Garnizon Kultury in Gdańsk – integrating, intriguing, and inspiring

„It’s a place in Tricity, where the past mixes with the present”  – say the creators of Garnizon Kultury (Garrison of Culture) in Gdańsk. Although relatively young, this area has imprinted into the cultural panorama of Gdańsk. However, narrowing its phenomenon only to Tricity is a bit of an understatement, and an underestimation of its potential.

What is Garnizon Kultury in Gadńsk? It’s part of an entire complex of buildings that are known under the name Garnizon (Garrison). It’s the modern part of the city, with lofts, apartment and office buildings, restaurants. It takes up area designated by Żołnierzy Wyklętych Alley, and Grunwaldzka and Szymanowskiego streets, in the popular district of Wrzeszcz.

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The name isn’t random – this part of Gdańsk had been for 170 years occupied by soldiers, including Prussians Hussars in the 19th century. Today, the entire quarter consists of two parts: developer’s and re-vitalised. The latter includes seven historical buildings with total area of 12,500 square metres. The area is surrounded by 2.5 hectare park with historical, old trees. On warm, sunny days, it’s full of people having picnics, as well as children running wild on the nearby “spider’s web” , an installation that inspires all sorts of acrobatics.

The central part of Garnizon is taken up by Stary Maneż. The name of the building, “The Old Manège”, refers to its history. It was here that the historical manège, a place of training for horses and their riders, was located.

Today, Stary Maneż is a state-of-the-art concert hall that can house up to 1,000 people. The place quickly became a favourite concert spot, not only for inhabitants of Tricity, but also guests from all around the country. The venue holds regular concerts, both of Polish (Fisz Emade, Organek, Voo Voo), and international stars (Marianne Faitfull, Ron Carter, Rykarda Parasol). It’s also an event space: Smakuj Trójmiasto culinary festival is one of the recurring events here, and turns the interior of Stary Maneż into a magical fair of flavours and aromas.

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Garnizon Kultury itself is regarded as synonym of good taste. Literally and figuratively speaking. The building of Stary Maneż is also the location of Vrest Brewery (Browar Vrest). Giant, shiny vats are used for brewing delicious beer which every day flows from taps. The restaurant’s chefs prepare delicacies that are perfect matches for the locally produced beers.

Garnizon Kultury is a perfect example of well-designed urban fabric. There are also several cafes and restaurants scattered within the area, suited perfectly for both businessmen and families. This is also the philosophy behind Garnizon Kultury: a place for everyone. A place, where you can just spend some quality time.

The second central point of Garnizon Kultury is the Espirt Haus building, with Sztuka Wyboru café and bookstore, where you can not only enjoy a cup of delicious coffee, read books or newspapers, but also participate in various cultural events, meetings with authors, lectures, film shows, etc. Sztuka Wyboru hosted such events as Bakalie festival, and the recurring Alternatywne Targi Ślubne (Alternative Wedding Fair).

Top story of the 1880 building houses event and exhibition spaces, where vernissages and meetings with renown artists take place.

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The building also houses Noce i Dnie club, which specialises in fresh fruit craft cocktails. The interior was designed by Klaudia Kowalska, and includes designer furniture, original lighting, and cocktail bars on two levels. Walls are decorated with works by world-class photographer, Szymon Brodziak.

However, it’s not all. – Providing small spaces for little money and converting them into small showrooms, workshops, or shops is the idea behind Craftsmen Alley (Alejka Rzemieślników) in Garnizon Kultury – says Justyna Glazar from Hossa SA Investment Group. – The idea behind the Craftsmen Alley was to attract local artisans, but primarily to create an offer for people living in Wrzeszcz. Upon visiting Garnizon, they can explore the offer, do shopping, or order an individual, original items.

Several modern naval containers, located along the green park next to Stary Maneż, houses different initiatives, including a creative agency, Zwracamy Uwagę, as well as RCP Exhaust showroom, where you can order sports exhaust systems for your car! The Alley is also the location of EVC DSGN project that offers colourful, designer clothes. Recently, another shop – Główka Pracuje – has joined these ranks. They offer creative toys for children, and professional help with selecting proper present for the little ones. New artisans and design artists are yet to come, the project is constantly developing, and new containers are under way – adds Justyna Glazar.

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