Poznan

Citadel Park

05 Oct 2017

When Nazi Germany occupied Poland in 1939 the fort returned to its role as a POW camp (British, Russian and Polish soldiers ended up here) until it was thrust into the history books as the final Nazi stronghold during the Battle of Poznań in 1945, finally captured by the Soviets on February 23, 1945.

After the war, the ravaged and obsolete fort was largely dismantled, contributing its bricks to help rebuild local housing estates and decimated cities like Warsaw. Yet plenty of the fort still remains, and those intrepid enough to wander off the park’s paths will be rewarded with a close-up look at history (this is where a guide comes in handy, as ours pointed out locations of strategic Russian movements, how the fort was breached, and even the charred bricks where a group of the last German soldiers evidently met their end). Under communism, the fort and surrounding area were given a new strategic purpose when Winiary Hill was turned into the chummy ‘Monument Park of Polish-Russian Friendship and Brotherhood’ in 1962, and a Russian cemetery and Red Army memorial soon found a home here. Re-dubbed ‘Citadel Hall’ in 1992 after the regime finally fell, today visitors will find this former military stronghold is home to art installations, monuments, several museums, cemeteries and large outdoor events. There are few better ways to spend an afternoon in Poznań than exploring all there is to see and do in the city’s largest park.

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