THE SHIPYARD - FREEDOM PATH
CRADLE OF SOLIDARITY MOVEMENTThe shipyard of Gdansk is not only a working factory but also a symbol of the Polish people’s faith. It is a symbol of the peaceful fight to gain freedom from the grips of communism. It was with that exact faith and fight which eventually gave Poland it’s deserved and rightful independence. This is also the cradle of Solidarnosc - a Trade Union with 10 million members, which made it one of the biggest movements in the modern world.
But you may ask yourself why this place? Just take a glance at the majestic shipyard cranes. There are more than 100 of them in Gdansk (in the shipyards and ports) the highest is about 60 meters (more or less like the 20-floor building). Cranes are one of the most characteristic views in Gdansk.
In the shadow of these cranes, many historic events had transpired. The "freedom path" you should start from the majestic monument consisting of three crosses with anchors. This statue reminds about the dead victims of the anticommunists demonstrations from December 1970.
Next step on your path should be the shipyard Gate nr 2. It looks the same way as a gate from 1980 with an inscription: "Stocznia Gdanska im. Lenina" (Gdansk Shipyard named after Lenin). This is the place where the crowd of Tricity habitants every day had come to support the strikers. The Gate is also famous because of Lech Walesa’s, the fired employee from the Gdansk shipyard, historic return to the factory. The future leader of the Solidarity movement jumped over the gate to join and ultimately lead the strike.
Do not worry, now you do not need to jump over the gate to see the shipyard. In October 2018 the touristic route was open to show that terrain. The most important place inside is Sala BHP - The Hall of Occupational Health and Safety. In this room, the leaders of the strike, along with important people from the anti-communists opposition on one side and the representatives of the communist government from the other side had negotiated, and then signed the August Agreement. The most important point was permission to create the Solidarnosc, the first free Trade Union in a Soviet-dependant country.
From the spring of 2019, you will be able to see the shipyard (and much more...) from high above with an impressive viewpoint. It will be situated on a crane 40 meters above ground (more or less in 2/3 high of the crane).
The last point of your freedom path should be visiting the Center of European Solidarity. From the outside, the building resembles a ship staying on a slipway on the shipyard. It is a modern museum and cultural-institute where you can see the exhibitions about the history of the Solidarity movement, but also about the falling of communism in Eastern Europe. Inside you can also see the original "August Agreement", machines from the shipyard, the original gate nr 2 which was devastated by tanks in 1981, and a lot of other exhibits, as well as many interactive maps, and pictures.