The Crane


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The Gdansk Crane (Zuraw) over the Motlawa River is the most characteristic and unmistakeable symbol of Gdansk. Back in the Middle Ages it was the largest port crane in Europe handling cargo and putting up ship masts.

The Crane was built in the 14th century and renovated in 1442-1444, when it acquired its present apperance, it combined the functions of a city gate and a port crane. The reconstructed driving mechanism inside, still in working condition, is an immense wooden wheel originally propelled by men literally walking in it. The crane was used not only to load and unload goods but also in fitting masts to ships. The crane was destroyed by fire in 1945. As part of the rebuilding programme after World War II it was repaired and reconstructed, together with its internal mechanism. Today the majestic Crane, a fine specimen of the historic port facilities, sets an excellent background for the rich collection of the National Maritime Museum.

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