St Mary’s Gate, currently the Archaeological Museum, Gdańsk
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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St Mary’s Gate, currently the Archaeological Museum

Gdańsk

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The Gothic St Mary’s Gate is a representative example of the Gdańsk town gate. The coats of arms that have been preserved on the façade are valuable iconographic examples of the Pomeranian heraldry.

History

The St Mary’s Gate was built in the second half of the 15th century (first mentioned in 1484). As early as in the 16th century, it ceased to serve a defensive function and was earmarked for housing. Around 1600, a Renaissance tenement house (26 Mariacka Street, the so-called Naturalists’ House) was added to the southern part of the west façade. In the 18th and 19th century, the building underwent alterations. In the 1930s, the west façade was subjected to regothicisation. In the spring of 1945, the gate was severely damaged; only the south façade with a tower, northern fragment of the east façade, and the central part of the west façade (with the pointed arch surmounting the gateway) survived. The work to secure the gate lying in ruins began in 1946. In 1959-1960, the structure was rebuilt (design by K. Macura) using the Gothic demolition bricks. As early as before the reconstruction, in 1954, it was decided to create a functional combination of the interior of the gate building with the Naturalists’ House for museum purposes (Archaeological Museum). In 2006, the façades underwent renovation.

Description

The gate is situated at the eastern end of Mariacka Street, parallel to the line of the Motława waterfront, partly in a densely built-up area. The structure was designed in the Late Gothic style, with the body and façades inspired by the Flamish architecture (Ghent Gate and St Christopher’s Gate in Bruges). The gate was built on an elongated rectangular floor plan and is flanked by two octagonal towers to the east. The four-storey body is compact and covered with a tall gable roof (two storeys in the attic); the towers are topped with a pyramid-shaped roof. The ground floor has been designed with a pointed-arch gateway clearly moved from the axis towards the south. To the west, on the axis of the passage is an attic room topped with a stepped gable. The walls are built of brick and feature a Gothic (Polish) bond. The passage is topped with a barrel vault. Ceramic tiles were used for roofing. Both façades have ten axes, are surmounted by a profiled cornice, and partitioned by tall double recesses running through all storeys (and only through the two highest storeys to the west). The edges of the recesses are profiled, topped by dual arches with a corbel; the interior is pierced by window openings. The gable of the west façade is decorated with three pointed-arched blind windows and crenellation. The sections of the gateway around the arches are flanked by pointed-arched niches. On the axis are stone plaques with painted coats of arms from the 2nd half of the 15th century: the Gdańsk crest supported by lions, the coats of arms of Royal Prussia, Poland, and Gdańsk to the east. The towers are profiled on the corners and partitioned by cornices into storeys. They feature the original narrow embrasures. The interior has a layout from the period of the post-war reconstruction.

The monument can be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Krystyna Babnis, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Gdańsk, 17-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Sulikowski G., Brama Mariacka, [w:] Encyklopedia Gdańska, red. naukowa B. Śliwiński, Gdańsk 2012, s. 118.
  • Stankiewicz J. [z uzupełnieniami innych autorów], Brama Mariacka [w:] Katalog Zabytków Sztuki, pod red. B. Roll i I. Strzeleckiej, Miasto Gdańsk, cz. 1, Główne Miasto, Warszawa 2006, s. 27-28.

General information

  • Type: defensive wall
  • Chronology: 2 poł. XV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Mariacka 27, Gdańsk
  • Location: Voivodeship pomorskie, district Gdańsk, commune Gdańsk
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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