Solidarność Movement memorabilia
As the birthplace of the Solidarność Movement – first non-communist workers’ trade union in the Soviet Block – Gdańsk offers a unique lesson on the fight for freedom, democracy and human rights. Visitors to the city should check out the European Solidarity Centre to learn more about the historical and political context surrounding the movement. After the visit, those interested in bringing a piece of their experience with them can head to the museum store which offers interesting memorabilia.
Dubbed ‘the gold of the Baltics’, amber has been one of the most important regional export goods for the past 5,000 years. From necklaces and bracelets through to earrings and sculptures, the possibilities and designs of souvenirs to take home are endless. However, buyers should beware of the many fakes flooding the market and always buy amber from a reliable source.
Contemporary local design
Head to Drukarnia Café and Sztuka Wyboru to see what contemporary Polish designers have to offer. From posters and ceramics through to various home decorations, you can find something unique to remind you of your travels.
For craftsmanship and original folk art, visit Cepelia, the Polish Art and Handicraft Foundation. You can find there all things folk, from woodcarvings, ceramics, folk costumes, through to more contemporary gadgets embellished with traditional patterns.
Those who like the idea of sharing a glass or two of good liquor with friends while recounting their adventures in Gdańsk have a variety of options to choose from. The most popular is Goldwasser, a root and herbal liquor which has been produced in the city since 1598. With a distilling tradition dating back to 18th century, both the spice-infused liquor Kurfursten and juniper-based vodka Manhandel also make for excellent choices.
A Günter Grass novel
Nobel prize-winning author Günter Grass is one of the most well-known inhabitants of Gdańsk. Whether you are in need of a summer read, or are looking for something to alleviate your daily routine, pick up one of Grass’s novels and get set for a literary treat.
Horn snuff box
Even though consumption of snuff – smokeless tobacco – is marginal in the rest of Poland, in the Kashubia region it is considered a regional tradition. So much so that in some parishes, snuff is consumed during mass as part of the service. The priest starts the ritual from the altar and does not continue with the prayers until all members in the church have taken a pinch. This tradition is closely linked with the art of snuff box making – the most traditional and desired examples of which are made of cow horns. Traditionally, only married men could have horn snuff boxes, as it was a sign of masculinity, while bachelors had clay or wooden snuff boxes which they smashed during their wedding day. It is still customary to give a snuff box to newlyweds in the Kashubia region.