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Old and New Włochy: A walk through the Garden City

We start our walk in Fort V “Włochy”. Built by the Russians in 1883, it is one of the forts of the Warsaw Fortress. In 1909, an order was issued to liquidate it, as a result of which the caponiers were blown up, but the rest of the fort has survived to this day and serves as a recreational facility.

The next stop is Park z Stawami Cietrzewia (Park with Black Grouse Ponds). They were created from excavations for the extraction of clay for the nearby brickyard. After the raw material was exhausted, the clay pits were used as icehouses, and then they were filled with water and became known as Stawy Cietrzewia (Black Grouse Ponds) – from the name of one of the streets adjacent to the park.

Another interesting place can be found after moving from Old to New Włochy. The Bright House is a villa which, from 1945, housed the prison and the headquarters of the NKVD. A few years ago, in its cellars – former cells – inscriptions made by prisoners were discovered. They indicate that in the Bright House were imprisoned e.g. Captain Witold Pilecki and general Emil Fieldorf “Nil”.

Right next to it is the Veterans’ Park (with benches from the interwar period). In September 1944, the Nazis gathered over 4,000 men there and deported them to concentration camps as part of repression. After the Uprising, it was a transit camp, from which displaced Varsovians were transported to Pruszków.

The park itself hides one more attraction. It is a 17th-century palace, serving as the residence of the Koelichens for years. At the beginning of World War II, a hospital operated in it for several months, and since 1947 it has housed the library of Włochy district.

Author of the route proposal and photos: Magdalena Łoboda
Fort V we Włochach. Widok na ceglany, budynek forteczny. Przed nim zielony cyprys. Na dachu zielona trawa. Całość otoczona młodymi drzewami. Dzień, lato.
Fort V Włochy, fot. Magdalena Łoboda