GDANSK IN EUROPE, EUROPE IN GDANSK
TRADE AND CULTURAL CONTACTS OF GDANSK IN 16TH CENTURY IN THE LIGHT OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATIONS
9 January – 18 March 2014
Exhibition curators: Dorota Kurkowicz, mgr Marta Sierant
The exposition contains nearly 300 carefully selected artefacts discovered during excavations carried out in Gdańsk. They are accompanied by large-size display boards and replicas of objects from the close of the Middle Ages and from the Renaissance. This will help the visitors see the artefacts in their natural context, when they were objects of everyday use and not just pretty items locked away in glass cabinets. Multimedia presentations, introducing the visitor into the world of the Hanseatic Gdańsk and bringing closer the work of the archaeologist, broaden the scope of the exhibition. The visitors can take part in a quiz about the exhibition, with prizes drawn among the successful contestants.
16th century is being referred to in the history of Gdansk as the „Golden Age”. Then, since the turn of 15th and 16th century till the beginning of 17th century, the city became one of the key elements emerging new economic order in Europe. Return of Gdansk to Poland allowed the city to expand broad, economic development. This was due to the connection of the port with its natural hinterland and the thoroughfare – the Vistula river – as well as giving the city many privileges by the king Casimir IV Jagiellon. The enormous Polish export of grain from the port of Gdansk (to 70 thousand lasts ayear) helped to accelerate the transition of Western Europe to the path of industrial development. In 16th century Gdansk was the largest and the richest Polish city as well as one of the biggest cities in Europe. Its participation in the Baltic trade was then about 30%. The city attracted merchants, sailors, people of science and art from across Europe. The fortifications which surrounded the city were among the most enormous in Europe and storage facilities situated on Granary Island consisted of nearly 300 granaries. From Gdansk flotillas of ships set off to the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal or Italy, apart from grain, they were also transporting wood, tar, ash, lead, copper (transit from Hungary), steel, meat, flax, hemp, linen, raw hides, wax or honey. The first place in import belonged to high-value goods, mainly cloth, colonial goods, wine and salted herrings. When it comes to bulk cargo, salt imported mainly from western France was unloaded. Apart from Western Europe countries, Gdansk also maintained lively trade relations with Lithuania, Riga, Reval and far on the north: Novgorod. The south relations of Gdansk reached Hungary and Moldova. The city was also famous for the construction of ships, including those for foreign ship-owners as well, from England, Holland, Genoa or Venice. Many foreigners settled there – merchants and emigrants, hiding from religious persecutions in this city famous for its tolerance. The archaeological excavations confirm this unique multicultural of Gdansk in 16th century The archaeologists conducting research within the historic city centre for years have discovered hundreds of items brought to Gdansk from various parts of Europe. German stoneware dishes, Nuremberg candle holders, Flemish bags or English shoes are just some among the finds which can be seen on the presented exhibition.