Citadel Park

22 Jun 2018

Just north of Poznań’s Old Town sits Winiary Hill and 89 hectares of picture-perfect green space known as Citadel Park. Much like any coveted location in Poland, this scenic overlook has a long history that involves multiple name changes, military battles and even some old-fashioned mystery. For visitors, the park offers not only beautiful promenades and leafy city escapes, but also a plethora of monuments, museums and historical tales.

The hill itself didn’t become notable until Prussia took over Poland in 1793 and Poznań suddenly found itself in a strategic location on the Prussian-Russian border, less than 300km from Berlin. A fort seemed in order, and design responsibilities were given over to the exasperatingly-named General Carl Wilhelm Georg von Grolman. Work began in 1828 after moving two villages - Winiary and Bonin - to make room, and continued over the next decade. The result was an impressive polygonal brick fortress with 1.3-1.8 metre-thick walls, observation towers, artillery decks and even a moat, making it the central element of the city’s defences.

Despite the efforts that went into the construction, and seemingly opportune wars with Denmark, Austria and France, the fort saw little military action, instead serving as a military prison throughout the 19th century. By the time WWI arrived, the fort was too outdated for modern warfare and played no role until it was captured by insurgents during the Wielkopolska Uprising in 1918, after which it was home to Polish army units throughout the inter-war years.

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