The exact origins of Oliwa's delightful 10-hectare park are lost to time, but what is known is that Oliwa's last Cistercian abbot, Jacek Rybiński (1701-1782) had the gardener Kazimierz Dębiński originate the beginnings of its contemporary appearance by designing a French Rococo part of the garden, still in existence today in the south of the park. After Rybiński's death a family by the name of Hohenzollern-Hechingen took over the park, introducing even more grand designs, and over the years, and in the hands of several different people, Oliwa Park gradually took on its modern look, with the addition of a Chinese garden, English touches, a botanical gardens and palm house.


Today's park is a hugely popular place for people to come and relax, picnic and enjoy the many sights it has on offer. A fun attraction are the so-called Whispering Caves (aka. Dionysus' Ears) to the southeast of the Pałac Opatów. Assuming that nobody has relieved themselves here for a while, it's possible for two people to stand in each 'ear' and have a conversation in the quietest of whispers. Note that the Palm House is currently being rebuilt and will re-open in 2019.


The Abbot's palace is a spectacular building, whose splendour reflects the wealth brought into the region from the Gdansk Watershed, and the Mills built along the Oliwa Stream. The 'palace' looks more like a house for royalty than for the Cistercian Monks who dwelt here for centuries; but the nearby Cathedral and other religous artefacts testify to their presence. Today the Abbot's Palace is the home of a modern Art Museum and displays the best work from the region, as well as some pieces by well-known foreign painters... Like Picasso! There is also a separate wing where emerging artists from all across Pomerania can exhibit their latest wares.


http://www.parkoliwski.gdansk.pl/chapter_76486.asp