date: 20.04.2024 current local time in Toruń:
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The Fortress of Toruń: 19th-century fortification (Twierdza Toruń)
Toruń’s defensive role and the development of its fortifications can be traced back to as early as the 13th century. In the Middle Ages, the strong defence walls with fortified towers and two barbicans were built. One of them, the Old Toruń barbican of 1429, was the oldest in the Polish land. As early as the late 16th century, the construction of bastion fortifications around Toruń started. However, it was not the fortifications that helped Toruń withhold the Swedish attack of 1629. By 1634 the city was surrounded by eight bastions, thus becoming one of several most powerful forts in the Republic of Poland. Toruń’s proper defence facilities won the city respect among its enemies and helped to ward off the invasions effectively. The fortress was gradually extended in the ensuing centuries, especially during the Napoleonic era (>>) and the time of the Prussian Partition of Poland in the 19th century.
The Prussians initiated the construction of a fort in Toruń: by 1872 the so-called inner ring of fortifications was built, followed by the outer ring at a distance of about 3.5 - 4 km from the Old Quarter. Thus, Toruń was converted into a powerful fortress of the first rank, encompassing 15 great forts and a few hundred smaller objects.
The 19th-century Toruń Fortress comprises more than200 objects in a belt of fortification whose circumference around the city runs for some 22 km.

see the map below
Availability: only two objects are available for tourists: Fort IV and Battery AB IV:
Battery AB IV. Skansen of Armoured Fortification of the Fortress Toruń. Detailed information here.
Fort IV Stanisław Żółkiewski of the Toruń Fortress.
Detailed information here.
Take a guided tour: Nineteenth-century Defencive Toruń here

Selected elements of the 19th-century Toruń Fortress
Fort IV (the outer ring)
Fort IV (the outer ring)
Fort XIII (the outer ring)
Fort XIII (the outer ring)
Fort XIII (the outer ring)
Fort XIII (the outer ring)
In 1872 - while Toruń was under the Prussian rule due to the second patrition of Poland (1793) - the Prussian Government issued an edict which divided the German Empire into three groups. Toruń with Gdańsk, Königsberg and some other cities was assigned to the first group, this being linked with adjustment to new forms of defence, and hence with rebuilding works.
The stronghold of Toruń established by the Prussian authorities in this way came to represent one of Central Europe's largest anywhere. The main forts went up between 1878 and 1885, these being today's Forts: I, IV, V, VII, XI, XIII, XV, as well as the smaller Fort IX. After that, the years 1887-1894 brought a major rebuilding of the fortress, as linked up with the introduction of the explosive shell (in 1883). It was at this time that Forts: I, III, VI, VIII, X, XII, XIV took shape. 
Further stages (in the years 1895-1905 and 1905-1914) took in the building of armoured batteries, as well as the modernisation of shelters and forts. The last stage involved remodelling in the line with the 1914 mobilisation.

The typical fort had an underground part of 2 or even 3 floors, military buildings, a moat, ramparts and a battle slope. This huge defensive comples had a well-developed system of communications, drainage and irrigation.

As Toruń didn't find itself in the firing line during the World War I, its fortifications were not made use of, and so not destroyed either. However, parts were used during the Occupation (1939-1945) as prisoner-of-war camps, labour camps and detention centres.
After the World War II many of the fortifications were looted and left in ruins. See the availability information above.
In memory of all British prisoners of war held at Stalag XXA Thorn - Fort XIII 1940-1945
Prisoners-of-war's inscriptions on the wall inside Fort XI (Stalag XXA)
Kaszownik Barracks (the inner ring)
Kaszownik Barracks (the inner ring)
Provision warehouse (the inner ring)
Provision warehouse (the inner ring)
Users' comments (1)
Hugh Norton, 2020-05-07 20:23:36 (

This city looks to be well worth a visit and is definitely on my bucket list! Where is the nearest airport?
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