Great Avenue, Gdańsk
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The Great Avenue (Wielka Aleja) is the oldest municipal greenery complex in Poland in the form of a two-kilometre-long and four-row avenue and one of the most valuable green monuments in Gdańsk.

History

The idea of creating the Great Avenue was initiated by Daniel Gralath (Mayor of Gdańsk, physicist, president of the Society of Naturalists), who allocated 100 thousand Danzig gulden for the complex and maintenance of the suburban promenade in his testament. In 1768-1770, a straight route with double-row walking avenues on the sides was mapped out using the main road from Gdańsk to Oliwa. Trees, including common limes, were imported from the Netherlands; responsibility for the mapping out and preparation of the area lied with captain Patzer; whereas Johann Jenin was entrusted with the task of taking care of plantings. In 1807 and 1813, during the Napoleonic Wars, many trees were damaged; the damages resulted from the cutting down of about 260 limes on a section of 400 m; owing to the efforts of merchants Johannes Labes and Karl G. Henrichsdorf, among others, the destroyed fragments of the avenue were quickly complemented. In the early 19th century, the ruined medieval Church of All Angels located to the east of the avenue was demolished and a cemetery was established for the poor. In 1822, the city took over the maintenance costs of the greenery complex; the avenue became a frequented urban promenade. In the 19th century, the area along the avenue was built up not only with cafés and restaurants, but also with cemeteries, parks, and sports grounds; a horse tram was put into service in 1872, and then an electric tram in 1896. In 1893, a large stone commemorating Daniel Gralath was placed in the currently Smoluchowskiego Street. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, electric lights were installed and new residential buildings appeared. In the 1920s, the avenue underwent alterations involving the creation of two separate paved roadways measuring over 5 m in width, a tram lane (about 7 m), and two bicycle paths (each 2 m wide). The new layout (including the modernised Horse Route leading to Heiligenbrunn (Holy Well)) covered the western part of the present-day Zwycięstwa Avenue running to the centre.

After World War 2, the losses of trees the avenue were estimated at 15%; about 1,300 trees survived, including more than 90% of the old-growth ones. In the late 1960s, the cemeteries adjacent to the avenue were liquidated and converted into parks. In the 1970s, the road system underwent further alterations, including relocation of the trackway to the east, widening of the road to Gdańsk, and addition of a new three-lane road to Wrzeszcz — the former walking avenues became inaccessible to walkers.

Description

The Great Avenue connects the centre of Gdańsk to Wrzeszcz: it runs from the Oliwa Gate towards the north-west to the present-day Chinese Consulate General (1 Grunwaldzka Avenue). It was mapped out as a straight promenade measuring over 2 km in length and 30 m in width. The route for vehicles measuring more than 20 m in width run through the centre of the avenue; it adjoined two double-row walking avenues; each avenue measured approx. 6 m in width; the greenery complex consisted of four rows of common limes (Tilia x europea L.), spaced at least 6 m apart, in the so-called staggered pattern — each row was made up of 354 trees (a total of 1,416 limes). Young trees were irrigated using a system of ditches running along the inner rows.

Today, the original “Great Avenue” complex covers the western section of the present-day Zwycięstwa Avenue; the three-lane road leading to the centre of Gdańsk (together with a tram track) is closed off by two double-row avenues to the west and east. Both avenues have around 780 limes of different species, such as Tilia cordata (small-leaved lime), Tilia platyphyllos (large-leaved lime) or Tilia x europea (common lime). About 400 of them are the remains of the originally planted 1416 common limes.

The site is open to the general public.

compiled by Teofila Lebiedź-Gruda, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Gdańsk, 06-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Reichow H., Alte Buergerliche Gartenkunst, Berlin 1927, s. 23-24.
  • Rozmarynowska K., Ogrody odchodzące, Gdańsk 2011, s. 154-159.
  • Wasilewska I., Katalog parków woj. gdańskiego. Dokumentacja ewidencyjna Wielkiej Alei w Gdańsku, Gdańsk 1991 r., w zbiorach OT NID w Gdańsku.
  • Schwarz Z., Żmijewska E., Ogrody Gdańska i Okolic, Gdańsk 1995, s. 61-62.

General information

  • Type:
  • Chronology: 2 poł. XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: al. Zwycięstwa , Gdańsk
  • Location: Voivodeship pomorskie, district Gdańsk, commune Gdańsk
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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