VII – XI century
In the area of today’s city there was an early medieval stronghold, elements of which survived at ul. Haffner. For several years, an open-air museum has been open to the public at the remains of the Sopot fort.
The first reference to Stawow and Gręzów – two settlements within the area covered by today’s Sopot. Both settlements were listed in the foundation document of the Cistercian monastery in Oliwa among four villages constituting the original salary of the Oliwa Abbey.
1212 – 1214.
In the foundation document issued by Mściwoja I, the Duke of Gdansk, to the Norbertine monastery in Żukowo, the name of Świemirowo, once an independent village which was located with the area covered by today’s Sopot, appeared for the first time.
In a document issued by the Duke of Gdansk, Mściwoja II, the village of Sopot is mentioned for the first time. The settlement was mentioned among the sixteen villages that the Cistercians of Oliwa received in exchange for the towns lying in the Gniew area, lost by them to the Teutonic Knights.
The Cistercian monastery in Oliwa remained the owner of Sopot for nearly five centuries – until the disappearance of monastery property after the first partition of Poland.
In the same document from 1283, the present-day district of Sopot Brodwino was also mentioned for the first time.
The Cistercian abbey in Oliwa, by exchange with the Norbertine monastery in Żukowo, becomes the owner of the village of Świemirowo. From that point, the entire area of today’s Sopot came within the boundaries of the Cistercian’s estate.
As a result of the second peace of Toruń, Sopot and the entire area of Pomeranian Gdańsk were incorporated into the borders of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Sopot begins to transform from a peasant village into a place of summer recreation for the patricians of Gdansk. Over the decades, the richest Gdansk merchants built in Sopot twelve summer mansions surrounded by decorative gardens on land leased from the Cistercians. The centre of the village was located near the intersection of today’s ul. 1 Maja and Bohaterów Monte Cassino with Al. Niepodległości. The lower part of today’s town, further down the Sopot escarpment, remained uninhabited until the beginning of the 19th century apart from a small fishing community next to the sea.
During the peace negotiations in nearby Oliwa, which ended the Polish-Swedish war, the Polish king Jan Kazimierz with his wife Maria Ludwik and their entire court stayed for a few weeks in the Sopot property of Karlikowo. The head of the Swedish delegation, Magnus de la Gardie, resided in Sopot itself, in the most magnificent of the local manor houses, known from that time as the Swedish Court.
Sopot is completely burned by the Russian army besieging Gdańsk. The destruction of the settlement was the result for the war of the Polish crown between Stanisław Leszczyński and August III, which had been going on since the autumn of 1733. At the end of September 1733, Leszczynski came to Sopot and for a few days lived in the local Swedish Manor. He took refuge in Gdańsk, where he expected help from the French. In response to the French landing, the Russian armies besieging Gdańsk burnt down nearby coastal settlements, including Sopot. After the end of hostilities, the ruined mansions in Sopot were abandoned by the existing tenants – the Gdansk patricians – and remained largely undeveloped until the mid-18th century.
Second half of the eighteenth century
Most of the manor houses in Sopot were bought by the Pomeranian Przebendowski magnate famil. In the years 1756-1757, General Józef Przebendowski purchased nine properties in Sopot and in 1786 his widow, Bernardyna from Kleists, buys a further two. In this way, by the end of the 18th century, the Przebendowski family had taken ownership of eleven of the fifteen Sopot manor houses. In 1804, all this property was sold to the Gdansk merchant Carl Christoph Wegner.
As a result of the first partition of Poland, Sopot became part of the Prussian state. By virtue of the decision of King Frederick II, the estates of the Oliwa monastery – among them the Sopot estates – were confiscated and incorporated into the Prussian state.
The largest Sopot landowner, Carl Christoph Wegner, made the first attempt to launch a bathing area when he built a modest building by the beach which was equipped with hot baths and changing cabins. Wegner’, however, was not successful.
There were 23 houses in Sopot at that time and the village has 350 inhabitants. The area of the rural commune is 44 Prussian (about 337 ha).
The first professional Bathing complex is built In Sopot by Dr. Jean Georg Haffner. This date is considered the beginning of the Sopot resort.
Haffner, an Alsatian by origin, came to Gdańsk in 1808 as a physician in the Napoleonic army and settled here permanently. The creation of a sea bathing resort in Sopot came about because of a request by the Prussian authorities. In the following years, Dr. Haffner expanded the bathing area with further services and equipment for patrons of the resort. In 1824, the first Sopot Spa House was opened. At that time the first wooden pier, the forerunner of today’s pier was built and was approximately 63 metres in length. Haffner also built wooden changing rooms on the seashore, which offered separate rooms for men and women, as well as a park. The first Sopot tourist guidebooks were published, as well as the first magazine issued for bathers coming to Sopot.
Jean Georges Haffner dies in 1830 and his stepson, Ernst Adolf Böttcher, takes over Haffner’s Sopot legacy. The company founded by Haffner remained privately owned until 1877.
Ernst Adolf Böttcher expanded the Spa House and staged the first theatre in Sopot. He also built new changing rooms. At that time, Sopot had 150 homes and 937 permanent residents. In the mid-19th century, the number of visitors visiting the Sopot resort in the summer season remained between 800 and 1200 people per year.
A railway line running Gdańsk – Słupsk – Koszalin is built through Sopot and is later extended to Berlin. The increased access to Sopot thanks to the launch of rail connections, contributed to the extremely dynamic development of the resort towards the end of the 19th century. In a short time, Sopot was transformed from a small centre of local importance to become a modern, elegant resort with European ambitions. The number of holidaymakers coming to Sopot began to grow rapidly and reached 12,500 in 1900.
As a result of reforms, the local government in Sopot takes over the management of the entire commune. In 1874, the settlements of Karlikowo, Świemirowo and Stawów were incorporated into Sopot increasing the area covered by Sopot to 889 ha. The number of permanent residents now exceeded 2,800.
The local authorities bought the business running the spa complex from the heirs of Dr. Haffner and proceeded to extend it. In 1881, a new (second), impressive Spa House was built. The pier was extended and widened, reaching a length of 85 meters.
The first tennis courts were opened, located in the vicinity of the Northern Park.
A horse racing track is opened in Karlików which exists to this day.
1900 – 1902
Around 1900, nearly 52% of the Sopot population were Catholics, 46% Evangelicals, and 1% Jewish.
On September 17, 1901, the solemn dedication took place of the Evangelical Church of the Saviour, built in the centre of Sopot (today’s St. Jerzy church).
On December 21, 1902, a new Catholic place of worship was also consecrated, and was named the Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea.
On October 8, 1901, on the edict of the Emperor of Germany, Wilhelm II, the rural commune of Sopot received civic rights. The newly elected mayor of Sopot and the city board began their work on April 1, 1902. October 8 is now celebrated as the anniversary of the granting of civic rights to Sopot.
A new and impressive bathing complex comes into use. The building, preserved to this day and decorated with a high tower, is one of the most characteristic figures in the Sopot landscape. Today, the Balneological Institute, belonging to the Provincial Rheumatology Hospital, is located in the building.
New Southern Baths are built. They take the form a wooden building in a style referencing Old Norwegian architecture. A Chinese hotel with a restaurant is located in the complex of former baths today.
The Forest Theatre, the predecessor of today’s Opera Leśna, is opened.
The construction of a new (third) Spa House began and this large-scale investment was completed in 1912. The new Spa House featured hotel rooms, restaurants, wine bar and a theatre.
On the eve of the First World War, Sopot covers an area of 899 ha, has 17,400 permanent residents, and is visited by over 20,000 holidaymakers during the season.
Under the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, the Free City of Gdańsk is created in 1920 which includes Sopot within its borders. The Swelinia or Grenzfluss stream in what is now the Northern Park was the border. For nearly twenty years, this northern border of Sopot was at the same time a state border between the Free City of Gdańsk and the Republic of Poland.
At the Spa House, the famous Sopot casino was opened, attracting countless gamblers to Sopot during in the interwar years. In 1923, a new wing was added to the complex of the Spa House for the needs of the casino.
The Kasino Hotel is opened making it the largest, yet the most modern and refined hotel in Sopot. After the Second World War, it was renamed the Grand Hotel.
The Sopot pier was extended to today’s length (511.5 meters). Since then, it has been the longest wooden pier in Europe. It was around this time that the Sopot bathing resort reached the height of its popularity. That season nearly 30,000 foreign tourists visited the city.
The Nazis burn down the Sopot synagogue. This was a demonstration of the growth of Nazism in both Sopot and the whole of the Free City of Gdansk, which had gaining strength throughout the 1930s.
On September 1, the Second World War begins. The Nazi gauleiter, Albert Forster, decrees that the territory of the Free City of Danzig be incorporated into the Third Reich. Representatives of the Polish community in Sopot are arrested and remaining Jewish residents expelled.
The last artistic season of the war at the Forest Opera.
On 23 March, Red Army troops entered Sopot from Kolibki in the north. A combination of the Red Army assault and defensive actions by the Germans, which included deliberate arson, around 10% of the city was destroyed including the entire Spa House complex and many of the buildings at the lower end of what is now Bohaterów Monte Cassino street.
Until the end of 1946 the new regional authorities were temporarily located in what is now the Sopot Town Hall. Expulsion of the remaining German population and the arrival of Polish refugees, displaced from lands in the east, began.
During 1945 new institutions such as the Baltic Philharmonic, the Drama Theatre, the Higher School of Fine Arts and the Institute of Music were created.
A treatment and bathing facility were launched near the pier and a tram line between Sopot and Gdansk was established, which ran until 1053. The City Library was opened.
The Higher School of Maritime Trade and the College of Music were established. The Gdansk Fair was also opened in temporary wooden pavilions erected on the part of the remains of the Spa House.
The first Festival of Fine Arts in Sopot. Pavilions from the Gdansk Trade Fair are used for exhibitions and some end up becoming permanent fixtures in the city until the area is redeveloped in 2008-11.
The Central Office for Art Exhibitions (CBWA) was created. The CBWA went onto become the State Art Gallery which is still found at this location.
The launch of the electric rail line which linked Sopot with Gdańsk in 1952 and then with Gdynia the following year.
The School of Fine Arts is transferred to Gdańsk.
The first International Jazz Music Festival in Poland. Although most of the concerts took place in Gdańsk, the city of Sopot was recognised as officially organising the event.
The Sopot Athletics Club (SKLA) is established.
The ‘Afanasjeff Family Circus’ is created.
The first International Song Festival at the Forest Opera.
The popular ‘Monciak’ is closed to traffic and turned into a pedestrian walkway.
The Forest Opera is covered with a fabric roof.
Construction begins to build a new Northern Baths from reinforced concrete. The Baths open in 1972.
The Society of Friends of Sopot is created.
1971 – 1975
A sanatorium and hotel buildings are built at Bitwy pod Płowcami street and university buildings at Armii Krajowej street.
The first issue of the ‘Sopot Yearbook” is published.
According to data from City Hall, Sopot reaches the largest number (54,500) of permanent residents in its history.
Sopot is recognised as an urban historic complex, thanks to which it is currently under the protection of state conservation services.
Martial Law is introduced across Poland which in Sopot results in the closure of the Forest Opera and the suspension of the Sopot Song Festival. The suspension lasts until 1983
The first free elections to the city council take place.
The Southern Baths are extended and transformed into a restaurant and hotel complex. A new city statute is adopted which includes guidelines on the design of the Sopot coat of arms and flag.
Lech Wałęsa is granted the title of Honorary Citizen of Sopot.
Drawing of mineral spring water from the St. Wojciech spring for medicinal purposes begins.
A monument to the fallen and murdered soldiers of the Polish Home Army (Armii Krajowej) is unveiled opposite the Faculty of Management building at the University of Gdansk on ul. Armii Krajowej.
Sopot is awarded the status of a spa.
Pope John Paul II celebrates holy mass on the Sopot Hippodrome for nearly 800,000 pilgrims.
Connection of the seaside cycling paths of Sopot and Gdansk.
Tina Turner performs a concert at the Sopot Hippodrome in front of nearly 60,000 fans.
Beginning of celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Sopot being granted civic rights. There are many events of all sizes during the celebrations. Many events which become regular features of the Sopot calendar are inaugurated at this time including the Festival of Bohaterów Monte Cassino; the CSIO show jumping event at the Hippodrome and the Festival of Polish Radio and Polish Television Theatre ‘Two Theatres’.
The “100 Elevations for the Centenary’ program begins which sees the city government co-finance the renovation of Sopot tenement houses residents’ associations.
The Museum of Sopot opens in Villa Claaszen, the former home of Ernst Claaszen, at Poniatowskiego street.
The Centennial Hall (Hala Stulecia) opens on ul. Goyki and becomes the home of local basketball team Trefl Sopot.
Czesław Miłosz, Izabela Sierakowska-Tomaszewska, Andrzej Dudziński, Elżbieta Duńska-Krzesińska and Seweryn Krajewski are all made honorary citizens of Sopot.
The 10th World Polonia Olympic Games are organised at various venues around Sopot.
A 13m tall copy of the famous Giewont cross, a gift from Sopot’s partner city of Zakopane, is installed at the Church of the Holy Spirit (kościele p.w. Ducha Świętego).
The Rezydent Hotel opens in the centre of the town. The hotel offers 64 rooms, a restaurant, a café and a spa.
There is a ceremony to open the impressive new Ergo Hestia headquarters in the city.
The legendary Spatif re-opens after 2 years of rebuilding.
The square where the Monument to the Soldiers of Home Army is located is named in honour of Danuta Siedzikowna, code name ‘Inka’, a nurse in the 5th Wilno Brigade of the Home Army, who was murdered by the communist secret services after the war.
Opening of the tunnel under Aleja Niepodległości at ul. Marynarzy.
Completion and opening of the Sopot Aquapark at Zamkowa Góra.
Installation of a webcam at the end of the Sopot pier pictures from which can be viewed at www.sopot.pl.
The Crooked House is built at Bohaterów Monte Cassino street and is today the most photographed building in Sopot.
The first Top Trendy Festival is organised at the Forest Opera.
The new 8,000m2 headquarters of the Sopot Sailing Club and Windsurfing Centre are opened.
The old footbridge at Kamienny Potok railway station is knocked down and replaced by a modern tunnel and new platform.
The Three Gracje residential and service development on Bohaterow Monte Cassino is completed.
The University of the Third Age opens in Sopot, the first of its kind in the Tri-city.
Opening of the Sopot hospice run by the Archdiocese of Gdansk charity.
Commissioning of a new housing development built by the city at Malczewskiego Street. 29 families receive keys to their new homes.
Prokom Trefl Sopot basketball team become Polish champions for the first time. They go on to win the title for Sopot for the next five years.
Sopot ranks first in the ‘Where is best to live’ category in Polityka weekly finishing ahead of Warsaw. The resort also triumphs in the ranking of Polish baths organised by the same weekly.
The monument to Jan Jerzy Haffner, the founder of the Sopot bathing resort, is unveiled.
Sopot mineral water is launched. A drinkable, diluted (1:15) stream of water begins flowing from the fountain located in front of the Balneological building.
A new Sopot logo is created.
The death of Pope John Paul II on April 2 sees a ‘white march’ organised in Sopot and the Hippodrome host an event which is attended by thousands of people. The City Council vote to rename the pier after Pope John Paul II.
The headline act of the Sopot Festival is Simply Red.
A new Sopot police station financed by the city is officially opened at Armii Krajowej Street.
The pier, the blue sea and a section of the beach appear on the 2.20zl postage stamp dedicated to Sopot is introduced into circulation by Poczta Polska.
The City Council establishes the names and boundaries of the districts of Sopot. From that moment, the resort is officially divided into Upper and Lower Sopot, Karlikowo, Świemirowo, Stawów, Brodwino and Kamienny Potok.
The St Benedict Centre for Local Entrepreneurship is opened at Aleja Niepodległości.
The famous Academy of St. Martin in the Field from London, conducted by Carlo Rizzi, play a concert at the Forest Opera to mark the 15th anniversary of the Hestia company.
Elton John headlines the 2006 Sopot Festival.
The Sopot-based company SMT Shipmanagment & Transport names its newest vessel after the city. The M/V Sopot transports iron ore on South American routes.
The Teaching and Training Centre of the University of Gdańsk opens at ul. Piaskowej.
Władysław Bartoszewski, the respected politician, writer, historian and survivor of Auschwitz is granted Honorary Citizenship of Sopot.
The covered market at ul. Polna is re-opened following modernisation.
The Polish Chamber Philharmonic Sopot celebrated its 25th anniversary with a year-long series of concerts with well-known soloists.
This year’s Sopot Festival at the Forest Opera sees a plethora of top 70s disco acts appearing including Gloria Gaynor, Sister Sledge, Village People and Kool & The Gang.
A new 800m² harbour complex is opened for Sopot fisherman.
The direct rail connection between Sopot with Zakopane is restored and the PKP Intercity train is named ‘Monciak-Krupówki’.
The tunnel which takes ul. Grunwaldzka under ul. Bohaterów Monte Cassino is officially opened.
Sopot receives the title of Local Government Management Leader for housing management for its program of repairing residential buildings from the Association of Polish Cities and Powiats.
The sculpture ’Two People with a Wardrobe’ by Paweł Althamer is unveiled near the pier on Sopot beach. The ceremony is attended film director Roman Polański who directed the film ‘The Wardrobe’ early in his career, to which the sculpture refers.
In the Northern Park, an obelisk commemorating Zbigniew Herbert is unveiled.
The number of cars registered in Sopot exceeds the number of residents by 3,000.
Sopot Guldens, commemorative coins referencing the currency used in the inter-war Free City, are minted to mark the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Forest Opera and the 50th anniversary of Polish rock and roll.
The Haffner Centre, the most important Sopot investment in the post-1990 period, is opened. Built between 2006 and 2009 the centre restores a part of the resort that had been destroyed during the war. The Centre includes the fourth incarnation of the Sopot Spa House; the new headquarters of the State Art Gallery; the Sheraton Hotel; a Multikino multiplex; a shopping arcade; parking, offices and a residential building.
The revitalized Northern Park is opened.
The Museum of Sopot received scans of Copco’s Bathing Gazette from 1897, 1900 and 1902, obtained from the Lviv National Library.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the Forest Opera, Richard Wagner’s ‘Golden Rhine’ is performed on the Forest Opera stage. In its early days the Forest Opera was famous for its Wagner festival.
Sopot hosts the prime minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, during events to mark the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. The Russian delegation takes over the entire Grand Hotel and the Mr. Putin meets with Polish prime minister Donald Tusk on the pier.
Archbishop of Gdansk, Tadeusz Gocłowski, became an Honorary Citizen of Sopot.
Multikino premieres a documentary dedicated to Sopot’s pre-war Polish community.
Electronic journals are introduced in all Sopot schools.
The ‘Orlik” sports ground featuring a football pitch and a volleyball and basketball court is opened in Brodwino.
Sopot acquires the volleyball players of Trefl Gdynia, who begin the new season under the name Trefl Sopot, and soon gain promotion to the volleyball Ekstraklasa where they take the name Atom Trefl Sopot.
75 new city apartments are built at al. Niepodległości and ul. Zacisze.
Sopot honours the victims of the Smolensk disaster by renaming a number of places in the city after some of the people killed. Part of the Southern Park is named after the presidential couple Lech and Maria Kaczyński; a square is named after local member of parliament Arkadiusz Rybicki while a roundabout is named after senator and also local man, Maciej Płażyński.
The renovated SKM Sopot Wyścigi station is re-opened.
The newly built Teatr Wybrzeze (Coastal Theatre) is officially opened on the site of the former ‘Bałtyk’ cinema
The brand new ERGO Arena opens with a volleyball match between Poland and Brazil.
The beautifully rebuilt SKM platform in Sopot is opened.
A salt-water pump room is opened on the top floor of the Spa House.
A picture by Józef Czapski, painted in the 1930s and showing the beach in Sopot, is added to the collection of the Museum of Sopot.
In the ‘Leśnik’ sanatorium, an artificial salt cave that uses the healing properties of salt is put into use.
The street next to Sopot’s open-air market is name in honour of Polish musician Krzysztof Klenczon, a friend of Sopot, who was tragically killed in Chicago in 1981 at the age of 39.
Ergo Arena is awarded the laureate in the ‘Polish Architecture 2010’ competition.in the category for the best sports facility.
The concerts organized in Ergo Arena featured: Sting, Erykah Badu, Pink Floyd, Chris Botti, Ozzy Osbourne, Rammstein and the revue “Disney on the ice”. The next Top Trendy festival was organized in Ergo Arena.
After being thoroughly rebuilt Plac Przyjaciół Sopotu (Friends of Sopot Square) is officially opened.
The marina at the pier, with room for over 100 yachts is officially opened.
Sopot is one of the host cities during the Polish presidency of the European Union and continues to be a popular meeting place for European diplomats.
In Ergo Arena, The finals of the World League volleyball tournament are played in the Ergo Arena. Poland takes third place.
A new multimedia and educational centre, Zatoki Sztuki (Bay of Art), used to organize exhibitions and educational workshops, is opened in the Northern Park next to the beach.
The most famous circus in the world, Cirque de Soleil, performs at Ergo Arena
The reborn Trefl Sopot basketball team wins the Polish Cup.
A new program about the resort – ‘Sopot Miasto Sztuki’ (Sopot the city of art) appears on TV Gdańsk.
The square at Ergo Arena was given the same name and listed in both Sopot and in Gdańsk – Plac Dwóch Miast (Two Cities Square). The name was chosen in a poll for residents of both cities.