GRANARIES ISLAND

1880, Motława waterfront on an illustration from 'Allemagne Ullustre' - photo source: Gdansk Municipal Office

GRANARIES (Polish: SPICHLERZE) – is the official name of one of the old districts of Gdańsk. The name comes from the German word “Spicherstetten” meaning “grain warehouses”. One of the names used in the XVth century was also a Latin origin “gran aria” meaning “granary”. The current name has existed since 1949.
The first facility established on the island was the slaughterhouse on Motława river (Kuttelhof, located at today's Chmielna street 39-45, in the vicinity of Podwale Przedmiejskie street). Until 1494 in the northern part of the island the Tar Manor (Polish: Dwór Smolny) (called Teerhof) and the Ash Manor (Polish: Dwór Popielny) (called Aschhof) were working as well as the quality control checkpoints for tar, hops, flax, hemp, etc. The island had also the town carpentry workshop and timber yards.

 

 

The first 120 granaries were located near to a wooden platform used for unloading, called the Long Side (Polish: Długie Pobrzeże) and the Long Bridge (Polish: Długi Most). Due to the character of goods stored in the district it was exposed to attacks and setting fires, and therefore in the XVIth century actions aimed at hindering access to it to all intruders were undertaken. The fortifications made of wood and earth called the Dog Dike (Polish: Psi Wał) were built, protecting access from the east.
After digging the New Motława river canal in 1576, the Granaries district became an island. In 1643 there were already 315 granaries on the island storing up to 250 thousand tons of grain. 110 granaries had its own name. In 1852 the first railway station in Gdańsk was built – at the location of demolished Tar and Ash Mansions, after overwhelming the connection between the Old and New Motława rivers.

 

1929, Granaries Island - photo source: Gdansk Municipal Office

Granaries mostly had their names that were in use longer than the granaries themselves. Yet in 1814 their historical names were used for warehouses working on the island. Only three buildings survived the WWII: Steffen, Deo and Wisłoujście, the last one, by 1776, was called the Blue Lamb (Polish: Błękitny Baranek). However, the granaries are gradually being rebuilt. So far, 36 of them have already been restored.

 

1929, Granaries Island - photo source: Gdansk Municipal Office