Scenes of battle has always been one of the favorite themes used by painters all over the world – and the case of battle of Oliwa (also known as battle at Gdansk’s Harbour) was no different. It was said later about the battle that sun went down at noon, but contrary to the appearances, the sentence has nothing to do with the eclipse.
The fight with Swedish fleet has made its way into the polish history as one of the major victories – mainly because of the value of image and symbolism it carried. Defeating one of the best fleets swimming on Baltic Sea was quite a challenge and Poles took care of making this news popular across Europe and within the kingdom. Without any clear reason the battle was named the battle of Oliwa (even though both sides of conflict called it battle at Gdansk’s Harbour), and symbolic meaning and respectful flavor was added to the victory with a sentence “sun went down upon Gdansk’s Bay at noon”. The expression is a fancy description of Swedish galleon Solen, which name in scandinavian’s language is translated as “sun”. The ship was blown out on purpose by the owners so it couldn’t be overtaken by polish sailors.
The wreck of Solen was extracted in 1969 during the construction of Northern Dock in Gdansk. It rested at the depth of 16 meters, and archeologists who were studying the sunken ship discovered 20 brazen cannons, astronomical tools used for navigation, weapons and personal items of the crew. Some of those are currently part of exhibition in Sea Museum in Gdańsk, and the wreck itself ended up in Orłów, a Gdanks district, few kilometers from the original place of rest.
How it feels – to win a battle against the jewel of Swedish fleet? You can discover it in the HistoryLand when you grab the wheel during the battle of Oliwa and become for a moment a sea wolves yourself! Plan your visit in the HistoryLand right now!