The Gerhard Fort, also known as the Eastern Fort, is one of the three forts of the Świnoujście Fortress. It is located in the eastern part of Świnoujście, in Warszów district, on the Wolin Island. Access by car from the City Hall in Świnoujście may take about 1 hour, it is necessary to take a ferry. From the railway station in Świnoujście, the journey by car will take about 15 minutes. It belongs to Dworcowa Street turn into Nabrzeżna Street, then go along Barlickiego Street. From Barlickiego Street, turn left into Towards the Sea Street. Non-motorized tourists can use public transport. There is a lighthouse right next to the fort.
Gerhard's Fort is one of the forts of the Świnoujście Fortress. Next to the lighthouse, it is one of the most important monuments of Świnoujście. It was also the most important facility guarding the entrance to the port in Świnoujście. It is a well-preserved fortress that was built in the years 1848-1859. The initiator of the construction and the creator of the fort design was Gerhard Cornelius van Wallrave, an architect famous in the 18th century. He was, inter alia, the author of the project for the expansion of the fortress in Kłodzko. In his honor, the eastern fort was called Fort Gerhard.
The fort is shaped like an oval two-story redoubt. The redoubt had two wings and a drawbridge leading through the moat to the main entrance, as well as an internal courtyard and three towers. Due to its location, the port was exposed to direct, regular attacks by the enemy. The fort was constantly expanded. In 1881, two caponiers were added, i.e. earth structures erected across the moat used for firing and defending the entrance to the fort. At the southern and northern ends of the fort, two bunkers were erected, connected by an underground tunnel with the fort's courtyard. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, a narrow-gauge railway and telegraph communication were brought to the fort.
After the war, the fort was handed over to the city. At first, warehouses were organized there. Later, the fort was abandoned. Changes took place in 2001. The fort was leased by a group of enthusiasts who opened its doors to visitors a few months later. One of the most interesting places was created, which is a living history lesson. Visitors to the fort will learn about the history under the watchful eye of a Prussian soldier, who shows them around the fort and, additionally, "trains" visitors, and when necessary, he will also structure them appropriately.
In 2001, the Coastal Defense Museum was established in the fort. It is the largest private facility of this type in Poland, it houses over 2,000 exhibits related to the development of the Świnoujście Fortress over the last 300 years.
In the fort, we can see: one of the best-preserved artillery benches in Europe - a series of stone and brick positions for coastal guns, 150 and 210 mm caliber, with preserved relics of various types of gun mounts; a small courtyard with casemates under the artillery gallery; ammunition and powder magazines in the west wing of the fort; two artillery stations and former firing positions for field guns on the southern rampart of the fort above the southern caponier; on the drill square, the wreck of the SDKFZ 7/2 transporter, which was pulled from the sea, near Dziwnów (Western Pomerania) in 2006.
Visiting the fort takes about 75 minutes, you need to add additional time needed to visit the museum.
There are more similar attractions waiting for lovers of military and history in Świnoujście. Three of the four forts built in the 19th century have survived to this day. All forts are open to the public.