|Main street of Gdansk, Poland|
Walking down the main street as you first enter Gdansk, I was struck by how unique and different each house is. It made me wonder, could this place be real or is it a manufactured tourist trap?
"With the defeat of German state the planned genocide of Polish population classified by German authorities as "subhuman" was averted and Polish population returned to Gdańsk. Already before the end of World War II, the Yalta Conference had agreed to place the city, under its original Polish name Gdańsk, under de facto administration of Poland, and this decision was confirmed at the Potsdam Conference.
A Polish administration was set up in the devastated Gdańsk on 30 March 1945. New Polish residents were settled in Gdańsk, 3,200 in April and more than 4,000 in May and June 1945. As of 1948 more than two thirds of the 150,000 inhabitants came from Central Poland, about 15 to 18 percent from Polish-speaking areas east of the Curzon Line that were annexed by the Soviet Union after WWII. Many local Kashubians also moved into the city. The deportation of the German populace started in July 1945, thus the pre-war populace soon became a small minority within post-war Gdańsk.
Between 1952 and the late 1960s Polish artisans restored much of the old city's architecture, up to 90% destroyed in the war. Initially the reconstruction of parts of the inner city (Główne Miasto, German: Rechtstadt) was controversial. As a result of anti-German sentiments and the new settler's at least indifferent attitude towards the unknown, German city a modern architecture was preferred. The decision to reconstruct a traditional old town was politically motivated in order to symbolize the city’s "reunification" with Poland and limited to the area of the Główne Miasto..."
More on the history of Gdansk can be found here. So if most of the city was destroyed, what did they use to recreate the old city? It just felt like too many styles crammed into such a small area. Has anybody else noticed this? It is beautiful, but is it real? That is my question. But whether real or not, a good time can be had ... from the jewelry shops to cotton candy stands. You can even get a fake tattoo.