The first historical information about the town comes from the "Vita Sancti Adalberti" written in 997 r. Archaeological
dicoveries confirm that the stronghold and town of Gdansk contained a series of individual urban components which later became distinct districts within which there are valuable examples of urban, sacral and defensive architecture. These include the Main Town (Glowne Miasto), Old Town (Stare Miasto), the Lower Town (Dolne Miasto), the Old Suburbs (Stare Prdedmiejscie), Granary Island (Wyspa Spichrzow), Olowianka, Long Gardens (Dlugie Ogrody), Bishpop's Hill (Biskupia Gorka) and Grodzisko.
The historical heart of the city is formed by the Main Town and the Royal Route (between the High Gate and Green Gate) by which are sited the most valuable examples of municipal architecture: the Town Hall of the Main Town, Arthur's Court, the Court of the Brotherhood of St.George, the Arsenal and burghers houses. In the Main town there are also to be seen examples of richly decorated medieval sacral architecture: the churches of the Holy Virgin, St John, St Nicholas, as well as many towers and gates of the medieval fortifications.
In the area of the Old town are situated medieval churches (St Catherine, St Bridget, St Bartholemew, St Jacob, St Joseph, St Elizabeth), as well as the renaissance Town Hall. In the Lower Town the seventeenth century fortifications have retained their primary form with redoubts and earthen ramparts defending the town from the east, while on the west there are redoubts on the Bishop's and Grodziska Hills.