Gdynia. A city of young, ambitious, and successful people. It was granted city rights only in 1926, which makes it one of the youngest Polish cities. Gdynia was founded so that a new port could be established, which was intended as an alternative to autonomous Free City of Danzig.
The port of Gdynia isn’t only a big player on the maritime market, but also a historical place. Polish emigrants would set off on their journey from there, in pursuit of a better world and perspectives. The former Maritime Station, from where ocean liners left for decades, now houses the Emigration Museum – the only establishment in Poland dedicated to emigration and lives of Poles abroad. The exhibitions are arranged in a modern and accessible way.
Blending tradition and modernity is the domain of Gdynia, a city inhabited by young and active people always ready for something new to come. It is not without reason that Gdynia hosts Open’er, one of the biggest music festivals in Europe, and the Polish Film Festival, one of the oldest film events in Europe. Thus, modern Gdynia, historical Gdańsk and Sopot resort perfectly complement each other.
Shopping is another strong point of Gdynia. Suffice to have a walk down one of its main streets – Świętojańska Street – to find plenty of boutiques of local designers. But it’s shopping centres with international brands and top Polish producers that are a true paradise for shopping buffs. The Klif shopping centre in Orłowo offers primarily luxury brands, and Riviera houses over 250 popular chain stores as well as original Polish fashion and beauty stores.
Those who are after peace and quiet will find it in Orłowo, a less commercial part of the city, which is definitely worth visiting. Its name is said to have its origins in an inn Adlershorst, which literally means eagle’s eyrie (Orle Gniazdo in Polish), set up by Hans Adler, a fisherman, at the beginning of the 19th century. However, the name was officially changed into ‘Orłowo’ only in 1920. The fishing district still cherishes the tradition of a 1920s resort, combining it with modern architectural forms. Its highlights include a cliff covered in shrubs and trees, separating wild nature from the calm grandeur of the sea. Orłowo also boasts a beautiful beach, which is a hundred metres wide. It’s one of the cleanest and least crowded bathing spots in the area.
The district has also been popular with artists. For example, in the interwar period, it was often visited by Stefan Żeromski, a Polish novelist also known as ‘the conscience of the nation’. The place he used to stay in has been turned into a museum and a café. Another artist who fell in love with Gdynia was Antoni Suchanek. The painter was commemorated by a statue on one of benches in Orłowo.