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Hel Peninsula as seen from the tallest building in Władysławowo
Wooden house from circa 1850, now a restaurant


Hel Peninsula ( ; ; ; or Putziger Nehrung) is a 35-km-long sand bar peninsula in northern Polandmarker separating the Bay of Puck from the open Baltic Seamarker. It is located in Puck Countymarker of the Pomeranian Voivodeshipmarker.

Geography

The width of the peninsula varies from approximately 300 m. near Juratamarker, through 100 m in the most narrow part to over 3 km at the tip. Since the peninsula was formed entirely of sand, it is frequently turned into an island by winter storms. Until the 17th century the peninsula was a chain of islands that formed a strip of land only during the summer.

A road and a railroad run along the peninsula from the mainland to the town located at the furthest point, Helmarker, a popular tourist destination. Other towns, ports, and tourist resorts are Juratamarker, Jastarniamarker, Kuźnicamarker, Chałupymarker, and Władysławowomarker.

Military importance

After the peninsula became part of the Second Polish Republicmarker after World War I, it acquired considerable military significance, and was turned into a fortified regionmarker, with a garrison of about 3,000. In the course of the Battle of Hel in 1939, Polish forces dynamited the peninsula at one point, turning it into an island.

During the years of German occupation (1939–1945), Hel's defenses were further expanded, and a battery of three 406 mm guns was constructed, though the guns were soon moved to the Atlantic Wall in occupied Francemarker. The peninsula remained in German hands until the end of World War II, when the defending forces surrendered on May 10, 1945.

After the war Hel continued to have military significance, with much of its area reserved for military use. Additional gun batteries were built during the 1940s and 1950s. Today many of the fortifications and batteries are open to tourists, though some areas of the peninsula still belong to the Polish Armed Forces.

Cultural references

During an episode of the cartoon Metalocalypse, members of the band Dethklok perform a concert near the Hel Peninsula, the episode states they play the concert "near Danzigmarker."

See also



References


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