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Fort P Bema (Warsaw, Poland)

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Fort P (Parysów) Bema was one of the fortifications that consituted the Warsaw Fortress in the 19th century.

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      21.04.2009 16:14
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      Well worth a stroll

      Fort Bema is rarely if ever visited by tourists, mostly because for some reason it's not mentioned in books. I think that's a big shame, it's well worth a visit - particularly if you are in the vicinity of Powazki Cemetery from where it is just 3-4 bus stops (depending on which bus - 170 or 180) and a short walk.

      The entrance to Fort Bema is located to the left of Gen. Maczka - a large instantly recognisable ugly grey building. First there is a church, then some gates to Fort Bema, a potholed and rarely used road leads the way past a miserable looking banquet hall despite the green grass by the road, very little is there to suggest that this is anything other than an unused depressive Soviet style wasteland. First up is a roundabout with an old school model aeroplane - the type you are more likely to find in Ukraine. A few metres on and you are likely to see a dog or two and perhaps a few parked cars. This is Fort Bema, a wonderful grassy area with large trees, a moat around it and an unused fort which is still in near perfect condition from the outside.

      An exceptionally relaxed place, it is behind what is a relatively well-to-do family area and an ideal place to have a barbeque, sit with friends and enjoy the nature and sneak in a few crafty ales or a bottle of vino, like elsewhere in Poland - it's in theory illegal but the lack of checks means that it is a wiser place to do it that on a sunny day in a central park.

      The fort has an interesting history, built in the late 1800s by the Russians, it formed part of the Warsaw fort system, which at one time consisted of around 40 forts to protect the city from the pesky Austro-Hungarians. Few of them are left standing today, either destroyed in battles or turned in to car parks and shopping malls. Fort Bema is perhaps the best example of one left, it survived WW2 undamaged although the Germans did use it as a base to attack the Polish resistance army. Fort Parysow (part of the complex) is a series of brick shelters that was used to store ammo and later German prisoners of war - still stands today.

      Exploring the chambers, some of which have been tastefully grafittied is part of the fun.

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      Fort P (Parysów) Bema was one of the fortifications that consituted the Warsaw Fortress in the 19th century.