A weekend in the forts

The last holiday weekend of the summer is a major celebration for Poznań's fortification buffs. All sorts of military facilities will made available to the public morning to evening.

Photo of a fragment of the fort's wall. - grafika artykułu
Poznań Fortress Days - Fort III, photograph: Poznań Tourism Organisation

Fortress Days rank among Poznań's most popular outdoor events. Every year, they draw a crowd of 6,000-8,000 people. A growing number of these visitors come from other parts of Poland and abroad. The idea behind the event has always been simple: to place on view the fortifications of the former Poznań Fortress. Evidence to demonstrate that Poznań has a great deal to show lies in the sheer number of the participating facilities, as illustrated on the event map which this year holds some 20 pins.

The biggest crowd draw are the forts. These massive defensive facilities are located in Poznań's suburbs. Surrounded by deep moats, they house dozens of rooms, corridors and secret nooks and crannies. This year's Fortress Days will offer the public access to Fort IIa in os. Czecha in the Rataje district, Fort III in the New Zoo, Fort Va in the Piątkowo district, Fort VI on ul. Dojazd, the recently renovated Fort VII at al. Polska in the Grunwald district that houses the Wielkopolska Martyrdom Museum, and many others.

Access will also be granted to various air raid shelters, among them those on ul. Kościelna 50 and ul. Jackowskiego 5-7 in the Jeżyce district, the civil defence shelter on ul. Babimojska 9 and two Łazarz district bunkers: one in Wilson Park and the other in the cellars of the Radio Poznań building on ul. Berwińskiego 5. The latter is the family bomb shelter of Arthur Greiser, the Third Reich's Governor of the region of Wielkopolska.

Trained guides, many of them in period uniforms, will show the visitors around. A number of the facilities will offer accompanying events such as exhibitions, shows, and weapon and military equipment presentations. "In addition to the permanent exhibition and the cellars, we will display historic machines and equipment, hold field hospital stagings, offer refreshments in a 1940s-style café and present the Italian military campaign of 1944. Laser, airsoft gun, airgun and archery shooting ranges will also be open", says Marcin Walkowiak of Fort VI.

"One of the attractions we have prepared is a presentation of the Hotchkiss-Gruson 37 mm revolving cannon that was once in service in the fort", says Krzysztof Kłoskowski of the Fort Va Association. "For the first time ever, the public will get to see the Prussian infantry shelter on ul. Obornicka near Obornicka Roundabout.

This year's Fortress Days will also engage those of Poznań's museums that are located in the fortifications. Their main sites include the wonderfully restored Fort VII of the Wielkopolska Museum of Independence, the Genius loci Reserve on Cathedral Island belonging to the Archaeological Museum and Cathedral Lock of Porta Posnania. Admission to some of them will be free, while others require a charge or are available by appointment only. Before you venture into the forts, make sure to pick up a copy of the map brochure that will be available at tourist information offices and, needless to say, in the participating facilities themselves.

Szymon Mazur

translation: Krzysztof Kotkowski

10th Poznań Fortress Days

27-28 August

For more, see: www.dnitwierdzypoznan.pl

© Wydawnictwo Miejskie Posnania 2022

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