanesque buildings, it was time for the slenderness of Gothic buildings. Thanks to this, it was possible to build not only much higher buildings, but also much better illuminated by larger windows. We invite you to follow the Gdansk Gothic Route!

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Introduction (1/12)
Main Railway Station, 1 Podwale Grodzkie Street
Main Railway Station, 1 Podwale Grodzkie Street
Gdansk Tourism Organization

Gothic style in art and architecture developed in France in the twelfth century as a direct successor of the Romanesque style. Thanks to new construction solutions, it was possible to go beyond the previously applied principles of erecting buildings and to achieve a new type of solid. After the era of heavy Romanesque buildings, it was time for the slenderness of Gothic buildings. This revolution in architecture was due to the invention of the buttress system: the weight of the structure shifted from the walls of the building to the pillars inside the building and the buttresses outside (less frequently inside). Thanks to this, it was possible to build not only much higher buildings, but also much better illuminated by larger windows. The gothic style has been modified over time, therefore three periods can be distinguished: early, mature and late, also called flaming, because it was characterized by the greatest slenderness.

So what distinguishes the objects of Gothic architecture? Let us mention a few characteristic features:

  • the buildings were most often erected on a cruciform plan;
  • cross-ribbed vaults were frequently used;
  • churches were erected mainly in the basilica system (the main nave is higher than the side naves) and the hall system (all naves are of the same height);
  • a specific, skeletal construction system is clearly visible: the building is supported by buttresses from the outside and arches and pillars are observed from the inside;
  • the use of sharp (broken) arches in windows, portals and other architectural elements;
  • the use of tall, slender windows, very often decorated with stained glass.

It is worth noting that although the Gothic period is often called the "cathedral era", during this period there was also a significant development of secular and defensive architecture - town halls, cloth halls, tenement houses, city walls, towers, castles, mills, granaries and others were built.

Gothic from France spread quickly to England and Germany, and in the 13th century, through the Cistercian Order, it also came to Poland. The Pomeranian - very rich - Gothic heritage is characterized by the use of red brick, and its development, Gdańsk and the region owed to the firm-hand ruler of the fourteenth and the first half of the fifteenth century, the Order of the Teutonic Knights. It was the Teutonic Knights - whose Gdańsk castle was located in the area of the present Zamkowa Street - that introduced the existing division into the Old Town (the area from the former Gdańsk Shipyard to Podwale Staromiejskie Street), Main Town (from Podwale Staromiejskie to Stare Przedmieście Street) and New City (current post-shipyard areas). Gdańsk also owes them to a great extent the current division of the streets of the Old and Main Towns. Visitors may be surprised that almost nothing was left of the Teutonic castle buildings - well, after the fall of the Order, the population of Gdańsk equalled the seat of the hated Teutonic Knights with the ground, and the bricks from which the castle was made were used to build other buildings. The only remnant of the castle is a fragment of a brick wall, which can be seen on Wartka Street.

 

START OF THE ROUTE: Main Railway Station, 1 Podwale Grodzkie Street


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