Solidarnosc in the Hanseatic city
The port city of Gdansk, located in Pomerania, a region that straddles today's Germany-Poland border, looks back on a long and turbulent history. The city changed rulers and inhabitants frequently and usually by force. Due to its convenient location along the Baltic Sea, the former Hanseatic city is an important port to this day. While nearly half a million people live in the city proper, the Trojmiasto ("Three City") metropolitan area, including the nearby harbor city of Gydnia and the Baltic resort of Sopot, has a million inhabitants. Strolling through the historic district of Gdansk is particularly impressive, its red-brick buildings reminiscent of Amsterdam and the other Hanseatic cities. At the center of the city is the "Long Market," a spot that has survived since the seventeenth century, when the well-to-do of Gdansk resided there. Also worth seeing is the Hanseatic harbor, especially the monumental medieval port crane. And those interested in more contemporary history certainly have much to discover in Gdansk. The Solidarity Trade Union heralded the beginning of the end of Communism through its massive strikes in 1980 at the Lenin Shipyard -- which no longer carries that name.