The Masurian canal is situated in an adorable landscape with deep forests and thousand lakes. In the middle of this are giant locks on land, dry hand-digged canals, and other strange things. Now we will look at the remains of the Masurian canal.


No space for ships any more.

The Masurian Canal is old

The canal has actually been around for a long time. Already 1764-1776 a lane was built which connected the Łyna River (today Russia) and Lake Mamry (today Poland).

Masurischer Kanal Verlauf 001

Due to shipping development towards larger ships, they were allowed to modernize and expand the canal on a regular basis.

Belonged to Germany

Before the First World War broke out, this area belonged to Germany and was called Ostpreussen (East Prussia). It was an important part of Germany and the capital was called Königsberg. Königsberg was then one of the most important cities around the Baltic Sea.masurian-canal-poland-3

Having a modern channel from the lakes in southern East Prussia would provide another economic boost for the area. In 1911, therefore, extensive modernization was initiated for the ever bigger ships.


The highest lock is over 20 meters high. Note that you can see where the Reichsadler was mounted.

The channel would be 50.4 km long. However, they could never finish because of the outburst of World War I. Intensive battles were ongoing in the area.

Russian revolution delays the project

In the 1920s the work was resumed, but due to the Russian revolution, the entire project was delayed and canceled.masurian-canal-poland-5

Adolf Hitler continues the work

In the 1930s, they began to work again. This on order by Adolf Hitler, who had millions of unemployed to put in work.

The stretches of the canal that were completed could handle 7.7 m wide, 45 m long and 2.5 m deep ships. As you can understand, it takes really big locks and extreme amounts of concrete for such a project.masurian-canal-poland-6

When everything was ready to begin, instead the World War II started. The workers became soldiers.

Masurian canal as defense barrier

In the final stages of the war, the Masurian canal was re-worked as a final defensive barrier for retiring German forces.masurian-canal-poland-7

When the Second World War ended, the East Prussia became a part of the Soviet Union. All modern equipment on the locks was mounted down and shipped to Russia. Whats left are only the wounds in the landscape and huge concrete buildings.masurian-canal-poland-8

Nature hides a lot, but on satellite images, the tracks from the dead canal are clearly visible.