WIT Press

Evolution Of The Lighthouses Of Gdansk


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15 - 21




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A. F. Komorowski & I. Pietkiewicz


The oldest and the biggest Polish port in Gdansk has a very intricate history, which begins in 1000. Located in the delta of the Vistula River, the port has a fully developed infrastructure starting from Nowy Port and Westerplatte, through Motlawa and Martwa Wisla to Gorki Zachodnie and Port Polnocny. The strenuous development of the port started in the 14th and 15th centuries, together with the increase of trans-shipment of wood, grain, pitch, wax and other goods. Because of the continuous increase of turnover and profit from trade, the quickest development of Gdansk took place in the 16th and 17th centuries. At that time approximately 500–1000 vessels called at the port, mainly from the Netherlands and England. From the second half of the 18th century, Gdansk had been under the influence of Prussia, thus the port became one of the Prussian ports. In the years 1919–1939, due to the will of the League of Nations, Gdansk became a Free City. After 1945, there was intensive development of the port and all institutions connected with maritime affairs. During the mentioned period the port was immensely exploited and it demanded good navigational support at the approach and in port channels. In the 15–17th centuries the Wisloujscie (Weichselmünde) Lighthouse directed vessels to the entrance to the harbor; the lighthouse was situated on the right fringe of the Vistula estuary. Later on, the localization of the estuary changed place and thus the navigation signs at the entrance. The new lighthouse was built in 1758 and, together with the front beacon, created a leading mark, which pointed out the new entrance to the port. Modifications of aids to navigation also took place in the following years. The next lighthouses were built in Gdansk in 1894 and 1984. The history of Gdansk Lighthouses is the main subject of this study. Keywords: maritime heritage, history of navigation, lighthouses.


maritime heritage, history of navigation, lighthouses