Where East Meets West: Gdansk Celebrates 1,000th Birthday

Reed Travel Features

NEW YORK -- This year marks the millenary anniversary of the founding of Gdansk, and the city is celebrating with a variety of events.

Because of Gdansk's location in northern Poland on the Bay of Gdansk -- where East meets West -- it has been a melting pot of different cultures, religions and customs for the past 1,000 years.

The Gdansk Millennium celebration's program will reflect the city's diverse population and will comprise cultural and sporting events, street fairs, concerts and theater performances.

The main festivities will take place from April through October.

The official opening concert of the millenary celebrations will be on April 18 and will include an exhibition devoted to stamps issued in Gdansk as far back as the 14th century.

The displayed works of Gdansk-based artists and craftsman will be joined in May by an exhibit titled "1000 Years of Gdansk -- In the Light of Excavations."

A highlight of the celebration, the International Festival of Organ Music, will take place June 20 through Aug. 22.

Musical works will be performed on a 200-year-old organ in the Oliwa Cathedral, which dates to the 14th century.

Another main event will be the European Dominican Fair, slated for Aug. 2 through 16., when artisans, folk dancers and musicians from Poland and abroad will take to the streets and plazas of Gdansk in honor of St. Dominic.

Other events include the Gdansk Millennium Sailing Cup, which will take place from June 5 through 8, and a Millennium Feast Table, featuring local cuisine, will be set up on Dluga and Dlugi Targi streets on Aug. 16.

On Sept. 14, the Festival of the Thousand will showcase works from Polish, Swedish, Swiss, French and Austrian composers.

The official closing ceremony, Oct. 31, will include a performance of a new work by Krzysztof Penderecki written for the millenary celebration.

Several other exhibitions and events are being organized to mark the city's 1,000th birthday.

For further details, contact the Polish National Tourist Office at (212) 338-9412; fax (212) 338-9283, or E-mail at pntonyc

@polandtour.org.

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