Warsaw Citadel

Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw Citadel was built by personal order of Tsar Nicholas I after the 1830 November Uprising. Its chief architect, Major General Johan Jakob von Daehn (Ivan Dehn), used the plan of the citadel in Antwerp as the basis for his own plan (the same that was demolished by the French later that year).

The fortress is a pentagon-shaped brick structure with high outer walls, enclosing an area of 36 hectares. Its construction required the demolition of 76 residential buildings and the forcible resettlement of 15,000 inhabitants.

Work on it commenced May 31, 1832, on the site of a demolished monastery and of the estate of Fawory. Officially it ended May 4, 1834, to mark the 18th birthday of Russian Crown Prince Alexander, for whom it was named. In reality, however, the fortress was not completed until 1874.

In peacetime, some 5,000 Russian troops were stationed there. During the 1863 January Uprising, the garrison was reinforced to over 16,000. By 1863 the fortress housed 555 artillery pieces of various calibers, and could cover most of the city center with artillery fire.

About the fortress, 104 prison casemates were built, providing cells for 2,940, mostly political, prisoners. Most notably, is included the Tenth Pavilion. It has, since 1963, served as a museum.

Well before the turn of the 20th century, it was apparent that such traditional fortifications had been made obsolete by modern rifled artillery. The Tsarist authorities had planned in 1913 to raze the fortress, but the process had not begun before the outbreak of World War I. In 1915 Warsaw was occupied by German forces with little opposition from the Russian garrison, which abandoned the fortress and withdrew east. The Germans blew up several of its structures, but the main part of the Citadel remained intact and German forces performed a mass execution of 42 people in 1916.

After Poland regained her independence in 1918, the Citadel was taken over by the Polish Army. It was used as a garrison, infantry training center, and depot for materiel. During the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, Citadel's German garrison prevented linking between the city center and the northern Żoliborz district. The fortress survived the war and in 1945 became again Polish Army property.

References:

Comments

Your name



Address

plac Gwardii, Warsaw, Poland
See all sites in Warsaw

Details

Founded: 1834
Category: Castles and fortifications in Poland

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Pawel Krzysztof Matlawski (4 months ago)
Walk with my pet
Dobry Człowiek (6 months ago)
Cool
Yeyoung Sohn (2 years ago)
Nice place for a walk!
Yeyoung Sohn (2 years ago)
Nice place for a walk!
Bogumil M (2 years ago)
Great place for a walk.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.