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Riese Project

The Riese complex, an unfinished project carried out by Nazi Germany in the Sowie Mountains during the last years of the war (1943-1945), remains an unsolved mystery for historians and explorers (including speleologists).

photo: Walim – one of the entrances to Riese 

fot. Osówka – one of entrances to Riese

Seventy years after the end of the greatest armed conflict in history, we know little more about this mysterious network of underground corridors, tunnels and bunkers than we did in the late 1940s. The strategic location in the Sowie Mountains in the Sudetes was most likely to provide a safe shelter for the employees of one of Adolf Hitler’s headquarters – the Książ Castle was prepared to perform this function at one time, along with tunnels drilled underground. Sometimes there is talk of the intention to move secret factories to the Sudetes to manufacture weapons (perhaps even the famous Wunderwaffe, whatever it may be). Underground shelters, old mine galleries or tunnels bored from scratch could also serve, which cannot be ruled out, as shown by some unexplained events from the last months of the war and the first years after its end, hiding treasures, works of art and valuables stolen by the Nazis. (including the legendary gold of Wrocław). The complex, codenamed Olbrzym, included facilities such as in Walim, Głuszyca, Soboń, Włodarz and Książ Castle. Although the works were carried out in several other locations, the entrances to the underground in the vicinity of Moszna or Wielka Sowa have not been found so far, just as there is no access to some rooms separated by collapses. Nowadays, four objects are partially open to organized tourist traffic: the Underground City of Osówka (approx. 1500 m of tunnels, halls and bunkers), the Walimskie Adit (Rzeczka, approx. 500 m of underground workings), Włodarz (two levels, an underground cinema and the possibility of getting by boat) flooded fragments of the complex) and Książ Castle (an approx. 100-meter section of the tunnel is available for visiting). And to think that all this is only a small part of the buildings created as part of the project not accidentally called the Giant – roughly half of the tunnels existing somewhere in the Owl Mountains have not yet been discovered …

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