culture in Poznań



Mysterious and Unknown

The 8th Poznań Fortress Days will be held on the last weekend of the summer holiday. Now is the time for the buffs of dark passages and shadowy places to clear their schedules and get their torches ready.

The picture presents a child in a gas-mask and a helmet. Wooden open chests in the background. - grafika artykułu
The ul. Babimojska fallout shelter, photo: Sławek Wąchała

Many people do not realise that unusual, fascinating and largely undiscovered places lurk only a stone's throw away from their homes. That precisely is the case with the forts of the Poznań Fortress, an unexplored mystery for many locals. The upcoming Poznań Fortress Days offers a unique opportunity to finally get to know them. The intention behind the event is to open the majority of the fortress facilities to the public to get people to learn about historic military architecture and especially about forts and bomb shelters. Therefore, on the last weekend of the holiday season, do not miss your chance to take your family for a walk if not a micro-expedition to finally learn about what is behind that steel door in your housing estate or nearby park.

Poznań is surrounded by a ring of 18 huge (main and intermediate) forts. Its Citadel Park with the remains of Fort Winiary, which was dismantled after World War II, towers over the city. Two museums in the Citadel (the Poznań Army Museum and the Armaments Museum) are housed in historic fort facilities. The former is located in the casemates of so-called Small Lock while the latter can be found in a former gun powder laboratory. But that is not all. Many of the town's neighbourhoods are the site of a variety of bomb shelters dating back to various historical periods. The majority of them have been built by the Prussians in the 19th and early 20th centuries. A handful of others come from later periods. Some of those were built by the Poles during the Interwar Period, others by the Germans during the World War II occupation. Some are in the care of associations of fortification lovers and have been adapted for tourist access.

Despite Covid-19 restrictions, fort and bunker administrators chose to open them to the public on Poznań Fortress Days. However, the number of attractions to be offered in the facilities will be reduced from previous years. Do not expect to see spectacular battle re-enactments, military shows or drills. Prepare to tour the places in small groups, use hand sanitiser and wear a face mask. As the event's programme is still in preparation, the details, including the list of the facilities to be opened, will not be revealed until late August. Check the event's website not to arrive at a locked gate. According to the organisers, access will be offered to Fort Ia, Fort IVa, Fort Va, Fort VI, Fort VIIa, the ul. Babimojska fallout shelter, the Wilson Park shelter near the Conservatory, the air-raid shelter on ul. Kościelna and the Citadel museums. In mid-August, posters and leaflets will be released with a detailed event programme, site maps and directions.

Szymon Mazur

translation: Krzysztof Kotkowski

8th Poznań Fortress Days

29-30 August

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© Wydawnictwo Miejskie Posnania 2020