The architectural heritage and the mode of its analysis and interpretation, specially in the perspective of national and regional question, can and often becomes the issue prone to manipulation. The attempts to define national and regional identity by means of cultural legacy have been accompanying the research into art and also the creation of modern architecture in the spirit of national Historicism already since the 19th century. The architecture of Gdansk has for years been the subject of a heated debate of both German and Polish architects, historians of architecture, and conservators. In the recent years also politicians have joined in the debate, and so have writers. The paper analyses the issue of the relation of architectural forms and rhetorical formulas, namely the combination of architecture and specific contents treated as signs of local identity, as well as changeability and interpretational flexibility of those issues with regard to the needs of political circumstances (idioms versus interpretational variants, stereotypes, research myths, likings versus scholarly idiosyncrasies). Special attention will be paid to the Gdansk architecture of the 2nd half of the 19th century and its contemporary and later interpretations in the perspective of regional and national identification.