Brama Wyżynna, the beginning of the Royal Road in Gdańsk


The most important gateway to Gdansk, originally situated within the modern fortifications of Gdansk, was erected and designed between 1571-1576 by Hans Kramer. Polish kings arriving in Gdansk always traveled through this route. The gate was finally completed in 1588, so the first Polish king to see it was August III Waza.

The gate was designed by Wilhelm van den Block, who gave it its beautiful stone decorations. The structure was built in the Renaissance style, with its massive form inspired by the city gates of Antwerp, based on Italian models. In the main part of the gate, there are three entrances: the main and largest one for vehicular traffic, and two smaller ones on the sides for pedestrians. The entrance and entrances are flanked by double pilasters with Tuscan capitals. The entire floor is adorned with rustic work featuring deeply carved plant ornaments. An interesting element is the upper part of the building, the attic, which can be described as disproportionately tall. There is a structural justification for this design, as this part of the building housed a grate that protected the city's entrance. The main decoration of the attic is the so-called heraldic triad: above the entrance, the coat of arms of the Republic is supported by two angels, on the right, the coat of arms of Gdansk is supported by two lions, and on the left, the coat of arms of Royal Prussia is supported by two unicorns. The entire structure is crowned by four lions guarding the entrance to the city.

At the end of the pilasters, there are three Latin inscriptions, reflecting the prevailing fashion of that time to include inscriptions about justice, piety, peace, freedom, and harmony:

  1. Sapientissime fiunt quae pro Republica fiunt – "The wisest deeds are those done for the Republic."
  2. Lustitia et Pietas duo sunt Regnorum omnium Fundamenta – "Justice and piety are the two foundations of all kingdoms." An interesting note here is that if we only read the emphasized bottom line – Rum omnium Fundamenta – "Rum is the foundation of everything," which is considered a typical example of Gdansk humor at the time.
  3. Civitatib.(us) haec optanda bona maxime Pax Libertas et Concordia – "For states, the most desirable goods are peace, liberty, and harmony."