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.

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Address

plac Gwardii, Warsaw, Poland
See all sites in Warsaw

Details

Founded: 1834
Category: Castles and fortifications in Poland

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Hagbard Celine (20 months ago)
Twierdza o unikalnym zamyśle mająca chronić wojska i władze okupacyjne (Carskie) przed zbuntowaną ludnością cywilną. Przydała się obu okupantom w 1944. Desant likwidacyjny 6 pułku piechoty. Pod 'przynaglającym' ogniem sowieckich CKM-ów. Pontonami, z pepeszkami szturmuj dawną carską twierdzę obsadzoną dziś Niemcami.... Oto los Polaka chcącego wbrew woli Sowieckiego dowództwa iść na pomoc Powstaniu Warszawskiemu. Szczególny smutek budzi to we mnie. Dawnym uczniu nieistniejącej już 176 SP im 6 Pułku Puechoty.
Yevgeniia Aliluienko (2 years ago)
Worth visiting, but need to check working hours of the museum before going. Website with actual information is available.
elo him (2 years ago)
Nice place :)
Tomasz Olecki (2 years ago)
Cool place to spend time with family.
Alexander (3 years ago)
First of all, this is just a park. When I found this place on the internet, I thought it was going to see some spectacular ruins but that is not the case. While you can see building made of bricks, there nothing really special to see. I did like the park and the few buildings but it was not what I expected based on the internet suggestions
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