Project "Riese" -
Hints for Visitors
The following information is provided for those who may wish to visit the sites of Project "Riese".
It is likely not possible to reach all of these sites without your own transportation (you might be able to reach the Walim/Rzeczka tunnel system by bus, as it is located on a public highway). A good road map of Poland is very useful, but the best way to find these sites is by using a GPS/Navi device that allows you to enter latitude/longitude coordinates. These coordinates can be found in the Google Maps links on the main "Riese" page, and also on the Wikipedia page for "Riese." Using the GPS coordinates (not street addresses) will take you directly to the sites which are open to the public.
All three of the tunnel systems open to the public require you to pay and join a guided tour - you cannot enter the tunnels on your own. The guided tours may be given in Polish or German, but most likely only in Polish. An audio guide in various languages (including English) is available for a small fee, but only at the Osówka Complex. The entry fees for each site vary from about $4-$7 each. All of the tunnel systems are dark, cold, and wet, with muddy uneven rocky floors. Good boots or shoes are essential, and a jacket and hand flashlight are highly recommended (you will really need the flashlight on some of the tours). Also, all of the tours go up and down steps to different levels in the tunnels - these are metal or wooden steps, and can be slippery. These tours are not for people with mobility difficulties.
With prior planning, and during the tourist season when the tunnels are open longer (with more tours during the afternoon), you can visit all three of the public tunnel systems, plus the facility at Fürstenstein Castle, in one day (if you stay in a hotel in the general area). However, if time will not allow you to visit all of the tunnel systems, I recommend the Osówka Complex first, as it is the most finished of the three with the largest corridors and chambers, and possibly the most interesting, and an English audio guide is available. Next, visit the Walim/Rzeczka Complex, as it is the easiest to find and although it is the smallest, the guided tour takes you through the entire tunnel complex. In my opinion, the Włodarz (Wolfsberg) Complex is only for those who have the time to see all of the "Riese" sites.
Osówka Complex - GPS N50.66988 E16.41845 -- This site has a modern restaurant, toilets, and a good bookshop. There is a small fee (about $1.30) for parking. You buy an entry ticket and rent an audio guide at the bookshop, then walk around and down to the right on a dirt path that leads to the tunnel entrance, where you will meet the guide. This was the only "Riese" site I visited where English was spoken (but not by the tour guide). Make sure the person who rents you the audio guide tests it (working battery) before you head out to the tunnel entrance.
Walim (Rzeczka) Complex - GPS N50.68861 E16.44444 -- This is the easiest "Riese" site to find, located on a main public road, with convenient parking available. There is a bookshop at the site, where you buy the entry tickets (staff here spoke German, but no English), and the tunnel entrance is just to the right (as you leave the bookshop). This is the smallest tunnel system open to the public, but the tour covers the entire complex. There are somewhat primitive toilet facilities at the bookshop.
Włodarz (Wolfsberg) Complex - GPS N50.68861 E16.44444 -- This is the largest tunnel system, but the most difficult to find and reach (out away from civilization, at the end of a dirt road), and possibly the least impressive, as it is the least finished. Most of the tunnel corridors are simply bare rock, like an ordinary mine tour. There is a boat ride across some of the flooded sections - this requires a somewhat awkward getting into and out of the boat. You also have to get across a wet area in a tunnel by jumping on stepping stones (again, these tours are not for folks with mobility issues). There is a small museum (it wasn't open when I was there), and a snack area (also not open when I was there). Toilet facilities are porta-johns.
There are also "Riese" theme museums (small displays, mostly pictures) at Sokolec and the Molke Museum at Ludwikowice / Milków (the location of the "Henge").
Third Reich in Ruins, http://www.thirdreichruins.com/
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This page initially uploaded on 20 July 2000.