Museums in the Pomeranian Voivodeship closed again? Unfortunately, this is a pandemic truth. They are closed to visitors until at least March 28, 2021. But does that make it not worth writing about them? From my point of view, absolutely not! These additional two weeks give us time to get to know the museums in Gdańsk and the Tri-City better and to visit in April those objects and exhibitions that made the greatest impression on us, interested us or simply - we have not been to them yet. And that museums occupy a special place on the tourist map, I don't think I need to convince anyone. All the statistics from recent years clearly show that the number of museums and museum branches is constantly growing, and there are more and more visitors each year. So let's join this large group of visitors as soon as possible!
Photo: The Artus Court and the Neptune Fountain in Gdańsk
In today's post, I decided to describe the museums that have been on offer in Gdańsk for many years, their character is not multimedia, but it is definitely worth getting to know them better, browsing the collections and feeling a note of great history that looms in their rooms and nooks and crannies between the exhibits. Shortly before their March closure, I visited two of them and I can assure you that I felt comfortable and safe. The staff made sure that the rooms, depending on their size, had only the statutory number of people per unit area, which is certainly important for many tourists.
The Gdańsk Museum has been telling about the history of the city and its inhabitants for over 50 years, presents exhibits related to the centuries-old history and events that were of key importance for the fate of the city and Poland. It allows you to get to know the interiors of historic buildings that remember great history. These are nine independent branches, located largely in the vicinity of the Old Town of Gdańsk: the Main Town Hall, the Artus Court, the Uphagen House, the Amber Museum, the Polish Post Museum in Gdańsk, the Wisłoujście Fortress, Guardhouse No. 1 in Westerplatte, the Gdańsk Science Museum and the Water Forge in Oliwa.
It is worth noting that by buying one joint ticket (MG regular or reduced ticket), we can visit them all at a lower price, especially in the summer, when they are all open to visitors. However, if you have time on any Wednesday, I encourage you to visit, because on that day some branches offer free admission.
And which branches from the above list do I recommend with a clear conscience? My subjective choice is presented below.
Photo: Amber Museum in Gdańsk
My preferences are confirmed by TripAdvisor users, of which four out of five assessed the Amber Museum in Gdańsk as excellent or very good. The branch is located in the Gothic-Renaissance buildings of the Prison Tower and Torture Chamber, located at Targ Węglowy, very close to the Upland Gate and the Golden Gate - so it is the historic beginning of the Royal Route. In the past, modern museum premises were used for the conviction and imprisonment of criminals. We can learn the historical significance in three arranged prison cells - Cain and Abel, Lis and Zając - referring to the traditional function.
However, in the Amber Museum, the first place is filled with amber, also known as amber or Baltic gold (if it comes from the Baltic Sea). Thanks to the large amount of this resin from conifers, which is a memento of events from many millions of years ago, Gdańsk became an important center of ancient and medieval Europe. It was located on the Amber Route, connecting the cities on the northern Adriatic with the coast of the Baltic Sea. It was this route that was used by rich merchants trading in beautiful, impressive lumps.
Photo: Exhibit at the Amber Museum in Gdańsk
Many believe that Gdańsk deserves the title of the world's amber capital, because it was in this Baltic city that the tradition of making amber jewelery and utility items has been developing for centuries, and the city was considered one of the most important centers of amber craft. The museum is therefore a tribute to this age-old culture. Visitors can learn how amber was made, how to obtain it (apart from the traditional finding of fine grains on the beach;)) and how to process it. The exhibition includes unique, colorful, often enormous nature specimens also from distant countries, incl. Philippines, Colombia or New Zealand. Inclusions, i.e. foreign bodies embedded in resin, such as mosquitoes from tens of millions of years ago enclosed in an amber shell, make a great impression. Art lovers will also have a real treat in the form of utility products, such as necklaces, earrings, caskets, pipes, cutlery, dice. The exhibition also features contemporary variations on the use of amber in art by eminent designers.
Photo: Exhibit at the Amber Museum in Gdańsk
What made the greatest impression on me are, of course, inclusions, because they perpetuate geological epochs, they give us an insight into the real, distant and beautiful past of the Earth. Moreover, I really liked the project that combines everyday life and extraordinary nature - the non-obvious use of amber tablets in a blister pack for sore throat tablets. An interesting idea, undoubtedly appreciated by fans of science fiction films, is the sculpture "Alien" referring to contemporary cinematography.
Important information for visitors: most likely in the summer the museum will be moved to the Great Mill and thus increase the exhibition space. It promises to be impressive!
On the Royal Route, in addition to Neptune, the king of the seas, wielding a trident, we can meet another ruler. It is Arthur, the legendary king of the Celts, holding the sword of Excalibur in his hand, symbolizing remaining invincible. Even the medieval inhabitants of Gdańsk referred to the Round Table, which was a symbol of equality and partnership, at which the Celtic ruler sat with his knights. Today, both rulers are neighbors, as the Artus Court is located opposite, or actually behind the back, of the most famous Gdańsk fountain.
The Artus Court has gained recognition in the eyes of tourists, as over 80% of visitors to this museum branch, called the salon of former Gdańsk, gave it an excellent or very good mark on TripAdvisor. And it's not hard to be surprised!
In its turbulent history, the Artus Court played various roles - from the seat of bourgeois brotherhoods, a merchant's house, a courtroom, to an illegal casino where our ancestors gambled - they played cards, dice and made bets.
Photo: Artus Court in Gdańsk
The works of art gathered inside and on the facade are related to the ancient times and the Middle Ages, and referring to their patron, they also tell about legends and myths. After entering the Great Hall, which, according to its name, is really huge - its area corresponds to the size of a basketball court, we can see a huge number of paintings, tapestries, frescoes and paintings, e.g. The Last Judgment by Anton Moller, arousing numerous controversies, as the painter included famous Gdańsk personalities in an allegorical version, including Pride and Unbelief. Another painting depicting the same biblical scene can be seen in St Mary's Church, which I also encourage you to visit.
Personally, I was very impressed by the largest tiled stove in Europe, measuring almost eleven meters in height - figuratively speaking, climbing four floors up. There are over half a thousand tiles depicting European rulers. So there is something to watch.
If you decide to visit the Amber Museum and the Artus Court, plan around an hour for it. But of course - lovers of the Earth's past, art lovers, fans of bourgeois history can spend many more fascinating moments in them.
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