Kostrzynskie Pompeje

Küstrin – Kostrzyn

The cassier at the gas station is surprised by my question. “The ruins of Kostrzyn? I have never been there, but I think they are right across the street, behind the other gas station.” The destination has been so close and yet we had no idea we were already there. Kostrzyn, once a historical fortress, was completely destroyed during WW II. After the war the reconstruction seemed helpless, so Kostrzyn II was simply build next to it. And that is also the charm of the fast build town at the Polish-German border.

Nothing of the once well known fortress seems to be left. We cross the street – somewhat disoriented – from one gas station to the next. The pompous architecture of this one does remind us of the historical past. Right after the fortress like gas station we walk through mud and coppice.

All of nowhere we stand on a plastered street covered by grass and plants. Next to it are some left over stones, fundaments of destroyed houses.

A strange feeling. So close to the main road with heavy traffic we stand in piles of bricks. A dull atmosphere. It feels like wandering through Forum Romanum in Rome. But with no hords of tourists around it also feels like doing something forbidden. Or as if we entered a secret terrain.

13th century
first mentioning of a settlement

16th century
construction of a fortress by Prusian Lord Hans of Küstrin, visit of King Friedrich the 3rd on the way back from his coronation in Berlin in 1701

1806- 1814
besieged by Napoleon´s army

captured by the Red Army and almost totally destoyed, reconstrucion of Kostrzyn 5 kilometers further north

until 1992
Russian army base, prohibited zon

rediscovery of the Prusian Pompeji


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