While looking for street art in Gdańsk you wouldn’t even think you may find something inside a rather drab, communist-era quarter that is full of concrete condominiums. But if you think big walls make for a perfect canvas then you’re in luck – Zaspa, because that’s the area I’m talking about, is full of large scale murals that are a treat to look at.
This easy to overlook neighbourhood, located 20min by tram from the city centre, was transformed into a kind of an open-air art gallery. The movement turned those dreary buildings into something much more pleasant for the eye.
First murals started appearing as early as 1997 but it was 2009 when the Monumental Art Festival was first organised and the majority of work has been done after that date.
What is Zaspa?
It’s a huge set of concrete condominiums which were built in the 70s and 80s on a place previously occupied by an airport. It’s also the place where Lech Wałęsa lived during Solidarity times.
Now almost all the buildings are decorated with large scale murals, which were painted by international street artists. Currently, the collection consists of over 60 art pieces.
How to get there?
By SKM train from the city centre or Sopot. Disembark at Gdańsk Zaspa stop. You’ll see the art from the stop on the Eastern side of the train tracks.
By tram from the city centre. Disembark at Zaspa, Startowa, Jana Pawła II, Żwirki i Wigury or Bajana. Walk West.
Self-guided street art tour in Zaspa
Apparently, if you’d want to see all of the murals, the route would be seven kilometres long. It’s a good idea to pre-plan what you want to see the most and head there first before you get tired of walking.
There’s a handy map with photos on Murals Gdansk Zaspa website which I really recommend to use and a pdf guide book (unfortunately only in Polish).
My favourite pieces are the aviation-related ones, funnily enough, they’re all located on Pilotów street (and yes, Pilotów means Pilots’) – Pilotów 16f , Pilotów 12a, Pilotów 6f and Pilotów 5e.
If you don’t feel like exploring by yourself, then check the official website for free tours with local guides.
It is, of course, free to wander through the quarter and admire the art. But remember this is a place where many people live so be respectful of their privacy and think 10 times before you whip out your drone.