One could have seen the Kashubian trails on the maps of Gdańsk – not only on the paper ones, but also on these less tangible, cultural – since the beginnings of the city. Among habitants and frequenters of harbour-side Gdańsk there were plenty of people from different parts of the world, speaking different languages and being of different beliefs. In this variety for centuries there have been three dominating forces: Polish, German and Kashubian. Although everyone knows who Poles and Germans are, there are many people that do not know anything about the Kashubians.
Consecutively: Kashubians are a West Slavic ethno-cultural community that derived from Pomeranian tribes. It means they are descendants of native Pomeranian folks. The most important characteristic of this group that has never formed a separate country is its language in which they write literature, publish newspapers, broadcast radio auditions etc. Over 100.000 people speak Kashubian in Poland on a daily basis.
What is the role of Gdańsk for Kashubians spreaded over Pomerania? In 1938 Józef Kisielewski, a Polish writer and journalist, in his book entitled “Earth gathers ashes” wrote:
“Gdańsk has two faces: mercantile and Kashubian. Kashubians play a very important role in it. To the whole Kashubia Gdańsk is just a town. Through the centuries it was a capital of Kashubia. Here, in this Gdańsk, all the arteries of Kashubian life meet. This was the place to sell products, here is the fish market, here are shops, here, at last, are Kashubian relics with the Royal Chapel of John III Sobieski.”
Gdańsk is therefore tied up with Kashubia, and Kashubians are tied up with Gdańsk. Let us see which (and where) shadows of “the arteries of Kashubian life” can be found on the streets of Gdańsk.
Trail’s starting point: Gdańsk Central Railway Station, Podwale Grodzkie Street 1
How to access point 1:
Zamczysko can be accessed in 15 minutes by foot. You need to go through the tunnel to the other side of Wały Jagiellońskie Street. Then turn left next to Krewetka (Cinema City), and when you get through to the crossing by Madison Shopping Centre, turn right into Rajska Street. At the crossing with Podwale Staromiejskie Street turn left. Podwale Staromiejskie Street connects with Grodzka Street that belongs to Zamczysko. The most important streets of this relatively small part of the city are: Tartaczna St, Obrońców Poczty Square, Karpia St (running along the Radunia River. A monumental building of the Museum of the Second World War is visible from here), Grodzka St, Sukiennicza St, Rycerska St and Czopowa St. A walk along these streets should not take longer than 20 minutes.