Srebrna Góra Fortress – Europe’s largest mountain stronghold

The fort was built between 1765 and 1777 by order of the King of Prussia, Frederick the Great. The Prussian engineer Ludwig Wilhelm von Regler was responsible for the project, but the ruler himself amended it. Fortress was to guard Silesia, which Prussia gained 15 years before the its construction began. Up to 4.5 thousand workers took part in the construction and its huge cost was covered by a special tax collected for this purpose in Silesia.

The fortress was built on two peaks – Góra Forteczna and Ostróg (both over 600 m above sea level), near the town of Srebrna Góra (pol. Silver Mountain). The fortress consists of six forts and a donjon, which is the central tower of military and residential use, a place of final defense if the opponent conquers the fortress buildings. Incidentally, this donjon is the largest in Europe and its walls are up to 12 metres thick. If necessary, the tunnel leading inwards could be quickly backfilled with stones and earth to form a 7-metre dam with a strength of 5 metres of stone wall.

The fortress included warehouses, nine wells, an armoury with a powder chamber, a chapel, a prison, a hospital, craft workshops and even a brewery. It was able to accumulate huge reserves of food and ammunition, so that it could withstand up to 6 months of siege. Its armament consisted of over 260 cannons and mortars, and its Prussian garrison consisted of up to 3 thousand people.

In the 1930s, the fortress was used as a prison and ordered to be liquidated in the 1960s. In the following years it was used as a testing ground for Prussian artillery artists. At the end of the 19th century it became a tourist facility, and during World War II – a prison for captured Polish officers, including the Commander of the coast defense, Rear Admiral Józef Unrug. After the war, due to Soviet robberies, the fortress was destroyed, and this condition improved only after 1965. 2004 saw the Srebrna Góra Fortress declared as a History Monument by the President of the Republic of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski.

 Srebrna Góra Fortress’ Festival

In June 1807, the French army, under Jérôme Bonaparte’s command, besieged a fortress and eventually did not conquer it, because both countries signed a treaty in Tylża on 7 July. Interestingly, Srebrna Góra remained the only unbeaten fortress in Silesia during the French-Prussian war. On June 9th, 2018, the 14th Srebrna Góra Fortress’ Festival took place, during which the battle was reconstructed.. A gallery of photos from the battle is shown above, and in the next paragraph you can find a short video of the march of troops after the battle.

Today, the fortress is an open place for visitors and is used for recurring events, such as the battle shown in the photographs. We encourage all history lovers to see it with their own eyes. More information and a map:

Photos: Wojciech Kruszyński

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