The Swinoujscie Fortress - overview Print E-mail
The construction of fortifications at the mouth of the Świna started in the Middle Ages and continued practically without a break right up to the present day. This was because of Świnoujście's geographical location and its significance for trade, maritime economy and defence. Up to the beginning of the 17th century, makeshift defensive structures were erected here by the Pomeranian princes, later by the Danes and Swedes, and at the turn of the 18th and 19th century by the Prussians and French. Only in the 19th century, the Prussian army started the construction of a complex of permanent fortifications that turned Świnoujście into a fortress. The construction of Świnoujście's forts started after the first armed conflict with the Danes in 1849. In 1863, the town was officially proclaimed a maritime fortress. At the turn of the 19th and 20th century, the Świnoujście fortress included four extensive forts, armed with heavy coastal artillery and an ever-increasing number of concrete fortifications. The town came to house barracks and a permanent army garrison. During World War I, Świnoujście was a large base of the emperor's navy; no fighting took place here, however. Pursuant to the Treaty of Versailles, some of the fortifications were disarmed. In the interwar period and during World War II, the Świnoujście harbour was the largest Baltic base of the Kriegsmarine. When in 1945 Świnoujście was surrounded by Russian troops, the crew were evacuated west on ships. Some of the fortifications were destroyed then too. After the war, the work on the fortifications was carried out by Russians and Poles. The majority of old German structures were used for military purposes. The last defensive structures were built around Świnoujście in the 70s. Following the end of the "cold war", the local fortifications completely lost their significance and came to bear witness to history as well as provide a big tourist attraction.

Worth to be seen:

  • The Angel Fort - Its common name fort derives from the similarity to St. Angel's Castle in Rome, the ancient mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian which subsequently served as a papal residence.

  • The Western Fort - The construction of the fort started in 1856. Its main role was to protect and guard the harbour of Świnoujście, later was used as the school battery. IN 1937 fort was renamed "Henningsen" to commemorate Lieut. Henningsen who had served at the fort and died at Westerplatte. After the II World War occupied by the Red Army.

  • The Eastern Fort (Gerhard's Fort) - The most interesting and at the same time, the oldest fortification structure on Wolin Island. The name Gerhard's Fort is given in memory of a Prussian officer and an extinguished builder of fortification Gerhard Cornelius von Wallrave. The battery in cooperation with Western Fort guarded the roadstead of Świnoujście port. During the II World War it was used as auxiliary structure and storage facility.

  • The Fortification Trail - Marked and launched in 2005, includes the most interesting monuments of military architecture on the eastern bank of Świna. The 4 km walk because of its historic and educational character, realizes the formula of an educational trail.

Contact persons:

English, German:

Anna Prejzner

Tel/fax (+48) 91 321 56 23

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Tourist Information:

Iwona Kowalska-Wojtal,

Paweł Prejzner,

tel (+48) 91 322 49 99

fax (+48) 91 327 16 29

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