The list of military puzzling sights must be opened with Riese complex in Lower Silesia region. Riese is the name of a plan and an underground mine-constriction complex created during the WWII. It is located in Góry Sowie (Awl Mountains) and Książ Castle. The main aim of the project was the creation of massive, underground, bombing-proof spaces for Hitler and the most important people in Nazi Germany and also a canter of armament industry. According to plans this underground city was supposed to host even 40 thousand people. Currently, we are aware of existence of 7 major complexes. 4 of them are available to tourists: Włodarz, Osówka, Rzeczka and Książ. The longest tourist rout can be found in Włodarz. The notion of the complex fascinates all people that enter it. There are still many theories and speculations about multitude of its purposes. These are definitely the most mysteries underground routs in the country.
Another interesting bunkers can be found in Międzyrzecki Rejon Umocniony (MRU, Ostwall or Festungsfront im Oder-Warthe Bogen). It is a series of fortifications, bunkers and defensive structures in the West of Poland built by German military before and during the World War II. The underground tunnels stretch as long as 35 kilometres and today instead of soldiers they are mostly inhabited by different species of bats. The heavy armoured MRU was to be equipped with machine guns, automatic grenade launchers, flamethrowers, anti-tank weapons and heavy artillery with the range varying between 15 and 20 kilometres.
Stępina Railway Bunker on the other side of the country was built in 1941 as part of Anlage Sud. The entire structure consisted of numerous buildings of various type: shelters, bunkers, guard and living quarters and storage facilities. The largest of all is a 393 metres-long reinforced concrete on-ground tunnel designed as a bunker for Hitler’s own command train. 2-metres thick walls, together with a system of airducts, airlocks and filtration system assured perfect safety in case of a number of attacks, including the use of chemical warfare. The tunnel bunker remained in good condition up to this date and as a local tourist attraction it is now open to the public.
Another important place connected with Adolf Hitler is the Wolf’s Lair. Wolfsschanze (Wolf’s Lair is located in Polish Lake District Mazury in small settlement Gierłoż about 36 km from Mrągowo. In years 1941-1944 it was the headquarters of Adolf Hitler. This town camouflaged in the forest consisted about 200 buildings including bunkers, barracks, 2 airports, a railway station, a power plant, an air-conditioning facility, a water supply system and a thermal power station. In 1944 Wolf’s Lair was inhabited by 2 000 people. From this place Hitler commanded armies that were conquering the USSR. Moreover, it was also a place where a failed assassination of him was attempted. Currently, tourists visit the remains of the town and museum with guides.
Finally, St Anna Mountain Amphitheatre (is about 1h drive from Katowice). Currently, it is a memorial place of all those who were killed in action during numerous Silesia uprisings. Still, first of all the place was a limestone quarry so, the rock structure in this area is very intriguing. Then, the place history is rather dark as it is connected with Hitler’s III Reich. The amphitheatre was built by Nazi Germans just before the WWII. In the Nazi Germany 20 objects of this type were erected to organize propaganda assemblies. In that time the amphitheatre could host an event for 50 thousand people. After the WWII Poles erected here a monument of Uprising Activity which stands 30 meters above the amphitheatre’s stage. Now, it is an unusual place of national remembrance. There is also one animal curiosity. Under the amphitheatre there is a net of underground drainage tunnels that is home for bats.
There are hundreds of castles and castle ruins in Poland. Majority of them can boast some ghost figure or mesmerizing history. Still here we chose two most interesting examples. Krzyżtopur Castle Ruins in Ujazd was one of the most unique castles in Europe, being a wonderful testimony to the imagination of the eccentric voivode and crown official Krzysztof Ossoliński. Built in the 17th century, the castle combined Ossoliński's love of magic and astrology. Designed like a calendar, the facility has four towers representing the four seasons, 12 rooms for 12 months of the year, 52 rooms for 52 weeks and 365 windows for 365 days - plus one for use in leap years only. Rumor has it that there was a 15-kilometer tunnel under the manor, leading to the other Ossoliński's castle in the vicinity. It is said that the floor of the tunnel was covered in sugar, so the two brothers living close to one another could visit each other on a horse-drawn sleigh, pretending to be traveling in the snow. The ruins can be visited with a guide and for groups there is also possibility of ruins sightseeing by night which provides unforgettable memories.
Ogrodzieniec Castle was erected in the 14th-15th century. The last inhabitants left the castle in 1810. It is located at the highest peak at Jurassic Kraków-Czestochowa Region at 515.5 m above sea level. The castle has perfect location among limestone rocks which additionally protect the stronghold. Almost all parts of the building are available to tourists. There are exhibitions in an armoury, a torture chamber and there is also a castle museum exhibition. In the courtyard there are market stalls with souvenirs and in the castle basements there is also Knight Restaurant. In the castle there are many events organized, such as concerts, knight tournaments and ghost spectacles. It is also possible to visit ruins by night and this is the best creepy way to see it. It is a place really worth visiting while being in central Poland.
The Crooked Wood (Polish: Krzywy Las) near Nowe Czernewo village is located 30 km from Szczecin (about 45 min drive). It is the only crooked forest in Poland. At the area of not even 2 hectares tourists can find 400 deformed pines. The trunks of all these trees at a height of 10 to 50 centimetres above the ground are crooked. The curves go as high as 3 meters and then the trees straighten and go straight to the sun. The trees are of 11 to 12 m high and are about 75 years old. Nobody knows exactly why the trees are crooked. The most popular theory says that someone damaged them on purpose to produce crooked wood for carpentry works. Tourists that want to admire these trees should use a red walking trail that goes from Gryfin to Mieszkowice. Nature and peculiarity lovers should like this unusual area of our country.
Scull Chapel in Czermna is located about 130 km from Wrocław (2h drive). It was created between 1776-1804 when the local parish priest by accident found a mass grave. For the following 20 years, he with a local grave digger collected human remains that didn’t have proper graves. The walls of this extraordinary chapel are covered with 3 thousand tightly arranged human skulls and bones. The remnants of the people who were victims of wars and epidemics which were their direct result. In the crypt under the chapel there are about 20-30 thousand remnants more. The main aim of the chapel is to commemorate war victims and also to caution contemporary people against the atrocities of war. It is the only such chapel in Poland and only 1 of 3 in Europe. It can be visited by tourists every day apart from Mondays.
Stone Circles is a cemetery located approx. 1.5 km south of the village of Węsiory, on the northern shore of Lake Długi. It is a burial place of Goths and Gepids from the 1st-3rd century. There are stone circles and burial mounds and this mysterious place is well known for its unusual aura and energy. Archaeological research on the cemetery in Węsiory was not initiated until the 20th century. In 1956, research work was carried out, including 3 stone circles, 16 barrows and 110 cremation and skeletal burials (urn graves and grave graves). The place is open for tourists; it can be viewed with a local guide as well.
Poland has the rich pool of history and cultural heritage, and the legacy of history in the form of numerous architectural monuments, historical mementoes, legends and stories passed on, blend in with the abundance of nature and natural, beautiful landscapes. In every region, almost in every corner of Poland, you will find amazing, peculiar and legendary places. The above mentioned examples are just a fraction of all sights really worth visiting. Discover Poland and its mysterious places with ITS DMC Poland. Contact one of our professional group coordinators to create the best possible sightseeing itinerary.
Author: Agnieszka Szwedzińska