Dwór Artusa – Gdańsk, Poland - Atlas Obscura

Gdańsk, Poland

Dwór Artusa

A merchant court dedicated to the fictitious King Arthur is heavily adorned with bizarre Renaissance art. 

Dwór Artusa, or Artus Court, began as a meeting place in the late-medieval era. The building in the center of Gdańsk was the first court of its kind dedicated to the fictitious King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

At the court, wealthy merchants gathered to have drinks and discuss anything but deals (it was forbidden), and enjoy performances from musicians and jugglers, and sometimes days-long feasts. In its heyday the hub was referred to as the most expensive pub on the Baltic Sea.

The original building was finished in 1350. It burned down about a century later but was rebuilt, and around 1531 was redecorated, adorned with the audacious furniture, ship models, and paintings of historical and mythological characters that still occupy the space today.

The centerpiece of its large hall is a 35-foot tall Renaissance tiled stove from 1546. It’s made of over 500 tiles all individually decorated with effigies of kings and allegorical characters. A pewter table next to the stove is said to be the oldest one in Poland.

Artus Court was damaged in 1945, during the East Pomeranian Offensive of the Red Army, but it was rebuilt using old photographs and historical records after World War II, and placed in the register of monuments in 1967.

The court is now a department of the Gdańsk History Museum. It’s still used for meetings.