An underground passage in the centre of Poznań. An inconspicuous door leads inside

It is passed by thousands of Poznan citizens every day, but few know of its existence. The underground passage is located under the Przemysl Hill in the centre of Poznań. What was it used for and when was it built?

The underground passage was built in 1944 by the Germans, but the plan for it was developed by the Poles back in the 1930s. The tunnel was intended to serve the inhabitants of the centre as a place where they could take refuge from air raids

Several entrances lead inside. One from Góra Przemysła (Zamkowa) Street, another from Plac Wielkopolski and a third from al. Marcinkowskiego. The network is connected to the office building, which years ago housed the headquarters of Telekomunikacja Polska. The tunnel has an irregular shape close to the letter Y. A significant part of it is located under the building of the Museum of Applied Arts. The construction of the network of underground passageways was carried out using a technique typical of mining adits, and the resulting shelter was designed to withstand the impact of a 300t aerial bomb

To this day, old chained benches are still attached along the walls, but they are heavily covered with rust. The rounded corridors partly lead to blind tunnels in which the inhabitants were supposed to have protected themselves. It is likely that the sections we now refer to as blind were to be extended in the future and that the network of underground passages would cover a larger area of this part of the city

At present, the technical condition of the tunnel varies. Corrosion of the reinforced concrete elements can be seen in some places, other parts that have not been so heavily exposed to the weather seem to be safe

The entrance at Gora Przemysła (Castle) Street

photo Google

Already after the Second World War, the tunnel was managed by the Civil Defence. Today, the ownership issue of the tunnel is complicated. Some of the land belongs to the city, another part to the State Treasury, the National Museum, and another part is in private hands. This makes it difficult to deal with a comprehensive review of the tunnel. A technical review would be necessary if the site is to become a tourist attraction. There is a chance that the city will exchange land and the Treasury will become the ‘owner’ of the tunnel, which could revitalise the military shelter and open it to tourists. For the time being, the issue is only an idea and no concrete steps have been announced. The tunnel therefore remains tightly sealed

photo: Jan Chojnacki – Wyprawy na Janka

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