Together with the port city of Gdingen and the sea resort of Sopot Gdańsk forms the metropolitan area known as tri-city. Gdańsk is home to several shipyards and Poland’s most important seaport, which made the city a major member of the Hanseatic League. From 1361, the city took part in the Hanseatic League council meetings. Together with Elbing and Thorn Gdańsk was the leading Prussian Hanseatic city.
The Port Crane
The Port Crane was built in 1363. The original structure consists of two towers, each 24.5m high, that enclose a 31m-tall crane lined with timber. The Crane is located in the port. It protected the access way to the city and was used to load and unload cargo of commercial vessels. The tower is a so-called lift tower that was equipped with hoisting gear to lift up to four tonnes of cargo onto or from vessels. The hoisting gear was operated by workers who walked on two giant treadwheels. The workers were mostly prisoners of the city of Gdańsk. The Crane was almost completely destroyed in a fire in 1442 and reconstructed from 1442 to 1444. The structure we see today dates back to that period. After a second fire in 1945 and its subsequent reconstruction, the Port Crane now forms part of Gdańsk’s maritime museum.