Tag: Wolf's Lair

Tag: Wolf’s Lair

Top things to do in Olsztyn

There’s a lot to see and do in the city. Here’s our list of the Top things to do in Olsztyn. Click on the links for further information or to book a tour & buy tickets.

1. Museum of Warmia & Masuria

It’s a two for one deal when you visit the Museum of Warmia & Masuria because it is located inside of Olsztyn’s impressive red-brick 14th century castle; which is the most important historic structure in the city. One of the first things you will see is a bronze of Nicolaus Copernicus, a Renaissance-era mathematician and astronomer, who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than Earth at its centre. He actually lived in the castle between 1516 – 1520 and made some of his famous observations there. You can still see some of his work today.

Further information.

2. The Olsztyn Castle

The Olsztyn Castle is a red-brick 14th century Gothic castle located in the heart of Olsztyn adorned with corner turrets, and is the former home of Nicolaus Copernicus. Today, the castle houses the Museum of Warmia & Masuria. Miraculously, the castle came through the war without damage, and today it is one of Poland’s best preserved medieval castles.There’s a lot to see within the castle including a beautiful courtyard with two story arcaded galleries, a vaulted cellar, the vaulted Grand Refectory, the chapel, and various exhibitions.

Further information.

3. The Cathedral

The 14th century Gothic cathedral contains some magnificent works of art including two Late Gothic winged altars (triptychs) from the 16th century. The cathedral’s 7-story tower was added in 1596.

Further information.

4. Lake Ukiel

The largest lake within the city limits and a favourite place for the locals to visit. You’ll find people swimming, boating, cycling, walking or just chilling. The lake is 4.1 sq km long and 43m deep.

5. Wolf’s Lair (95km from Olsztyn)

The Wolf’s Lair (Wolfsschanze in German) is hidden in thick forest in the Masurian woods, 8km east of Kętrzyn and was Hitler’s main headquarters during WWII. The complex, which became one of several Führer Headquarters in various parts of Central and Eastern Europe, was built for the start of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. A famous attempt to assassinate the Führer took place here on 20th July 1944. Today, it is 18 hectares of huge, overgrown and partly destroyed bunkers. During World War II, it was a top-secret, high security site surrounded by three security zones and guarded by personnel from the SS-Begleitkommando des Führers, Reichssicherheitsdienst and the Wehrmacht’s armoured Führerbegleitbrigade.

Further information.

6. Museum of Folk Architecture

Located in the north eastern outskirts of Olsztynek is this open-air museum featuring 74 examples of regional timber architecture from Warmia and Masuria, plus a cluster of Lithuanian houses. You’ll find dwellings, farm buildings, churches, a water mill, oil house and a smithy. The museum is best visited in summer when special events take place and demonstrations of local handicrafts can be watched in some of the buildings.

Further information.

For further information about things to do in Olsztyn – Click here.

Wolf’s Lair

The Wolf’s Lair (Wolfsschanze in German) is hidden in thick forest in the Masurian woods, 8km east of Kętrzyn and was Hitler’s main headquarters during WWII. The complex, which became one of several Führer Headquarters in various parts of Central and Eastern Europe, was built for the start of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. A famous attempt to assassinate the Führer took place here on 20th July 1944.

Today, it is 18 hectares of huge, overgrown and partly destroyed bunkers. During World War II, it was a top-secret, high security site surrounded by three security zones and guarded by personnel from the SS-Begleitkommando des Führers, Reichssicherheitsdienst and the Wehrmacht’s armoured Führerbegleitbrigade.

The complex was an impressive feat of engineering with a remote location carefully chosen far away from typical aerial bombing targets such as transport routes and towns. 3,000 German labourers were involved in its construction consisting of 80 structures. These included seven bombproof bunkers for the top leaders of the Third Reich with walls and ceiling up to 8m thick.

The security around the bunkers was impressive and included barbed wire barriers, gun emplacements and minefields in addition to some of Hitler’s most war-hardened troops. The camp included an emergency airstrip and a backup airfield 5km away to allow the Nazi Elite a quick exit if the need ever arose. The natural camouflage of the forest was further enhanced with artificial vegetation-like screens suspended on wires and changed according to the season of the year. The Allies did not discover the site until 1945.

Hitler spent a long time in the Wolf’s Lair. He arrived on 26th June 1941 and stayed there until 20th November 1944 with only short trips away from the complex.

Having survived an assassination attempt within the complex in July 1944, Hitler left the Wolf’s Lair as the Soviet Red Army approached a few months later.

The Wolf’s Lair complex was blown up on the 24 January 1945, just three days before the Red Army arrived. The minefield protecting the now ruined bunkers was still active with approximately 55,000 mines and it took 10 years to make the complex safe.

There’s not a lot to see nowadays, but with a little imagination and a site map or tour guide, you will be able to get a flavour of what life must have been like at Wolfsschanze. The structures of the complex are conveniently numbered so that you can quickly ascertain what purpose they served. Number 13 is Adolf Hitler’s bunker; which is now just one wall but Göring’s home, number 16 is in surprisingly good condition.

The full-day private guided tour to Wolf’s Lair is highly recommended. Follow your local guide into the forest to find the Wolf’s Lair, feel the atmosphere filled with historical events and search for the hidden secrets of this big area.

For anyone staying in the capital, the Day-tour from Warsaw to the Wolf’s Lair is excellent. Your guide will pick you up from your hotel and drive with you to the Wolf’s Lair, where you will explore the complex with him or a local guide. After 3 hours you’ll drive back to Warsaw.

Visit the Wolf’s Lair website.

Warmia-Masuria (Warminsko-Mazurskie)

Warmia-Masuria (Warminsko-Mazurskie) is the water sports capital of Poland and it is dominated by the Great Masurian Lakes. Every year, thousands of kayakers, windsurfers and sailors arrive in the province to have fun on the water.

At 24,192 square kilometres, Warmia-Masuria is not the biggest region in Poland but it sure has a lot to offer. Once you’ve explored the lakes, you can experience water of a different sort on one of the world’s most intriguing canals, the Elbląg–Ostróda; which runs 80.5 kilometres southward from Lake Drużno to the river Drwęca and lake Jeziorak. The canal uses a system of inclined planes between lakes to overcome a 100 m difference in water levels and is considered one of the most significant monuments related to the history of technology.

The region also has countless rivers, swamps and wetlands to have fun in. The River Krutynia, which flows from Lake Warpuńskie into Lake Bełdany is a popular destination for kayakers and is considered to be one of the most picturesque waterways in Poland.

The province's name derives from two historic regions, Warmia and Masuria and its capital and largest city is Olsztyn.

The region is home to Hitler’s wartime hideout, the Wolf’s Lair, one of Europe’s most significant WWII sites. There’s also Palaces, Gothic castles, Gothic churches and museums to explore.

One of the most-visited attractions in Warmia-Masuria is the Lidzbark Castle; which was the residence of bishops for hundreds of years. It was here that Nicolaus Copernicus sketched the first draft of his theory on the movement of the Earth.

The Wolf’s Lair in Gierłoż is well-worth a visit. Wolf’s Lair is the standard English name for Wolfsschanze, Adolf Hitler’s first World War II Eastern Front military headquarters, one of several Führerhauptquartier (Führer Headquarters) or FHQs located in various parts of Europe. Hitler first arrived at the Wolf’s Lair late on the night of 23 June 1941 and departed for the last time on 20 November 1944. Overall, he spent over 800 days there during that 3.5 year period.

The Germans blew up this enormous complex of 80 buildings and bunkers near the end of World War II, but some buildings remain. You can also see the remains of the conference barrack that was the scene of an unsuccessful attempt on Hitler’s life.

Other places that are worth visiting include: the pyramid in Rapa; which is the family mausoleum of the von Fahrenheid family and is loosely inspired by the architecture of ancient Egypt. The family members buried there were mummified.

The English version official website for Warmia and Masuria is actually quite good and is worth looking through for further information about the region – https://mazury.travel/en/