The Gdansk Water Supply Trail
This season, when many Gdansk residents give up on distant journeys, offers a chance to discover what still remains undiscovered in the city. The Gdansk Water Supply Trail is such a local attraction. This offer combines different forms of spending free time. Following the trail, you can experience nature, get to know interesting, unknown corners of the city, use the viewing terraces, and finally discover the old and present reservoirs of drinking water. Visitors are awaited by guides – enthusiasts of the history of Gdansk, the history of technical thought and nature lovers.
Safety on the trail
The formula of visiting the Gdansk Water Supply Trail has always relied on intimate meetings of small groups with a guide. The area and nature of the facilities allow for compliance with all sanitary rules related to COVID-19 prevention.
“For even greater comfort and a sense of security, we have reduced the number of groups of visitors. It will be possible to visit the facilities with a guide in a small group of 10 or 15 people, depending on the reservoir”, emphasised Ms Dorota Sawczyszyn, Trail Coordinator from GIWK.
In order for the trail guests to feel completely safe, the obligation to disinfect hands and shoes, as well as cover the mouth and nose during the trip, has been introduced. The organiser, i.e. the GIWK municipal company, will also take care of proper and regular disinfection of surfaces with which visitors may come into contact. New schedule and principles of safe sightseeing are available on the dedicated Trail website.
Signing up and tickets Safe on the trail
Entrance to the Orunia and Sobieski underground reservoirs is available for a fee (a ticket costs PLN 9). Visit to the Kazimierz tower reservoir is free of charge. The best guarantee of securing a spot in a group is booking and purchasing a ticket on the abovementioned website. Moreover, this method ensures the best safety. It is also possible to buy a ticket (for the two underground water reservoirs) on site via a card or cash payment.
3 water supply sites, 3 viewing terraces
Stops for local, water and nature travel are located in three districts of Gdansk – in Wrzeszcz, Orunia and on Sobieszewo Island. The Water Supply Trail comprises of two historical, underground water reservoirs and a modern water tower. By visiting all three facilities, you can take advantage of not only the rich educational offer, but also gain different perspectives of the city, both of its underground as well as a bird’s eye view. The trail also has three viewing terraces and popular bat wintering spot.
The Stara Orunia Water Reservoir is the largest locality of these animals during their hibernation, that is, in winter. You can learn interesting facts about the life of flying mammals in beautiful scenery among brick arcades, which resemble more sacred buildings than technical facilities. This a natural element of the Gdansk Water Supply Trail, thus the austere décor of the facility. For the peace and comfort of the bats, the interior of the reservoir retains its original character and natural patina. Water is present inside, and sightseeing is possible on specially made platforms. The Stara Orunia Reservoir was created in 1869, and it was one of the key elements of the complex water supply and sewage system constructed at the order of Gdansk Mayor, Leopold von Winter. Eduard Wiebe, a well-known sanitary sewage and storm drainage specialist, participated in this process. A highly modern, complete system was created – from the intake through the water supply network, sewage system, and the central sewage pumping station. These were prototype works in our part of Europe, often copied later for similar investments.
The Stary Sobieski Water Reservoir was built in 1911 in the form of a reinforced concrete monolith, which was an impressive achievement at the beginning of the 20th century. It is founded on a circular plan with a 50 m diameter, and is comprised of several concentric spaces, forming a surprising underground labyrinth. At the heart of the facility, an underground fountain is located, reached via the ‘Water for generations – history of Gdansk waterworks’ exhibition. There, we present the history of Gdansk from the perspective of water supply – from the times of the Teutonic Knights and the first wooden pipelines, to the modern waterworks as we know them today.
The Kazimierz Reservoir is in turn a modern water supply structure used by the residents of Sobieszewo Island. The terrace offers a beautiful view 10 metres above the treetops of the Gdansk Bay, Zulawy Gdanskie, and Sobieszewo Island. Visitors can also visit a multimedia exhibition devoted to the natural values of the Sobieszewo Island.
Agnieszka Klugmann / GIWK