Part of the National Maritime Museum, the oh-so conspicuous Gdańsk Crane soars above the busy waterfront. Built in the mid-15th century as part of the biggest double-towered gate on the shoreline, it also served to install and remove ships' masts, and to load and unload heavy cargo from vessels docked at the quay. Incredibly, this human-powered device could hoist loads of up to 2000kg, making it the largest crane in medieval Europe.

Blasted to pieces in 1945, everything was carefully put back together in the postwar decades, making it the only fully restored relic of its kind in the world. Inside you’ll find exhibits relating to the history of shipping; English notes are available on laminated sheets. You can also climb up into the section overlooking the water and have a closer look at the hoisting gear (but sadly not go on the giant mouse wheels).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Gdańsk attractions

1. National Maritime Museum

0.03 MILES

This is a sprawling exhibition covering Gdańsk's role as a Baltic seaport through the centuries. The headquarters, the multimillion-euro Maritime Cultural…

2. Gate of the Holy Spirit

0.05 MILES

Blocking the river end of ul Św Ducha, this hefty Gothic gate is the least grand of Gdańsk's medieval gates.

3. St Mary's Gate

0.06 MILES

One of the grandest gates on the Gdańsk waterfront, the St Mary's Gate dates to the 15th century.

4. Sołdek Museum Ship

0.08 MILES

The SS Sołdek is a museum ship moored in front of the granaries. Once you’re on board and past the fairly dull introductory video, you can test the limits…

5. Ulica Mariacka

0.11 MILES

The most atmospheric of all Gdańsk's streets and one of Poland’s most photogenic lanes is this length of cobbles between the waterfront St Mary’s Gate and…

6. Bread Gate

0.14 MILES

This gate was built around 1450 while the city was still under the Teutonic order, as shown by the original city coat of arms consisting of two crosses…

7. House Under the Angels

0.16 MILES

This palatial edifice is also known as the English House (Dom Angielski), after the nationality of the merchants who owned it in the 17th century when it…

8. Royal Chapel

0.16 MILES

Squeezed between two houses just to the north of St Mary’s Church, and completely overshadowed by its massive neighbour, the small Royal Chapel is the…