Gdansk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast that serves as the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland’s main seaport, and the focal point of the country’s fourth-largest metropolitan area.
The city is located on the southern side of Gdansk Bay (of the Baltic Sea), in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, the spa town of Sopot, and suburban villages, which together create the Tricity (Trójmiasto), with a population of around 1.4 million people. Gdansk has a population of 460,427 people (as of December 2012), making it the biggest city in Northern Poland’s Pomerania region.
Gdansk is the capital of Gdansk Pomerania and Kashubia’s biggest city. The history of the city is complicated, with periods of Polish authority, Prusso-German domination, and periods of autonomy or self-government as a “free city.” The Free City of Danzig was in a customs union with Poland between the two wars and was positioned between German East Prussia and the so-called Polish Corridor.
Gdansk is located at the mouth of the Motawa River, which links to the Leniwka, a branch in the delta of the adjacent Vistula River, which drains 60% of Poland and connects Gdansk to Warsaw. Gdansk, together with the neighbouring port of Gdynia, is a major industrial hub. It was an important seaport and shipbuilding town in the late Middle Ages, and a member of the Hanseatic League in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Gdansk was the origin of the Solidarity movement, which helped put an end to Communist rule in Poland and helped cause the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union five centuries later.