Following our pleasant guided walk around Gdańsk we were led into St Mary’s Church (known also as the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary). While we’d known that this was included as part of our Princess Cruises excursion it hadn’t been key in our decision to take this tour by any means and we’d done no research on the building or its history at all. From outside I have to admit that the church did not look that impressive but the interior was very different to expectations and a very pleasant surprise.

St Mary’s Church had the sense of scale of a Roman Catholic cathedral but its decor was more in line with the Lutheran churches we’d seen in trips to Scandinavia. This turned out to make perfect sense as in the 16th century it held masses for both flavours of Christian worship.

St Mary’s is one of the largest brick churches in the world and can accomodate 25000 people inside! The white walls and columns inside showed off some of the interesting works of art and other religious decorations well, many dating from the 15th century. I was quite taken with the Gdańsk astronomical clock which may still be the largest, wooden, astronomical clock in the world. Like many things in the city of Gdańsk it was damaged in World War II and required some reconstruction work.

We finished our exploration of the interior of St Mary’s Church by popping into a small room off the main nave containing some somewhat abstract art pieces and religious representations. At this point, as we’d wandered away from the main tour group, we weren’t entirely sure what we were looking at but it was all still very interesting.

This concluded our guided part of our excursion from the Crown Princess cruise ship into Gdańsk and would leave us with plenty of time to explore a little more on our own, hunt for souvenirs (especially amber), and grab some food before meeting up with everyone again for the trip back to the ship.

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St Mary's Church, Gdansk


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