Oliva District in Gdansk
The lovely and peaceful Oliva area in Gdansk is worth a visit if you have an extra day or at least half an day. It is located in a wooded Troymeysky park with a beautiful landscape design. Here is the conservatory of the Botanical Garden, a branch of the National Museum and, of course, the beautiful and famous Olivsky Cathedral, famous for its organ.
The smallest pipes – only 10 centimeters, the largest – 10 meters or more. And in conjunction with two more instruments in the cathedral, there are 7876 organ pipes!
Once here, you first find yourself in a park, which A. von Humboldt himself considered the third most beautiful place in the world, and he traveled a lot in his life. The park is quite large, with many birds and rare interesting species of plants from around the world: tulip trees, Chinese juniper, ginkgo, California fir. Along the alley along the swan canals you will reach the botanical garden, which appeared here in 1956, and a tropical palm greenhouse. Further beyond the greenhouse begins the central part of the park, where modern sculptures deserve attention – motley, but sometimes quite interesting. In 1976, an exhibition of urban sculpture was held here, and since then the park has been filled with strange and bizarre creations of modern sculptors. There is also a bust of Adam Mickiewicz (the park as a whole bears his name).
In the grottoes of whispers (in other words they are also called “the ears of Dionysus”), the remains of which have been preserved in the park since the 18th century, you can whisper with each other, standing in two caves farthest from each other. According to rumors.
The park was founded by Cistercian monks and was originally intended for growing vegetables and herbs for the needs of the monastery. The last monastery abbot invited Casimir Dembinsky, the famous gardener, who designed part of the park in the French style. The French part is ideal for walking and quiet meditative relaxation. It is divided crosswise by two axes. In the southern half, in a beautiful pond, fish are still bred and a long avenue of old linden trees, nicknamed by the monks “The Way to Eternity”, has been preserved. Like many other things in the city, the park was badly damaged in the last year of World War II, but is now restored almost exactly.
At the entrance to the French part of the park is the Abbey Palace, built in the 18th century. The initiator of the construction was the then abbot, and the building was an elegant building in the spirit of the Rococo. In 1945, it was burned, but then restored again. Now the palace houses the Department of Modern Art of the National City Museum.
Walking in the long park all day, it’s easy to get hungry. There are no entertainment and entertainment facilities here, respectively, there are no tents with hot dogs and other things. Cafes and souvenir shops are open at the monastery, and near the monastery walls there is a small van, where Belgian waffles are baked.
The cathedral in Oliva is distinguished by two sharp and thin towers of the central facade. Thanks to them, the church looks more like a fabulous medieval castle. The church was part of the Cistercian monastery founded in the 12th century, it burned and restored more than once, and in the 14th century acquired its present Gothic look. The basilica is more than 100 meters long – the longest in the country. Inside there are many items of genuine antiquity: altars, paintings, artsy pulpit and a majestic baroque altar.
The most famous decoration of the cathedral and its main jewel is the monumental Olivian organ. It was created over a quarter century, and not surprisingly. Its smallest pipes are only 10 centimeters, the largest are 10 meters or more. And in conjunction with two more instruments (an organ in the southern part of the basilica and an instrument near the entrance), there are 7876 organ pipes in the cathedral! The organ is decorated with rich carvings, it is decorated with angels, celestial spheres, floral ornaments and a stained glass window with the image of the Virgin Mary with Jesus. The sound of the instrument is recognized by specialists as special, powerful and clean.
You can hear the Olivian organ almost every day. In order to set up and test performance at noon, they give something like a short concert for a quarter of an hour. In addition, the International Organ Festival is held annually in Oliva.
It is convenient to get to Oliva from the center by tram: from the main station right to the ring.
At a distance of a couple of kilometers from the park and the cathedral, but also in the Oliva area is the Gdansk Zoo. This is the largest zoo in the country, it occupies about 100 hectares of area in the valley of the Great Mill. The zoo opened in 1954, taking as the first exhibits small animals from local residents. Since then, of course, his collection has expanded significantly.