Take a stroll among the blocks of the Gdańsk Zaspa estate. You might be surprised when you find genuine pieces of art, painted on the walls. Zaspa murals are enormous, colourful, and creative. It is one of the must-see attractions of the Pomorskie voivodeship.
Zaspa is one of Gdańsk districts. It is known as “the city bedroom”. It is one of the largest cetnre of residential tower blocks in Poland. This unique surrounding has inspired many artists to transform Zaspa district into an outdoor art gallery. First works were created in 1997, as part of the Gdańsk millennium celebration. The remaining ones are the effect of eight editions of the Monumental Art Festival, between 2009 – 2016 and Gdańsk School of Mural. Strolling among the blocks, you will find yourself stopping to reflect, with the history-inspired pieces, as well as more abstract ones.
59 Zaspa murals that you need to see
It is hard to name all of them in one piece of text. More than sixty were created (some, unfortunately, do not exist any more), and each told a different story. To name the most important ones would be an impossible task. It is all in the eye of the beholder. Having said that, we have composed a subjective list, in hopes of encouraging you to explore them by yourself. Some of the murals are beautifully exposed and seen from the street. To find others, you will have to look a bit more carefully. It is great fun that can turn into a real detective adventure. So, let’s go and explore!
The most characteristic of the murals is the one depicting two most recognisable Poles: Pope John Paul II and Lech Wałęsa. You’ll be surprised to learn that it was made right next to the place where in 1987 Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass as part of his pilgrimage to Poland. Lech Wałęsa can also be spotted on the mural painted on one of the residential tower blocks, where the former president lived with his family. It’s worth taking a while to contemplate.
Some of the paintings refer to local events. But there are also those that will take you on a trip around the world. For example the one made by Alfalfa / Licuado. It shows a rooster, whose comb is made to look like the silhouette of Gdańsk, and a Polish girl who is helping an Uruguayan boy make his dreams come true.
There are also more abstract murals, like the one by Zosen Bandido, which depicts colourful people, whose names are known only to the author. Or “The Vortex and Rainbow Radiation” (“Wir i napromieniowanie tęczą”), which will confront you with the poetry of the famous Polish poet, Wisława Szymborska. One of the most time-consuming murals was one by the Brazilian artist Mazu. It’s commonly known as the “psychedelic ivy”, and will surprise you with its colour palette.
Some of the murals will make you pause to reflect upon different ideas, like the essence of happiness. Sucha re the works by Maciej Salomon. Others are a meditation on the evanescence of everything in life. Take “Eternia” , for example. It shows the microcosm and macrocosm, the everlasting cycles of night and day, birth and death, rise and fall. One of the most intriguing works is „Rustam Qubic”, depicting the harmonious relationship of a parent and their child, who instead of their heads have Rubik’s cubes
Explore yourself or take a guided tour
To fully experience the art of residential tower blocks, it’s good to take a guided tour. Tours like that are regularly organised in Gdańsk. The detailed schedule, as well as the list of all murals, together with addresses and a free, downloadable map are available at: muralegdanskzaspa.pl