One of the four forts of Fortress Świnoujście, built in the mid-19th century on Usedom Island. Today the fort is the seat of the Świnoujście Fortress History Museum.
Fort West is one of the four forts of the Świnoujście Fortress. It was built in the years 1856-1861. Its task was to defend the port against enemy ships. It was a one-story redoubt built on a square plan. A few years later, it was reinforced with brick wings and surrounded by an earth embankment and a water moat. After 1878, a coastal battery with an artillery terrace and casemates was fortified. Later, the artillery redoubt turned into a redoubt fort, and more cannons were designed. The next stage in the development of the fort was the appearance of machine guns and light mortars.
After World War I, the fort was disarmed. The fort was armed again in the interwar period, when a battery of four 150 mm coastal guns was installed. In 1941, a concrete command bunker was erected on the west wing of the fort. After 1945, the Russians built three more bunkers - in the center of the fort and at both ends of it. After the war, the fort was used by the Soviet navy. In 1962, it was handed over to the city, but Soviet units were stationed in Świnoujście until 1992.
An interesting fact is that it was from Fort West that the battleship Schleswig Holnstein set off, which on September 1, 1939 shelled Westerplatte, starting World War II.
In 2001, a group of enthusiasts from the "Reduta" Association leased the area of the fort. After revitalization, in 2004, the Świnoujście Fortress History Museum was opened in the fort.
The exhibition consists of a museum part and an open-air part. The museum part is divided into four thematic sections. The first one presents the Prussian times of the 19th and 20th centuries. The second section covers the interwar period and the period of World War II. The third section presents the times of the "Cold War". In the fourth one you can see the history of the naval port and exhibits of wrecks. The outdoor exhibition features cannons, sea mines, torpedoes, rocket launchers and depth charges. The entire facility is surrounded by a water moat and covers an area of approx. 2 ha.
The sightseeing route includes the museum room and the marked trail around the entire fort. A guardhouse, a fire control tower, underground and artillery positions are available to visitors. Organized groups are shown by a guide. The duration of visiting the entire facility is approx. 1 hour. Tourists visiting the fort in summer must remember to wear warm clothes due to the low temperature in the facility.
More similar attractions await fans of military and history in Świnoujście, because three of the four forts built in the 19th century have survived to this day and all of them are open to the public.