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Gdańsk-on the path of freedom

Gdańsk hides many secrets and the evidence that it witnessed incredible historical events. There are many fantastic places worth visiting to stand face to face with the spirit of the past and feel the mood of that time.  Especially for you, we prepared descriptions of places worth including on your must see list.

Saint Brigid's Church, Profesorska 17 Street (3/22)

Saint Brigid's Church
Saint Brigid's Church
Fot. Gdansk Tourism Organisation

The support of the Catholic Church was of great importance to the workers striking in August. Gdańsk bishop, Lech Kaczmarek, sent the parish priest of St. Birgit - parish Henryk Jankowski - to the shipyard workers. The priest started to celebrate masses for the strikers.

The role of the St. Brigit church gained importance after the introduction of the martial law and the internment of activists of the "Solidarity". The clergy house located behind the church was the unofficial office of Lech Wałęsa and the democratic opposition until 1989. Sunday masses were accompanied by patriotic pro-freedom demonstrations, often frequented by Wałęsa and other leaders of the “Solidarity” whom the authorities finally released. The St. Birgit Church was so full of people then that it was difficult to get inside. Gdańsk inhabitants frequently clashed with the militia in front of the church and the militia was using truncheons, water cannons and tear gas to disperse the demonstrations.

The story of the building of the St. Brigit Church in Gdańsk is long and tragic. It was built in the late 14th century but burned down in 1587. It was restored with Renaissance architectural details only to be almost completely destroyed in the last months of the WWII. The church was reconstructed in the 1970s, shortly before the outbreak of the August strike in the Gdańsk Shipyard.

The interior of the church is decorated, among other things, with works of metalwork artists illustrating the history of the Polish society’s fight for freedom.

A unique, very difficult and costly venture involves the construction of an amber altar that has been in progress for years. The altar is supposed to be 11 m high and 9 m wide. Its central component is a painting of the God’s Mother – Caretaker of the Working People pained by priest Franciszek Znaniecki under the influence of his experience related to the massacre of workers in December 1970.

A renowned Gdańsk goldsmith and amber worker Mariusz Drapikowski, the author of many works of religious art including the famous Jerusalem Triptych made of amber, gold, silver and titanium among other things coordinates the construction of the altar.