Świętego Ducha Street in Gdańsk

Świętego Ducha Street had gates at both ends. The upper gate, called the Ludwisarska Gate, closed the street on the side of the Wooden Fair, while the Lower Gate separated the street from the port on the Motława. For security reasons, both gates were closed well into the dawn of the 19th Century, and the opening and closing hours were sounded by a bell located in the Prison Tower. In 1806 the Ludwisarska Gate was deconstructed, leaving only a hole in the wall. The Lower Gate was destroyed in World War II.

In 1945 all that remained of it was the archway and the ruins of the walls. The lack of photographic documentation displaying the appearance of the gate resulted in its reconstruction in a simplified form.

The walk through Świętego Ducha Street begins on the side of the Wooden Fair. The support area of the Wybrzeże Theatre and the “Wolne Miasto” (“Free City”) Hotel are structures worth noting on that section of the route. Moving in the direction of the Motława we see a corner house with the number 19, where Paweł Beneke, a famous sailor, lived until his death. It is thanks to his efforts that the biggest masterpiece of Memling – “The Last Judgment” – found its way to Gdańsk. This three-storey town house built in an eclectic style focusses your attention because of its rich window decorations and reliefs of angel heads, and the crest of Gdańsk.

Another building which once performed an interesting function is the town house designated with the number 27, the so-called Carthusian House, which was an inn for Carthusians visiting the city.

In the surrounding area of the Bread Fair, where once, every Saturday, you could buy baked products which were not subjected to quality control, there is a unique building. It is the Royal Chapel, built on the site of demolished church town houses, which was intended to serve as a place of prayer for Catholics in Gdańsk.

The town houses located on the Plot No. 43 is one of the most beautiful houses on this street. The Renaissance façade crowned with a sculpture of Athena enchains the attention of every passer-by.

Nearby, under the number 47, lived Carl Friedrich von Gralath, who married the great granddaughter of Johanness Hevelius – Beata Szarlota of Davissons. In 1784 this house was purchased by Heinrich Schopenhauer, who moved in a year later with his newly-married wife, Joanna of Trosiners. It was here that Arthur Schopenhauer, a future grand philosopher and thinker, was born on 22 February 1788.

The most precious town houses on the north side of the street are, among others, the houses on the plots designated with the numbers 101 and 103. The owner was once Karl Gottfried Heinrichsdorff. He was famous for marrying the owner of the liquor factory “Dom Pod Łososiem” as a youngster at the age of 18, which would not be at all odd, if not for the fact that the bride was 65! A souvenir of this event was perron boards with the intertwined letters DH.

The corner house near 107 Św. Ducha Street was once the property of a famous architect from Gdańsk, Hans Strakowski. He was the creator of such buildings as the Nizinna Gate and Żuławska Gate.

Next to the house of the famous artist there are 2 of the finest buildings on the street: The Sailors’ House (No. 109) with a majestic portal, which belonged to the Szypry Guild and the “Pod Żółwiem” tenement house.

The façades of houses designated with the numbers115 and 119 were most probably created by Hans Kramer from Dresden. The first of these is probably his first piece created in Gdańsk and the perron, displaying a funny scene of a boy attempting to tame a dog with a roll in order to approach his beloved, was moved from a different street. The street ends with the Gate of the Holy Ghost, which was reconstructed after the War and separates the street from the shore of the Motława.

It was on this special street that the famous Gdańsk citizens connected with culture, art, and philosophy used to live. Among them were the inventor of an astronomic clock, Hans Düringer and the graphic designer Daniel Chodowiecki. The first works of the great European Baroque sculptor Andreas Schlüter, were created here. Currently the place is still known as the Street of Artists. It is not by mistake that during the annual Dominican Fair the stalls of handmade artists, sculptors, artists and graphic designers are set out on Świętego Ducha Street. This street is very popular among tourists and citizens to this day.


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