Explore Citadel Park Poznan – Surprising History and Art at Every Turn

Citadel Park Poznan is the largest and most interesting park in the city. Visiting a city park isn’t often an emotional rollercoaster, but most city parks aren’t like this. Filled with history, tragedy, and beauty, it’s absolutely worth your time to go exploring. Let’s dig in!

Fort Winiary

As the name “Citadel Park” implies, you’ll find what remains of the brick walls of the old citadel Fort Winiary, but there isn’t much left of it. The fort’s primary function was as a military prison in the 1800s. Then during World War II, Nazi occupiers got a hold of it and used it as a POW camp. It was also the Nazis’ last stronghold during the infamous and brutal Battle of Poznan in 1945, before finally being taken by Soviet troops in February of that year.

After the war, the heavily damaged fort was mostly torn down, leaving only a few portions that you can still see today.

Cemeteries in Citadel Park Poznan

The main entrance to the park has a huge set of stairs leading up to a towering monumental obelisk. On either side of the stairs you’ll find paths leading back to several different cemeteries.

The Old Garrison Cemetery

The Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery (the first path on the right) contains the graves of 174 British soldiers held prisoner of war during World War I whose remains were moved from POW camp cemeteries here in 1925.

The remains of more than 250 World War II servicemen lay here also. Most were prisoners of war, or airmen. The heavy fighting in the area damaged the World War I cemetery and it was renovated after the war and now serves as the final resting place for 478 servicemen of both world wars. Twenty five are unknown, and 16 served in other armies, including Poland’s.

Among those buried are several British soldiers and a Pole, Pawel Tobolski, who took part in the famous “Great Escape” from Stalag Luft III in Zagan in 1944. The old Hollywood movie “The Great Escape” is a classic and worth watching if you haven’t. Murdered by the Gestapo, the ashes of these brave soldiers are now located here.

Red Army Cemetery

You’ll also find a Soviet cemetery with gravestones of soldiers whose lives were lost in the liberation of Poland from the Nazis. 5,830 Red Army soldiers are buried here, including 263 officers, and 3,717 anonymous graves. All are marked with a star.

Cemetery of Polish Heroes

The cemetery of Polish heroes includes those who fought with the Russians against Nazi occupation. Also here are the remains of Dr. Franciszek Witaszek, who organized a resistance group against Nazi occupiers. The network managed to slowly poison many Nazi officers, and destroy numerous rail cars before their eventual discovery. Witaszek was offered his life in exchange for changing allegiance and working with the Nazis. He refused and was hung with other members of the group.

Monuments of Citadel Park Poznan

The Obelisk

As you head up the colossal grand staircase, and into the park you’ll notice the huge obelisk towering above. It was originally built as a monument to the Russian soldiers who died during the siege of Fort Winiary in the waning days of World War II.

After the fall of communism, the huge ruby-red star that adorned the top of the obelisk was removed by the fire department and vanished from public consciousness until it was donated to the local history museum in 2011. You can see it today in the museum located inside the Town Hall.

The Bell of Peace

The ‘Bell of Peace and Friendship Among Nations’ from 1986 rings on special holidays and on the anniversary of Polish Liberation Day when the Nazis surrendered the fort. The impressive bell tower soars 35 feet above the ground.

Art and Green Space

The park is really a beautiful place for a walk, for reflection, a picnic, some frisbee with your dog, a place to let kids play, and to just wander and enjoy the garden statuary, roses, and trees.

The Rosarium

If you happen to be in the park during rose season, check out the rosarium. It’s full of rose terraces gracefully sloping down to a little pond, with amphitheater-style seating all around. It’s a beautiful spot, even though my visit was a bit before bloom time.

The Unrecognized

A squadron of more than a hundred hollow iron torsos caught in mid-stride is one of the sculptural features in the park you can’t miss. The installation of 6-foot tall figures is titled “The Unrecognized,” by artist Magdalena Abakanowicz. There are also a couple of these figures near the underground access by the Poznan Sheraton.

Umberto’s and the ‘Chill Space’

Be sure to enjoy the beautiful “chill space” for patrons of Umberto’s restaurant which features pizza, salads, and ice cream. Lounge chairs are set up, and the hedged green space is an ideal spot to cool off in the shade and enjoy a bite. The restaurant is located right next to a playground which is separate from the chill space.

Armaments Museum in Citadel Park Poznan

The Armaments Museum is located right across from the obelisk, and near a map which you can use to navigate throughout the park. The building that houses the smaller objects of the museum’s collection produced gunpowder and projectiles during World War II. You’ll find historical photos and memorabilia from Poznan’s turbulent past under Nazi and Soviet occupation. The real stand out for those who are interested in military history is the unusual and large display of tanks, airplanes, and other vehicles on display outside.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Last admission to the exhibits is at 3pm.

Tickets are about $5 for adults.

You can purchase tickets online here, or buy at the ticket counter.

Your Visit to Citadel Park Poznan

Location

Parking

Parking is available close to the entrance. This photo is taken looking out from the grand staircase which is behind me.

The park is a pleasant 20 minute walk from the Old Town. There are also several bus routes that lead to the entrance.

How Long Should You Stay?

How long to allow for the park completely depends on what you’d like to see. Citadel Park Poznan is huge, and it would be easy to spend the day wandering from the cemeteries, through the grounds, grabbing pizza and ice cream, sitting by the pond, exploring the trails and monuments, and checking out the museum. If most of these things appeal to you, leave yourself 3-4 hours to relax and enjoy the experience.

Dog-Friendliness

Dogs are definitely welcomed in the park! I saw plenty of them, both on and off leash, and they were all having a great time!


For more great content on Poznan, Poland, check out these posts:

20 Amazing Things to Do in Poznan, Poland

The Hilarious Must-See Goat Clock in Poznan

The National Museum in Poznan – Discover the Hidden ‘Soul of Poland’

To receive notifications when new content appears on The Adventure Lion, sign up below and join the pride!

Leave a Comment