The National Museum, Uphagen House, and Artus Court
Gdansk Travel Blog› entry 7 of 7 › view all entries
I am right on time for the next tram back and it seems shorter or takes fewer stops. I figure out which stop along the highway would put me closer to the Old Town. There are passages beneath the highway as the tram runs between the lanes. I found some interesting graffiti in one of them.
I returned to the Vegetarianski Bar for lunch. I had the lentil soup again. They were out of perogi. It was delicious as it was yesterday.
Nearby was the Uphagen House It’s one of the great houses along the Dlugi Targ / Dluga. I went in.
Uphagen's House was erected in the second half of the 18th century by Jan Uphagen, who obliged the future owners to preserve the house in its original form. Owing to this agreement, the building preserved its original character and decor and now it houses the Museum of Patrician Interiors.
It is set up as a residence but some of the rooms have been converted to gallery spaces, showcasing silverware of the time. Other rooms have period furniture, lighting, and décor. The style is Roccoco and this interpretation is very colorful and includes fruit and animals in the mix. One room’s wall coverings were hand made cross stitch, flowers and in the ribbon of cross designs, a ship. The work and quantity of it was impressive.
From there I continued down the main drag, towards Prison Tower and then off to the left. I was in search of the National Museum. I crossed paths with several dramatic building along the way. The section of the old wall with turret and the Peter and Paul Church were favorites.
The directional signs were not clear and too few.
The National Museum (Gdansk Location) has exhibitions surrounding specific areas. There is one dealing with Prussian history as this is heart of the ancient Prussian land. There is a moving multimedia exhibit concerning the Jewish population of Gdansk and the events leading up to and encompassing World War II. There is a collection of artifacts that were saved from the terrible fire in St. Catherine’s Cathedral in 2006. A china and ceramics exhibit including French, Polish, Prussian, Dutch, and specifically Gdansk artists showcases the artistry and wealth of this great city of a once great empire.
The art gallery on the top floor is another testament to their fascination with Dutch and Flemish schools of art. Most of the floor is dedicated to that. The prize of the collection it “The Last Judgement” by Hans Memling and is a masterpiece. There is a nice collection of art produced by Gdansk natives and I enjoyed it. The took inspiration from the Dutch but have made their own statements and found new styles to call their own.
I attempted to see the Main Town Hall but, the lady standing at the entrance seemed to be discouraging people from the tour. She kept telling people that only two rooms and the exhibition were available and frowning. Most people were leaving including me.
I returned to St. Mary’s Church and entered the sea of tourists. It was very crowded. I wanted to climb the tower and see the view of the city. The lady at the kasa could only tell me what times it was open. She could not understand my desire to know if I could actually see beyond all of the scaffolding. I decided to get out of that mess.
Behind Neptune’s fountain is Artus Court, a beautiful but unassuming building from the exterior. What it contains is nothing less than a jewel box of interior design and artistry.
Artus Court (Dwor Artusa) is an elegant mansion on Long Market by Neptune Fountain. Originally it was founded in 1350 and inspired by the mythical King Arthur. The Court served as the main cultural venue for the city’s merchants, who intended to cultivate the chivalrous ideas described in the Arthurian legends.
The Court hosted sumptuous dinners, meetings, concerts and artistic performances for the city’s elite. It also hosted Polish kings and noblemen as well as foreign envoys. The building was destroyed during WWII, but after the war it was meticulously rebuilt and renovated and 70% of its treasures were regained.
The present-day building features a Baroque style architecture and splendid interiors. It houses a museum featuring armoury, the collection of ship models, world-class arts and crafts. It also serves as a venue for concerts, temporary exhibitions and other artistic events.
I continued my journey and crossed through the Green Gate and then the river Motlawa. I passed over several bridges to get to Spichlerze Island.
Spichlerze Island was once joined to the mainland but was created when the New Motlawa Canal was dug in 1576.
The bridges connect several islands that can get you to the spot on the river that is across from the Medieval Crane. You are able to get a nice Old Town river view from there. You can see the many layers of history and the water always adds something, also.
On my return walk I stopped in at an internet café and printed out my transport voucher for tomorrow.
Back in the room, I packed, looked through my pictures and thought about my time in Gdansk. In most ways, it was what I expected. It was more laid back and comfortable than I thought….a nice surprise. I did not realize that it was so important to the Prussian Empire, World War II, and the Solidarity movement for Polish freedom. Gdansk has been a center, of sorts, and heart for the people of this region for many, many centuries. I will have to return as I haven’t seen all that I want of Malbork and maybe I can include a venture on to Belarus.