When I first came to Gdansk a few years ago, this shopping centre wasn’t even under construction. When I last came to Gdansk in 2018, it had just opened and it has clearly transformed this part of the city and it also confused me as I hadn’t expected it to be there, so I thought I was lost. On this visit, the shopping centre isn’t just open, but water is now running through it.
It’s been a little bit of a local issue, as the building owners wanted to have two channels located on top of each other. I’m not a canal expert, but they wanted to not always have water running through if it was too high, as that might make their shopping centre not smell quite right. I don’t understand the whole thing, although I know a civil engineer who might, but that’s why it took a couple of years for it to get resolved.
The water isn’t just a feature like some shopping centres such as the Venetian in Las Vegas, it’s an actual canal which goes through the centre. For various technical reasons, the water couldn’t flow through until November 2019 and I like the whole effect that it has had to the character of the building. It’s the Radunia Canal, which was originally constructed by the Teutonic Knights between 1348 and 1356. Initially this shopping centre was going to be called the Forum Radunia, but it was changed during the construction to its current name of Forum Gdansk.
As an aside, this is an impressive shopping centre and it is of some considerable size. What I also like is that they’ve filled the units up with shops, unlike the Castle Mall in Norwich (now known as the Castle Quarter, with the local joke that it’s named this as only 25% of the units are in use) in Norwich where there has been such a mass retail exodus that they’ve been filling up units with random rubbish.