Getting fortified in Biskupin Poland

For a place that was first built about 2700 years ago the settlement at Biskupin in north-central Poland is actually in pretty good shape.

That’s because Biskupin is now an archaeological open air museum and much of it has been rebuilt to reflect how it would have looked many centuries ago.

It is actually a life-size model of an original Iron Age fortified settlement, and it is an important element of Poland’s living history.

The discovery of this site is quite impressive, as it was founded by students in the year 1933. The students initially noticed some wooden poles sticking out of the surface of the lake. They later informed their teacher who told a local archaeologist about the find. Many excavations of the site were made, and it became famous in Poland after it was referred to as the `Polish Pompeii’. World War II intervened but excavations continued under the patronage of Heinrich Himmler.

This Iron Age village was built on a flat island and surrounded by a barricade consisting of a wooden framework filled with earth and sand. The well-known Biskupin excavations are located on a peninsula which is encircled by lakes and swamps.

Surrounded by a long oak rampart, the village covers about 2 hectares of the peninsula and is fortified with an 8 metre long breakwater. To enter the museum you have to cross the impressive gate and the wooden tower that overlooks the whole village and its surroundings. Inside you will find 13 rows of identical log cabins, lining the narrow streets and filled with numerous personal belongings of the original dwellers. Nearby there is also an indoor museum outlining the history of the ancient village and its environs, both in Polish and English.

Biskupin is probably the most interactive archaeological site in Europe today. Indeed, this ancient village offers more entertainment than any of the world-famous Roman and Greek excavation sites to which Biskupin is compared. Only here can you stroll through the ancient streets, enter the log houses and touch every object inside. What’s more, during the archaeological fairs organized here ever year, you can watch staged episodes from the region’s history and learn all about the cooking, sewing and hunting techniques of Biskupin’s first settlers.

The Museum in Biskupin is open all year round from 8:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. (in winter until dusk). The tour lasts about 2 hours. The tourist season lasts whole year and even in winter time you may visit the place. Guides are available mostly for groups that have booked ahead, but it is possible also to be cared by them just when you arrive.

Biskupin can be reached from Gasawa by bus or from Znin by the historic Narrow Gauge Railway.

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