Sopot – a city of two faces

Sopot is the subject of legends in Poland. On one hand, it’s a resort and spa, boasting the famous Grand Hotel, being one of its architectural highlights, which has been visited by great personages such as, for example, Charles de Gaulle, Alfonso XIII of Spain, or a Polish poet and Nobel Prize winner – Czesław Miłosz. On the other hand, it’s a vibrant, popular holiday destination.
The most famous street in Sopot is Bohaterów Monte Cassino Street, commonly known as ‘Monciak’, which leads to the longest wooden pier in Europe, stretching over half a kilometre into the Gdańsk Bay. Along the street, there are plenty of clubs and restaurants, the famous Crooked House, the Wybrzeże Theatre Chamber Stage and auction houses, where you can buy artistic memorabilia. In the vicinity, there is also famous SPATiF, the original Society of Polish Theatre and Film Artists, a meeting place of Polish artists in the times of the Polish People’s Republic as well as now. A lot of famous artists have drunk and engaged in discussions there, including Faye Dunaway, Jerzy Skolimowski and Roman Polański. A must for contemporary art buffs as well as those who prefer more classical art is the National Art Gallery, located at the end of the street, in the Zdrojowy Square.

But cultural life in Sopot isn’t limited to Monciak. Suffice to mention the famous Forest Opera, which has housed concerts of top international artists, such as Elton John, Sting and Whitney Houston, for years. Another popular concert venue is Ergo Arena, located in between Gdańsk and Sopot, famous for classical music concerts of artists like Hans Zimmer and Andrea Bocelli as well as giants of pop music stage, such as Lady Gaga or Armin van Buuren.
Near Ergo Arena in Sopot Wyścigi, there is another venue worth visiting – the Hippodrome. The history of this horse racing track began in the 1870s, when so-called Black Hussars held hunting races there. Over time, its character has changed, and today you can admire and ride various kinds of horses there. It also holds the prestigious International Jumping Competition CSIO 5*.

But there is also another side of Sopot waiting to be discovered. Apart from cultural attractions, parties and concerts, Sopot is also a place where you can relax and restore your health. The resort is famous for its beneficial health effects and climate, first mentioned about 1770, when the first dressing room for the baths was opened there. The foundation stone for the future infrastructure was laid by the godfather of the city, Jean Haffner. At first, the healing power of Sopot was put down to cold baths in the sea. Over time, however, the city has developed in terms of ideology and technology, and it has become a modern and effective resort. Other highlights of Sopot include the Balneological Centre near the famous Sopot pier. This facility, dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, offers saline baths, cryotherapy, hydrotherapy, balneotherapy and a variety of other rehabilitation treatments. Such treatments are particularly recommended for patients suffering from chronic respiratory diseases or rheumatic disorders.

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