Fort Gerhard is one of the most significant monuments in Świnoujście. It was built in the middle of the 19th century to protect the entrance to the port. It was designed by Gerhard Cornelius, after whose name the building is named to this day.
Fort Gerhards is only a part of the Swinoujscie fortress. Along with the lighthouse, it is one of the most important historical monuments of Świnoujście. It was also the main facility guarding the entrance to the port of Świnoujście. It is a well-preserved fortress, built in 1848-1859. The idea of the construction was given by the architect Gerhard Cornelius van Wallrave, famous in the 18th century, who also drew up its plan. Among other things, he was also the author of the project for the expansion of the fortress in Kłodzko (Glatz). In his honor, the eastern fort was also called "Fort Gerhard".
The fort has the shape of an oval two-storey redoubt. It originally had two wings and a drawbridge leading over the moat to the main entrance, a courtyard and three towers. Because of its location, it was exposed to direct, regular attacks from the enemy. Therefore, the fortress was constantly expanded. In 1881, two caponiers were added, i.e. earthen structures placed transversely in the moat, which served for shooting and defending the entrance to the fortress. Two bunkers were built at the southern and northern ends of the fort, connected to the fort's inner courtyard by an underground tunnel. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, a narrow-gauge railroad was led to the fort and telegraph connection was installed
After the war the fort was handed over to the city. At first, camps were set up there. Later the object was abandoned. In 2001 a lot of changes took place. The fortress was leased by a group of enthusiasts, who opened its doors to visitors a few months later. One of the most interesting places of living history education was created. Visitors to the fort learn about history under the watchful eye of a "Prussian soldier" who shows them around the property and also "drills" them if necessary.
In 2001, the Coastal Defense Museum was established in the fort. It is the largest private institution of its kind in Poland and includes over 2000 exhibits on the development of the Swinoujscie Fortress over the last 300 years. In the fortress we can see: one of the best preserved artillery banks in Europe - a series of stone and brick emplacements for 150 and 210 mm caliber coastal guns with preserved artifacts of various gun emplacements; a small courtyard with casemates under the artillery gallery; ammunition and powder magazines in the western wing of the fort; two artillery stations and former firing positions for field guns on the southern rampart of the fort above the southern caponniere; in the drill yard the wreck of the transporter SDKFZ 7/2 recovered from the sea near Dziwnów in 2006.
The tour of the fortress takes about 75 minutes, additional time must be added for the museum visit.
Other similar attractions await military and history lovers in Świnoujście. Three of the four forts built in the 19th century have been preserved to this day. All of them are open to the public.