Srebrna Góra Fortress

Srebrna Góra, Poland

Srebrna Góra Fortress was constructed in 1765–1777 when the territory was part of the Kingdom of Prussia. The fort is one of Poland's official national Historic Monuments and has been declared a rare example of a surviving European 18th century mountain stronghold.

The fortress in Srebrna Góra was built by the order of Frederick II, the King of Prussia. It was designed by Prussian architect Ludwig Wilhelm Regeler, aided by a number of Prussian military engineers. Minor additional works took place in the following years, but no major alterations were made; construction of a nearby flanked fort was begun but was quickly abandoned. The complex is composed of six forts, several bastions, and associated elements. The main fort of the complex is the central Donżon Fort on the Warowna Góra hill.

The complex is located on the heights of the Sudety Mountains, a body which forms a natural border between the Kłodzko Valley and the Silesian Lowlands. It controls the passage through the Silver Valley (Przełęcz Srebrna or Silberbergpass). The fort could shelter a garrison of 4000 soldiers, supplied to survive a year-long siege. It was defended by 264 artillery pieces. The fortress was intended to guard a route linking Prussian territories with Bohemian lands in the south, and thus help repel any possible incursions from Austria.

The fortress was never captured by the enemy while besieged. On 28 June 1807 it successfully resisted a siege by Napoleonic forces during the War of the Fourth Coalition; this was the only time the fortress was the site of an active battle. By 1860 it was declared obsolete and the garrison reduced in size; it was abandoned as an active military stronghold in 1867. The fortress has survived till modern day with relatively little modernization or damage, contributing to its valuable status as a historical monument of its era. It served as a military training grounds, and by the end of the 19th century was already a tourist attraction, with a restaurant opened in the fort by 1885.

During World War II the fortress was used as a prison for Polish officers imprisoned by the Germans. In 1973 a military museum was opened in the Fort.

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Details

Founded: 1765–1777
Category: Castles and fortifications in Poland

More Information

en.wikipedia.org
forty.pl

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ruben Pereira (2 years ago)
Very nice tour around the whole complex, with very detailed information and passing by all the nooks and crannies. The only minus is that there are no tours in English.
Fabio Stawinski (2 years ago)
It was great, interesting visit, but I visited with a guide speaking Polish only, then I had help from friends to understand. Not sure if there are guides speaking English.
Michael P (3 years ago)
Fun little historical fortress, I would take the paid tour simply for the firing of the old musket. The shockwave is truly incredible and worth experiencing to understand how miserable it must have been for soldiers at the fort during wartime operation. The restaurant below served pretty good food, and the bathroom facilities were quite clean!
Łukasz Grabarkiewicz (3 years ago)
Great stuff. Shooting range is a great addition to guided sightseeing tour.
Bartek Wojcicki (3 years ago)
Beautiful spot, great views of the mountains and valley especially in a good sunny weather. Under renovation at the moment so soon the experience may be even better. No disruption to visitors though.
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Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.

Architecture

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.