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[ first records of Sopot | beginning of Sopot | nineteenth century Sopot | Sopot before Second World War | Postwar Sopot ]
[ Sopot medieval castle | museum of Sopot | monuments | architecture | modern Sopot ]
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[ Sopot Wyscigi | Sopot Karlikowo | Sopot Kamienny Potok | Sopot Brodwino | Upper Sopot | Downtown | Map of Sopot ]
[ Sopot festival | New Year concert | choral festival | festival of theater, radio and television | jazz festival ]
On March 14, 1945 Russian forces, which belonged to the Second Belarus Front launched their final attack on German forces defending the Gdansk - Gdynia region. The Attack of the 49th and 70th army, which belonged to the Second Belarus Front, was directed at Sopot, which due to the foresight of Russian commanders was only defended by weak German forces and lead to the separation of forces defending Gdynia and Gdansk . On the outskirts of Sopot the 73rd German infantry division was situated in the forest, supported by navy guns from ships in Gdansk Gulf . On March 19, 1945, the order was given to evacuate the city, although there was no place to evacuate except a few ships, which were able to take only a limited number of German refugees. Some of these ships were sunk by Russian planes with a heavy loss of lives. The ring around Gdansk - Gdynia , despite heavy resistance from Germans, was made tighter.
On March 21, 1945 Russian forces took Wielki Kack and pushed towards the German forces defending Sopot from the west. During the early morning hours, about 6 AM on March 23, 1945, the first Russians entered the town and reached the beach. After brief but intensive street battles, the Germans moved to Gdansk . The German resistance in Sopot was not strong, and due to a smaller force the city did not sustain much damage, with only 10% of its building being destroyed. The casino, and the hotels Werninghoffa and Metropol were destroyed. Gdansk , which was defended heavily, sustained more damage to over 80% of the city. For the citizens it was beginning of a new era. Many buildings like the famous spa house were never rebuilt, although during that time a lot was done in the city. It took almost 60 years, when finally in 2008 the spa house was rebuilt, together with a new shopping centre, hotel, gallery, cafes and cinemas. Four pictures on this page present downtown after 1945 and before 2006, when all was demolished to make place for new construction. You can see some of the most popular places in Sopot during that time, like the disco club Fantom and Tip Top, which were replaced by new buildings.
A new era began with the end of the war. Immediately following the war, the provincial administration had its quarters in Sopot, although Gdansk was the capitol of the Gdansk Province , but because of the damage it sustained, with over 80% of buildings laying in ruin, it was impossible for local authorities to move there. Although there is much debate that during the communist era not enough was done, it is not true. The objectives were a little different, and the new authority looked at the matters in a different way. The truth is that a lot was done in the fields of culture, music and fine arts. University and schools were established. The Fine Arts Faculty, School of Music , Faculty of Sea Trade and later the Faculty of Economy at the University, were the new foundations in the development of Sopot. Many famous intellectuals and scientists came from Sopot, not to mention the current premier Donald Tusk, who lives in Sopot. Being a center of provincial government and a center many schools including a university, with the creation of intellectual and scientific centers, Sopot was a significant step and making it a very important place in the country.
A new generation of artists came from Sopot, and for that reason Sopot was considered a strong cultural center. Many intellectuals and professors were not favoured by the new communist government and were systematically removed from their posts and replaced by those who sympathized with the Communists. These were the times when independent voices were silenced and replaced with those who were in line with the new ideology. During that time, new suburbs were built, as well as six new public schools and many public buildings. Trying to keep with its old tradition, the Sopot Festival took off for the first time after the war in 1961. After 1989, when communism was eventually abolished and the communist party lost control the newly elected city council, together with the new mayor they took a different look at the town. It was decided that transforming the town to look like it was before the war, into a health and tourist resort, was a step in the right direction.