Cathedral and Park – two pearls of Gdansk Oliva
This is due to the beginning of the swimming season, it is short in the Baltic, usually from the end of July until the twentieth of August, and the St. Dominic’s Fair, timed to this time, is a grand event gathering several million tourists, Poles and foreigners in Gdansk every year.
Bright fairgrounds, noisy multilingual crowds of people often lead tourists to think about a quiet and contemplative rest, and many are sent to Oliva. This area of Gdansk, quiet and green, is located in the northern part of the city, on the border with Sopot. Oliva, immersed in greenery in the summer, is beautiful in itself, there is a good beach, a zoo, many shady corners, alleys, public gardens (they are also called parks in Polish), fountains, many beautiful old buildings. You can relax, but you can not miss the two main olive sights: the Basilica of the Cathedral and the famous Oliwski Park. They are located almost nearby, you can get to the cathedral and the park from the city center by car on the main thoroughfare of Gdansk – Grunwald Alley, or by tram.
Gdansk’s main thoroughfare is the Grunwald Alley
The Basilica of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Virgin Mary and St. Bernard (this is the official name of the Cathedral in Oliva) was lucky during World War II: it was almost not destroyed. All 23 marble altars survived, in rococo and baroque styles, made at different times by artists and sculptors from different countries. And most importantly, the magnificent organ of the work of the monk Johann Wilhelm Woolf, which he created for almost a quarter of a century, from 1763 to 1788, survived.
Access to the Cathedral is free, photography is allowed, the problem is only in the abundance of material for shooting. The interior of the temple is incredibly luxurious, photographing each painting, sculpture, carved wooden panel in one visit is physically impossible, this is work for several days, or even weeks. Therefore, looking at the snow-white temple with the picturesque “spots” of ebony, we have to pass by some regular masterpiece with pity.
Outside, the Cathedral is also amazingly majestic. The building in Oliva is mainly two- to three-storey, two sharp and thin Gothic towers of the central facade can be seen almost everywhere. Which, by the way, helps navigate visitors to Oliwski Park.
Oliwski Park is named after Adam Mickiewicz, in one of the corners of the park there is a monument to an outstanding Polish poet. There is no entertainment infrastructure inherent in modern city parks – a playground, cafes, restaurants and other similar establishments are placed outside the fence. It is an oasis of silence and contemplation, only trees, bushes, flower beds, lawns, as well as ponds, tiny canals, a waterfall. And the birds – swans, ducks …. All this creates a unique atmosphere of peace and harmony, you unwittingly forget that you are in a huge modern metropolis.
It is better to walk along the Oliwski Park without a certain route, then behind every turn, behind every tree you will be expected to have small discoveries. For example, a small waterfall – it is located so that it can not be noticed behind a thick bush, but give out the voices of children splashing in its streams. Or “a grotto of whispers”, two small artificial caves with an acoustic “focus”, you can enter one of them and speak in a whisper, your voice will be clearly heard in the farthest place of the other cave.
The creators of the park, Cistercian monks, paid tribute to classical park culture. Next to the Abbots’ Palace, a historical and architectural monument of the 18th century, a French-style public garden was laid out, with flowerbeds neatly trimmed with curly lawns and shrubs. One of the sections of the park is devoted to Japanese landscape gardening, there is also a palm garden closed from the Baltic weather.
The entrance to the park is free, you can enter from the noisy, clogged with cars of the Grunwald Alley, and from the side of the old Catholic cemetery. Pay attention to the signs on the trees – among them there are guests from all over the world, you can meet our taiga fellows. And be sure to sit down on one of the benches – the atmosphere of the Oliva Park disposes to rest and calm reflections.