Gdynia is a port city located on the Baltic Sea coast in Northern Poland. It is one of the three cities that make up the Tricity metropolitan area, along with Gdańsk and Sopot. Gdynia’s history as a settlement dates back to the Middle Ages, but it began to grow significantly in the 20th century when it became a vital port and shipbuilding center. Gdynia was officially founded as a city in 1926, so … it has no historic city. But because of its significance for the Polish maritime industry, it hosts two historic ships on display on a pier close to the city beach.
ORP Błyskawica is a historic Polish Navy destroyer that has a significant place in Poland’s maritime history. It is renowned for its service during World War II and its role in defending Poland’s coastal areas.
ORP Błyskawica was built in the early 1930s in the J. Samuel White shipyard in Cowes, England. It was one of the first warships in the world to be designed and built with dual-purpose artillery, which means it could engage both surface targets (ships) and aircraft. It belonged to the Grom-class destroyers of the Polish Navy. When World War II broke out in 1939, ORP Błyskawica was one of the few modern and operational vessels in the Polish Navy. It played a vital role during the defense of the Polish coast against the German invasion. The ship was involved in various engagements and provided naval gunfire support to Polish defenders. After Poland fell to Nazi Germany, ORP Błyskawica managed to escape to the United Kingdom, where it joined the British Royal Navy as part of the Polish Navy in exile. It continued to serve during the war under the British flag, participating in various operations, including escorting convoys in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. After the war, ORP Błyskawica returned to Poland and served in the Polish Navy once again. It underwent various modernizations and continued its service until 1976 when it was decommissioned.
In 1976, ORP Błyskawica was preserved as a museum ship in Gdynia, Poland, where it remains to this day. It is one of the few surviving Grom-class destroyers and is open to the public. Visitors can explore the ship’s interior, including its engine room, crew quarters, and armament.
Dar Pomorza is a historic Polish sailing ship that has a rich maritime history. It is one of the most iconic museum ships in Poland and serves as a symbol of the country’s seafaring heritage.
The Dar Pomorza was built in 1909 in the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany. It was originally named the Prinzess Eitel Friedrich and served as a training ship for the German merchant navy. The ship is a three-masted barque, which means it has three masts and square sails on the fore and main masts. After World War I, as part of war reparations, the ship was handed over to France and renamed the Colbert. However, in 1929, the ship was purchased by the Polish government and renamed the Dar Pomorza, which means “Gift of Pomerania” in English. It was intended to serve as a training ship for the Polish Maritime Academy and to promote Poland’s maritime traditions. The Dar Pomorza spent many years as a training ship, providing practical sailing experience to generations of Polish cadets and officers. It was an essential part of maritime education in Poland and helped train sailors and officers for the Polish merchant navy. During World War II, the ship was interned in Sweden to prevent it from falling into the hands of Nazi Germany. It was returned to Poland after the war.
Today, the Dar Pomorza is permanently moored in the city of Gdynia, Poland. It has been beautifully restored and transformed into a museum ship. Visitors can explore the ship’s decks, cabins, and various maritime exhibits to learn about the history of Polish seafaring, navigation, and life on board a sailing vessel.