MODLIN FORTRESS

Modlin FortressThe Modlin Fortress is one of the largest and best preserved fortresses, not only in Poland but all over Europe. It is located about 30 km north-west from Warsaw. It stands among dense forests and sandy islands at the meeting point of two rivers: the Narew and the Vistula. The stronghold is a witness to a turbulent history and a monument of international defensive architecture. It housed the armies of four countries: France, Russia, Germany and Poland. At 2250 metres in length and an elongated hexagon shape Citadel of the Modlin Fortress is the longest building in Europe. It included about 800 rooms which could accommodate up to 20,000 men. There are also numerous underground bunkers and a jail which could hold 700 prisoners. No successful escapes were recorded. The best place to admire all the magnificence and greatness of the fortress is the Tatar Tower top terrace.

The location near the rivers had powerful defensive qualities. The king of Sweden Carl Gustav was the first who discovered that fact. In 1655 he established the military camp there. From that moment the long and complicated history has begun.
In 1806 Napoleon Bonaparte decided to erect the fortress in Modlin. As the legend says, he designed the Redoubt by himself. In 1813, after his crushing defeat, Modlin became the Kingdom of Poland’s property. It was a base for the insurgent forces during November Uprising in 1830. However, one year later the Russian troops took it over. Then the name was changed into Novogeorgievsk. During the years 1832 – 1864 enormous complex of barracks (2250 meters) was erected by soldiers, prisoners and local peasants. Later it was surrounded by two rings of forts. The casemates were used to store weapons and as a prison. During the First World War, after ten days of intense fighting, in August 1915 the fortress was captured by the Germans. The Polish Army regained the control over Modlin in December 1918. During interwar period the stronghold served as an important garrison, supply depot for the troops and a training area. It also housed military colleges. In case of armed conflict in the future new fortifications were built and the existing ones were modernized. Unfortunately, it did not last long when the fortress got under the German rule again. During the Second World War, Polish soldiers were fighting there valiantly for 18 days. However, on September 29, 1939 the Modlin Fortress surrendered. In one of the forts the Germans arranged a concentration camp in which about 20,000 people were murdered. Later, in 1945 the stronghold was liberated by the Soviet troops. Soon after it returned to the authority of the Polish Army.

Nowadays, many defensive fortifications have been abandoned. Numerous objects were leased for recreational purposes. Some structures were used as a film set in Polish movies. The fort hosts a variety of events, such as military vehicles rallies or re-enactments of famous battles.
At the end of sightseeing visitors can rest in the restaurant founded in one of the tsarist tenements and admire the astounding view of the Vistula and the Narew.

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