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Osowiec Fortress

Osovec Fortress  is a Russian fortress erected on the Bobra River near the Polish town of Osowice (now the village of Osowiec Fortress) 50 kilometers from the town of Bialystok.

The fortress was built in the years 1882-1892 as one of the defensive works to protect Russia’s western borders from Germany’s offensives, and subsequently continuously modernized to cope with advances in heavy siege artillery. In 1889–1893, military engineer Nestor Buinitsky played an important part in creating the fortress.
It was located on the Biebrza River about 50 km from the border with the German province of East Prussia, at the point where it was possible to cross the river marshes, thus controlling a vital point. The vast swampy area that surrounded it made attacks difficult. The strategic Belostok-Lyck-Konigsberg railway line also crossed the fortress and the Biebrza River.

The fortress was the scene of heated fighting at the beginning of the First World War on the Eastern Front from September 1914 until the Russian army abandoned it in August 1915. In the years between the two wars the fortress was used by the Polish army. During the German invasion of Poland in 1939, he didn’t see much fighting.

Nowadays some parts of the fortress are accessible to tourists, in particular the parts within the borders of the Biebrza National Park. The park’s visitor information center is located in Osowiec-Twierdza,  a small settlement located within the confines of the fortress. Other parts of the fortress still belong to the Polish Army and access is limited.
Today The fortress is located within the military unit and it is impossible to enter it without a guide. The Osowiec Fortification Society, however, provides a tourist path around the fortress. You can see it only from a distance, the historical museum and several cannons.

Access : Coordinates: 53.472222, 22.651667 / The fortress is located in northeastern Poland, Podlaskie Voivodeship, Monk County, Gonionj County, Osovec Tverdza

Highlights :

  •  The Osowiec Fortress was built in the second half of the 19th century as a typical barrier fortress. It consisted of 4 forts: fort 1 (Central),fort 2 (Zarzecze),fort 3 (Swedish),fort 4 (New).
  •  About one episode of the First World War, when the advancing troops of Kaiser Germany from January to July 1915 could not take the Russian fortress located on the territory of modern Poland. Over a six-month siege, the Germans fired about 400 thousand heavy shells, and then launched a gas attack that had no analogues in scale before. In the early morning of August 6, 1915, the Germans opened artillery fire and used poison gas against the Russian garrison of the fortress. When the gas cloud dispersed, at least seven thousand German infantrymen stormed the assurance that all Russians were dead. However, to the horror of the Germans, the surviving defenders of the fortress rose to meet them. This incredible counterattack and the very sight of the Russian soldiers shocked the Germans so much that they stampeded. This feat went down in military history under the name “attack of the dead.” About the rank and file and commanders of the Osovovets garrison, their feat and further destiny
  •  in popular culture : Some music bands have dedicated songs to the defense of this fortress, groups such as the Swedes Sabaton, in their album “The Great War”, 2019, in the song “Attack of the Dead Men”, or the Russian singer Varya Strizhak , in the song  (The Russians don’t give up!) , the description of this amazing place with a poem from the volume of Miroslaw Worona’s “Bat of History”:
  •  An important role in the fortress was played by caponiers and semi-captains, in which 67 defensive guns, caliber 57 and 76mm were located. During the heyday of the Osowiec Fortress, there were warehouse barracks, a set of brick and wooden houses, and even a church. We will also see that the soldiers have also prepared places for rest and sport, e.g. a volleyball court.

Opening hours of the Osowiec fortress: from 10:00 to 15:00. / attractions availability: Monday-Friday by appointment with a guide at 600 941 954 , price:
, the guide’s cost was PLN 40 / hour. from the group – regardless of the number of people

Note : Visiting the Fortress takes place only on business days. Before the planned visit, you should call the Fortress and make sure about the opening hours. The tour takes place only with a guide. Until recently, the army was stationed in the fortress.
visitors must have ID card and foreigners obtain permission from the Ministry of National Defense.

Activities : sightseeing / Good place to glance history!! / trekking /

Go next : the village of Osowiec / visit the Biebrza National Park a national park in Podlaskie Voivodeship, northeastern Poland, situated along the Biebrza River./ Monki  , a town in northeastern Poland  situated in the Podlaskie Voivodeship.

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