The Artus Court is one of the most spectacular of all the buildings along the Long Market. In its immediate vicinity, there is the Main Town Hall, the Neptune Fountain, and also the Green Gate.
Its façade is decorated with statues of Greek and Roman generals, Jewish king Judah Maccabee and Polish King Sigismund III Vasa, which, combined with its beautiful doors and tall windows, makes the Court one of the finest in Europe.
The name of the Artus Court comes from the legend of King Arthur. Initially, the courts were erected only in England, but later spread also to German countries. They served as a meeting place of rich merchants, patricians and craftsmen, who discussed their business there.
The Artus Court in Gdańsk was first mentioned in the 14th century. It was founded by the Fraternity of Saint George, whose members were knights from rich German families. The Court was the main meeting place – at first of knights, but later of the most prominent people in the town. It was also the focal point of social life in contemporary Gdańsk.
The building burned down in 1477. However, due to its importance to the town, funds were raised for several years, allowing for the rebuilding of the Court in the form it still has today. Over time, its elitist nature diminished and prominent people were replaced by merchants, at whose instigation, in October 1742, the Court was turned into a stock exchange.
In 1945, the Court was destroyed by the Red Army. Later, it was rebuilt and opened for visitors. In 1967, the Court was added to the list of historical sites and monuments. Currently, it occupies the ground floor of two combined tenement houses known as the Old Bench House, the Artus Court, and the New Bench House. It houses a branch of the Historical Museum of Gdańsk, and its visitors may admire, among others, an eleven-meter-high furnace as well as Gothic wood panelling and friezes.
An interesting fact connected with the Artus Court is the so-called “Lady from the window”, i.e. the figure of a young woman who appears in the top window of the New Bench House every day at 1:00 p.m. It is the fictional figure of a young female inhabitant of Gdańsk.