Modernism in Gdynia

A little gem for fans of modernist architecture! We started our trip to Poland with three nights in Gdynia, the port created practically from scratch by newly liberated Poland in 1921. Now with a population of nearly 250K the city is over-shadowed by Gdansk to the south, but has much to offer.

Gdynia’s tourist office is housed in the current city hall at 10 Lutego 24, built in 1935-36 for the Social Insurance Company. There you can pick up their Modernism route booklet, with four separate tours to keep you busy for the rest of your stay.

Social Insurance Company (1935-36), now Gdynia City Hall

Social Insurance Company (1935-36), now Gdynia City Hall

A half day can easily be spent exploring the BGK Housing Estate at 3 Maja 27-31, built from 1935-39 and including the first underground garage and air raid shelter in an apartment building, plus a mini-museum with 1930s reconstructions. (Gdynia further distinguishes itself by being the place where the first ever ice cream on a stick was created, on Świętojańska Street in 1932.)

The Kamienna Góra route, in a former resort in the hills above the city, boasts some beautiful villas each with a story to tell:

Just four more notable buildings:

The tourist office also offers a Maritime legend route, featuring the South Pier and its Joseph Conrad Monument (1976), allegedly the only one in the world (Conrad had no known Gdynia connections), and the split new Emigration Museum three piers further north in the former Marine Station (1926).

There is so much history here it hurts. The latest addition is the Displaced Gdynian Monument (2014), dedicated to the 150,000 Poles deported in 1939.

Time for a more photo friendly design, perhaps!

More photos on Flickr. Links: Gdynia Tourism | In Your Pocket | WikipediaWikitravel | Adrian Yekkes. See also museums and me on two museums in the city. Latest: Twitter pic thread.

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