Gdynia’s new, luring attractions

The pool of numerous and well-known tourist attractions in Gdynia has this year been increased by two new and original, which immediately became the highlits of the season: the Emigration Museum, and a railway to the top of the Stone Mountain (Kamienna Góra) from which there is a scenic panorama of the sea and the city.

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The only Emigration Museum in Poland was opened in June, 2015, in the building of the former Maritime Station. This state-of-the-art science, education and cultural institution is located at 1 Polska street, next to the French pier, a docking place of the largest cruise ships from all around the world. The museum is not only a finely designed and realised permanent exhibition, but also a cinema, restaurant, cafe, bookstore and souvenir shop. It is a place where numerous events are organised, such as meet the author sessions, concerts, and screenings of emigration-inspired films. It is here, obviously, that memories, documents, and mementos gathered, or related by emigrants, are being stored and researched.

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The idea for locating the Emigration Museum in Gdynia came from the simple fact that this city witnessed an enormous wave of emigration in the 1920s and 1930s. Gdynia, which at the time was under construction, saw Poles arriving from all around the country in order to build the harbor and the city. Unfortunately, they also came here to leave Poland on board of transatlantic ships. Hundreds of thousands of people who failed to adapt to the Polish reality decided to try their luck abroad. The most common destination was the United States of America, but also Brasil, Argentina, and others. There, they got back up, and some of them even made very interesting careers. Anyone at least slightly familiar with the history of Poland knows that Polish emigration, this socially painful phenomenon, dates back to the 18th century, and has affected almost every Polish family. It is estimated that around 20 million people of Polish descent live around the world. Their ancestors, or themselves, left homeland to try their luck on the other side of the pond. Emigration Museum is a place, in which every visitor can contemplate upon this phenomenon.

Another tourist-luring novelty in Gdynia is the railway to the Stone Mountain that was inaugurated in June. Although it cannot compete in terms of height with Gubałówka in the Tatra Mountains, the 2.5-minute, free ride to the height of 42 meters has turned out to be the highlight of the summer season. The lower railway station is located just next to Gdynia Film Centre, at Grunwaldzki Square (Plac Grunwaldzki), in the vicinity of the Music Theatre and the concert bowl. In two months, more than 90,000 people reached the mountain top with the train, among them many elderly, disabled, but also parents with small children in pushchairs and strollers, that find it difficult to reach the top of the hill using the stairs. The peak of Stone Mountain reveals a scenic panorama of the sea, port, and the city. There is also a park, in which during summer promenade music concerts are organised each Sunday. After such an experience, take a walk along the streets of this beautiful, quality residential area of Gdynia, rich in historical modernist buildings, and return to the city centre by train.

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