Behind the door...
When you fall in love with Gdansk and what it has to offer, it is easy to overlook the details. And the details are extremely important. In cities which have sustained as much war damage as Gdansk, it is often the details that make such places feel authentic and allow tourists to feel the local atmosphere.
In the case of Gdansk, certain details are indispensable to our everyday lives. For example, how do you exit a building or a room? Obviously, you need doors to do that. We do not pay enough attention to them, and we should, at least to some of them. After all, the Gothic style is not only about bricks. In this case, even doors from the 16th century can be classified as Gothic, provided that the way they were made and their form matches the Gothic style, regardless of what was in vogue at the time of their creation.
So, where in Gdansk can you find doors which remember the city’s old residents?
To find them, you will have to visit the Main Town City Hall. Now a division of the Museum of Gdansk, it used to be the place where all important events in the city unfolded.
In the City Hall, you will find a set of heavy doors embedded into the thick walls of the building’s tower. They lead to a tiny room called Great Christopher, which used to be the city treasury or archive. The door is black now, but research has shown that it was originally red, and later repainted green. Both of these colours were very popular in the mediaeval period. Since we have come here to see the door, let us enter the room, too. This is yet another interesting part of Gdansk, the quality of which is quite unexpected considering where it is located.
Doors with a Gothic pedigree can also be found in the City Hall’s foyer. Right before the entrance to the Red Room, to the left, they guard the entrance to what is now the cloakroom.
Are these all the Gothic doors which can be found in Gdansk? No. To see the other doors which survived to the present, you will have to visit what is now the Museum of Amber – the Gatehouse Complex on Dluga Street, as well as certain churches – for example St Mary’s Basilica or St John's Church.
Monument Preservation of 2005/2 Katarzyna Darecka, art restorer at the Gdansk Historical Museum. Gothic door joinery in Gdansk. Construction, decoration, colours and maintenance.