There were goods and knick-knacks galore to fill up tourist suitcases. I thought the colorful wooden beads were fun and different. I didn't come home with any - a little too funky for me - but they make a vibrant photo!We walked across town to the Solidarity Shipyard...In December 1970 a strike here was prompted by price hikes: The communist government set the prices for all products. As Poland endured drastic food shortages in the 1960s and 1970s, the regime frequently announced what they called "regulation of prices" - increasing the cost of unimportant items that nobody could afford (like elevators and TV sets). The regime was smart enough to raise prices on January 1 - when the people were fat and happy after Christmas, and too hungover to complain. But on December 12, 1970, the Polish premier increased prices. A wave of strikes and sit-ins spread along the heavily industrialized north coast of Poland. Thousands of angry demonstrators poured through the gate of this shipyard, marched into town, and set fire to the Communist Party Committee building. In an attempt to quell the riots, the government-run radio implored the people to go back to work. On the morning of December 17, workers showed up at shipyard gates across northern Poland - and were greeted by the army and police. Without provocation, the Polish army opened fire on the workers. While the official death toll for the massacre stands at 44, others say the true number is much higher. This monument with a trio of 140-foot-tall crosses, honors those lost to the regime that December... More than a decade after the massacre, this monument was finally constructed. It marked the first time communists ever allowed a monument built to honor its own victims.
Later in the 1980 it was here that the Polish shipyard workers created the "21 Points" of a new union called Solidarity. The demands included the right to strike and form unions, the freeing of political prisoners, and an increase in wages. It was the cusp of the overthrow of Communism and therefore this place is also nicknamed the "cradle of freedom"
At Solidarity Square is an enormous Bible verse plaqued: "May the Lord give strength to his people. May the Lord bless his people with the gift of peace" (Psalms 29:11) AMEN!While Gdansk wasn't my favorite city, I did thoroughly enjoy the St. Mary's Church. This is the biggest brick church in the world, accommodating up to 25,000 people.We happened to be there at noon when the super cool astronomical clock chimed. The wooden figures circled above and spun around.Goodbye Gdansk. Thanks for the history lesson. Overall I am glad we went to Gdansk. Wish the weather and crowds had been a little brighter and lighter, but it was still a powerful spot to learn about and discover first hand.