Once we decided to spend a few days in Poznan, I started researching what would I want to do there. The first thing that popped on my radar was the Park Cytadela. This large park stands where the Fort Winiary used to be. This fort was Festung Posen’s main structure and this is where things start to be historically interesting for me.
Park Cytadela is huge and you can find a military museum, some military cemeteries, remains of the old fortifications, a rose garden sculptures and lots of open spaces an walkways where you can enjoy the sun.
We were there during an entire afternoon and didn’t have time to explore everything that we wanted to. But, we loved Poznan so much that we know we are coming back to the city in the near future. We have plenty of time to see everything in Park Cytadela.
A Little Bit of History
Before Park Cytadela, that area north of the city centre in Poznan used to be the Fort Winiary. This first was the main for in the system that was named Festung Posen (Fortress Poznan).
Fort Winiary was constructed back in the 19th century, when Poznan was still under Prussian rule. The plans for the fort were approved in february 1829 and the name came to be due to the fact that the fort was situated on a hill where there was a village called Winiary. But this was only the inner defensive ring around the city. In 1876, an outer defensive ring was built around the perimeter of Poznan. These defensive ring wasn’t surrounding the city with a wall or anything like this. This ring was made of a series of forts and most of them survived and you can even visit some of them.
As you can imagine, the Fort Winiary and the Festung Posen were also used by Nazi Germany during the occupation of Poland. And, since the city had the stronghold status, it were to be defended at all costs. It didn’t last that long and, during the Battle of Poznan in 1945, Fort Winiary was the last point of resistance in the city.
After the Second World War, the area around Fort Winiary was converted into Cytadela Park. As you walk through the park it is hard to picture the place as a war area but it was. Most of the fortifications were demolished but a few structures can still be spotted between the trees. A rosarium can be visited near the northern edge of the park and there is even a military museum at the park but we are going to talk about this in another post.
On the southern part of the park, where we manage to find our way in, you are going to find a series of military cemeteries. First, we thought it would be kind of weird but the surroundings are not creepy at all. There, you are going to find the Poznań Old Garrison Cemetery that was set up after the First World War and contains graves from, mostly, prisoners of war and airmen that were killed during the bombing of Stettin.
There you can see a Polish and a Soviet cemeteries also. Overlooking the cemeteries, the Heroes Monument stands at the top of the long flight of stairs that form the main entrance to the park. And don’t be scared to climb those stairs!
The park is ideal for any outdoor activity like cycling, relaxing in the sun and anything else you think about. There are lots of wide asphalt alleys were you can run, ride bikes, roller skates or fly kites. If you are thinking about coin a picnic in Poznan, this is the place for you.
The park is the where The Bell of Peace and Friendship Among Nations was erected back in 1986. A little late to spare the city from a turbulent past but right on time to play the role in the remembering of why it is there. The bell weighs 850 kilos and stands more than 10 meters from the ground. We read stories online that it can be heard from 10 kilometers away once it is ringed on holidays and special celebrations.
Take a look at the pictures we took there and we know you are going to feel the need to visit this big park in Poznan.