Saturday, 3 October 2015

Modlin Fortress

The Modlin Fortress is one of the biggest and best preserved in Poland. It was built based on an order of Napoleon Bonaparte at the times of the Duchy of Warsaw, a satellite state occupying lands conquered by Napoleon after he has defeated Prussia at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Since many of you have told me that you have liked the city game we have had in Olsztyn last summer, this time again we will organise our visit around a quest for clues. We will try to find all figurines of Baśka Murmańska. And no, it is not a lady serving in the army. You will see her in a moment.

Let's start next to the Information Center.

Our first clue is almost self-explanatory.

And yes, Baśka (a diminutive for Barbara) was a bear. A white, polar bear. One of the soldiers found her in Northern Russia and took her with him. She was then living in the fortress as a kind of mascott.

Next to the Information Center we will find the casino. At that time, it was a kind of club for officers, where they were eating and partying.

Next to it you will find a monument dedicated to Polish soldiers who have left their lives defending the Modlin fortress in 1939.

Obviously after 200 years some of the buildings are no longer in use.

But others are still in (military) service.

This one is particularly important. Being 2,200 m long, the fortified barracks building is the longest building in Europe.

Nowadays, a large part of the Modlin fortress was sold to private investors. This has some positive sides, since they have refurbished the historical buildings so that they can serve some new purposes.

This one is a 4-star hotel.

The lions guarding the main entrance are not the only animals in this part of the fortress. You will find here beehives ...

... and yes, another little statue of Baśka!

The Modlin fortress is full of contrasts. Concrete bunkers ...

... are neighbouring a wooden chapel.

And next to the chapel there is another small bear waiting for us. Once we find it, we can move to the last point of our game. A pastry shop!

Let's give a five to the last figurine of Baśka. The story of her life was unfortunately not ending with a piece of cake. She has escaped from the Modlin fortress and before the soldiers found her she was killed by villagers from neighbouring village, looking for food and a warm fur.

Now that we have walked all around the Modlin fortress (and refreshed ourselves with some food ice-cream), I propose we take another small walk towards the external wall of the fortress.

The reason why the Modlin fortress was created in this specific place will soon become obvious to you. Those of you who know a bit about military strategy probably guessed now that the Modlin fortress is located next to a river. Obviously you are right.

But the truth is that the fortress is located in a place where two major Polish rivers connect - Vistula and Bug.

On the islet that is just between them Napoleon has built a granary. He believed it was the safest place to keep wheat for the fortress so to prevent it to be taken by hunger.

The fact is that enemy armies have not proved to be as disastrous as time. Nowadays the granary is a ruin and a distant memory of the past glory of the Modlin fortress.

1 comment:

  1. Spichlerz jest zlokalizowany w bajecznym miejscu, szkoda że aż tak jest zniszczony, bo w tym miejscu mogłoby być coś naprawdę ładnego z funkcją typowo turystyczną. Co prawda gdyby stan wód się podniósł, to byłoby średnio bezpiecznie, ale mimo wszystko lokalizacja malownicza.
    Spodobał mi się także ten budynek, bo jest naprawdę długi! W cukierni na pewno mają smakowite kąski :) Ooo i fajnie, że powstał tam hotel, bo przynajmniej coś się tam dzieje!