Stronghold Archæological Heritage Park

63 Haffnera St

Opening hours: winter: 9:00-17:00, summer: 10:00-18:00, closed on Mondays

Ticket prices: normal: 8 PLN (~ 1.78 EUR), reduced: 6 PLN (~ 1.33 EUR), free on Saturday, Tourist Card discount

Public transport: buses: 187 (Korty tenisowe), 122 (Plac Kusocińskiego)

The Stronghold in Sopot is a remnant of an early-medevial hill-fort. On the top of the conserved ground structure a contemporary reconstruction of medieval housing and fortification has been erected. An exhibition building was opened to public at the foot of the fortified hill in the 2013. Free parking area for coaches is available along a nearby street.

The stronghold was founded around the 8th century and was definitely destroyed in the second half of the 10th century. It is located on a hill, which in the medieval era bordered sea shore or coastal wetlands. The preserved fortifications line was formed on a contour similar to quadrangle, measuring roughly 45x49m. The fortification followed a natural line of hill edge and then had been complemented by a moat dug from the west. Archæologists discovered crafts, animal and freshwater fish bones, outlines of residential buildings (pithouses and dugouts) within the fortifications. No evidence of full-height huts has been found.

Objects on the fortified hill:

  • palisade with gate
  • potter’s hut with a workshop
  • forge with blacksmith’s workshop
  • warrior’s hut
  • residential cottage with fireplace, benches and bed
  • cattle sty

Exposition in the exhibition building:

  • permanent exhibition “The oldest history of Sopot”
  • the history of the Southern Baltic Sea area

The first archæological study of the hill-fort started in 1885. The subsequent excavations took place in the 30s and 60s of the 20th century. The moat was studied in the 90s, and a neighboring hill in the first decade of the 21st century. The study showed two phases of the settlement on the hill: an unfortified village from 8th to 9th century; a fortified hill from the mid-9th to the end of the 10th century. In the second phase, it was burned twice. For the third time it was burnt in the period when the Piasts’ fort was established in Gdańsk. No traces of subsequent settlements were discovered.

The hill is surrounded by deep ravines on three sides. From the fourth side (western), the defensive ring was artificially closed by the dug moat. On the other three sides ground ramparts were constructed around the 9th century. They were fortified with stones and topped with a stockade. However no fortifications have been revealed on top of the steep slope from the sea. Only ruins of huts were excavated on the incline of this slope. A landslide may have caused them to collapse and slide down-hill. In the interior of the fort there were seven buildings forming a circular line. Five of them have been reconstructed in a form of stylized huts. The discovered artifacts contained locally produced amber beads, iron and bones. Glass beads were probably imported. The large number of animal bones and fish remains prove developed fishery and farming. Among the bones, some of them belonged to a seal living in the waters of the sea.

The neighboring hill on the west side was used as an industrial backyard. It could be used for animal grazing and metal smelting.