The Torun Fortress
In Torun there is a military monument of the highest rank – one of the most immense systems of fortifications in Poland, built by Prussians at the end of 19th century to defend the western border of Prussia. This system was built in Torun due to its strategic location – the city was situated at that time on the border line of Prussia and Russia, which border ran along the Drweca river. Thanks to Prussian fortifications Torun was added to the list of cities-fortresses.
The erection of fortress began in 1872. Within 32 years about 200 fortifications were constructed. In total 7 main fortifications, 6 medium-size ones, 6 artillery batteries, 32 infantry shelters, 52 shelters of artillery and ammunition of hinterland were situated in Torun. The forts surrounded the whole of the city. The very clear arrangement of the fortification has been preserved until present times.
In 1859 the introduction of cannons with rifled barrels and smokeless powder influenced the decision about the construction of the fortress. Due to those improvements, 17th-century embankment around the city did not guarantee the protection against artillery attacks. Torun fortress was modernised throughout the 90’s of the 19th century, for the last time in 1914, when the majority of forts were equipped with wing artillery batteries, armour artillery batteries between forts XI, XII, XII and XII, XIII, XIV, and experimental cannons in fort XI. Additionally new observation points for infantry and artillery were assigned. The exits from those constructions were of labyrinthine structure, which protected the interiors from the blast waves of explosions.