Gerhard's Fort - a museum that moves back to old times

2016-05-06
Gerhard's Fort - a museum that moves back to old times

Another weekend ahead of you and you don't know what to do? Apparently you can go somewhere, but there is always no idea where - sea, lake, mountains ... Ultimately, your plans end up with a barbecue on the plot or a trip to the shopping center, and that's not what life is all about. You have to want more - to get to know, to gain and to have fun. I don't doubt that the shopping center provides entertainment, but what would you do if I told you that you could travel back in time, and after a few hours of an unforgettable trip you will be appointed to the first historical military rank, and you will forever become a regiment reservist? Interested?

North of Poland - Gerhard's Fort - one of the few places where uniformed guides who are sentries, sergeants or officers take you into a completely different world. Visitors can feel the military atmosphere of past events on their own skin. Architectural details from the turn of the 19th and 20th century reflect the character and style of those years. What's more, a Prussian General is in the seaside fortress until today, and the soldiers are practicing in the square ... There is also a minefield and a rope suspended over the moat - all this to make you feel like a real soldier from the war period. For true military enthusiasts, there is the Coastal Defense Museum on the fort's grounds, and less than 5 km away the Underground City on the Wolin Island, but we'll talk about that in a moment.

And how did it all start?

Gerhard's Fort, also known as the Eastern Fort, was built in the years 1848 to 1859 and together with the remaining 3 powerful fortresses (Fort Angel, Fort West - Redoubt, Port Fortress [completely destroyed in 1976]) was a modern model of fortification. Its name (Gerhard's Fort) commemorates the seventeenth-century designer of Prussian fortresses - Gerhard Cornelius de Walrawe, who prepared the first plans for the port in Świnoujście. After 1963, when the Soviet Army left the fortress, the area became a garbage dump. It wasn't until 2001 that a private person rented the area and decided to create a project related to the so-called living history. Huge passion and commitment meant that Fort Wschodni was removed from rubble, and tourists began to come to it in larger and larger groups. But what made so many people, including me, decide to come to this fortress? Nothing but a form of sightseeing.

Actually, I should not use the word sightseeing here, because it was sooner a small military training with an unconventional form of passing on history. The combination of adventure in the form of Trials of Darkness and Courage and Drill in the main square provided unforgettable emotions. Situational jokes of guides about tearing up in the minefield, or a playful ban on the use of cell phones and a flashlight in a war powder magazine. These emotions are so pleasant that one really wants to leave the phone in the damn and enjoy the fact that he can feel like in a war, only with a slightly higher level of security - although I will say that the shots were fired.

As I mentioned earlier, the Coastal Defense Museum was created within the fort - exhibitions include not only items from the beginning of the 19th century, but also those from the 1960s. Particular attention is drawn to items related to the history of coastal defense and the development of fortifications. Among the collections you will definitely see a broadcasting station, various types of anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns, sea cannons, small arms and ammunition, among them, e.g. the "Nowopruski" rifle, the Soviet "Pepeszka" or the 8.8 cm SK C / 35 cannon. Particularly noteworthy are the artillery stands positioned in the area and the S60 gun that can be accessed. Do you understand that? Go to the museum exhibit - turn around, see how it all works and feel like a real soldier. A propos soldiers and their lives in the war - in the Museum you'll see an impressive collection of photos, documents and uniforms of the Prussian and German army from the period since 1840. World War II. There will also be something for people with a romantic nature. It is known that at every war a love thread must appear and this museum does not lack it - in a special case there is an amazing collection of letters, cards and drawings sent between the soldier and his loved ones. Of course, one of the most important elements of each army, i.e. the field kitchen, could not be missing - a field kitchen of the type wz. 1909 (1916). Speaking of vehicles, if you still have the strength to walk a little over 4 km, I suggest you go to Wolin Island.

The Underground City, because we are talking about it here, is a place that hides many war riddles and secrets inside. Powerful shelters connected by a network of underground corridors provide a nice dose of history and hours of fun. History shows that the Underground City was one of the best kept secrets during the Cold War ... We don't want to reveal everything to you, so be sure to visit Gerhard's Fort to find out the explanation for this secret.

For us, a visit to the fort is just the beginning - once a month on our map we will show you another place that you should definitely see. For now, we are waiting for your travel report!

The museum was visited by:
Joanna Rassmus

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