Fort Sarbinowo - Atlas Obscura

Fort Sarbinowo

Sarbinowo, Poland

This abandoned but well-preserved Prussian fortress sits abandoned in a Polish forest near the German border. 

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Fort Sarbinowo, previously known as Fort Zorndorf in German, was one of four Prussian fortresses built in the late 19th century around the riverside city of Kostrzyn nad Odrą (then called Küstrin) on the Polish-German border. It was designed to defend against a possible Russian assault on Berlin.

While its sister fortresses in Golgast (across the river in Germany), Czarnów, and Żabice (in Poland) have since been turned into museums or shooting ranges, Fort Sarbinowo, the largest and most impressive of the four fortresses, has been fully abandoned and left to the elements.

Fort Sarbinowo was used as a prisoner of war camp during World War I, and detonations during the fort’s use as an ammunition depot during World War II caused part of the structure to collapse, likely contributing to its abandonment when the territory was ceded to Poland after 1945.

Today, the entire structure remains entirely unmarked and unattended in the forest east of Kostrzyn. Its massive brick structures and extensive tunnels continue to impress the rare visitors who come to find it. Curious visitors can pay for entrance to its sister forts in Golgast, Czarnów, or Żabice for a taste of what the fort must have looked like at its peak, but the abandoned Fort Sarbinowo continues to have a charm and a beauty all its own.

Know Before You Go

Fort Sarbinowo is located about halfway between Kostryzn and Sarbinowo off of country road 31 (ul. Sportowa) and is best accessed by car (no signage; pull over near the coordinates and walk 5-10 minutes). It's also possible to hike to the fort from Kostrzyn (ca. 4km each way), which is itself accessible by train from Berlin, Szczecin, Poznań and Zielona Góra.

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