Project 22: Raddusch Slavic Fort

A fort from the past

The Raddusch Slavic Fort is hard to miss; it is on the motorway to Cottbus. Over a thousand years ago, a Slavic refuge fort stood on this site. The remains of the original building were discovered in an archaeological dig that preceded the Vetschau open-cast mining operation. The exterior is a replica of the original, and it houses archaeological finds that tell visitors about 10,000 years of civilisation in Lusatia – showing that Lusatia has a heritage beyond its industrial past.


Like the local villages, many archaeological sites were bulldozered to make room for the large-scale open-cast mines. Only a few of these relics of early history could be studied by archaeologists before the bulldozers arrived; one of these was the Slavic refuge fort that was excavated on the edge of the Seese-Ost open-cast mine from 1984 to 1990. The original fort only survives today because mining stopped prematurely in 1990.

This fort was built by the »original Lusatians.« The Slavic Lusitzer people settled in Lusatia around the ninth century. They gave the region its name – and left behind about forty wood-and-earth constructions. Stacked oak stakes, a withy parapet, and a trench emphasised the fortification’s defensive character. These ring wall-shaped compounds have survived over centuries as a typical feature of the Lusatian landscape – sometimes standing out in the landscape as tree-covered hills.
At the beginning of the nineteen-nineties the Brandenburgische Landesamt für Denkmalpflege and the Archäologisches Landesmuseum (BLDAM) planned the »Raddusch Slavic Fort« project – a replica with integrated exhibition spaces.


Employees of the Archäologisches Landesmuseum in Potsdam took advantage of the mine restoration to successfully persuade the LMBV to use mine restoration funds to create a memorial to the destroyed archaeological sites. The city of Vetschau, showing considerable spirit, took on ownership of the fort. The IBA worked out a plan for running it and supported its implementation. An event and design advisory council then took up the job, providing clear guidelines for the project. The structures revealed by the archaeological evidence were to be reproduced as accurately as possible, while additions that were not based on the evidence or functionally necessary were to be made from deliberately modern materials. The clear vocabulary of architectonic forms seen in the project and the exhibition design extends to the inner furnishings and the inner courtyard’s design.

The design was created by the architecture firm Ulrich Sasse in Cottbus.
The archaeology of the lignite – the results of digs and research – allowed the exterior of the original building to be reproduced exactly. While the Slavic-period wall was solid wood, earth, sand, and clay, today it is hollow and provides space for exhibitions, a lecture theatre, a museum shop and a restaurant. Today, visitors to the ring-shaped building can go on a journey through time. Archaeological finds combined with modern multimedia technology tell the story of Lusatia’s history. This tension between the old and the new is what makes this whole project special.

In 2003, the Raddusch Slavic Fort was opened to the public. In its first year, it received 70,000 visitors interested in learning about life in Lusatia from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages and experiencing cultural events. The inner courtyard is used for folk music concerts, ballet, and opera performances, medieval markets, and many other events.
Step by step, the area around the Slavic fort was developed. In 2005, a Zeitsteg (time walkway) leading around the fort was opened, with tree-covered islands with seating arranged along the route symbolising different epochs in the area’s settlement history. A wooden play area brings the time of the Lusitzer alive for children. The circles of trees pick up on different exhibition themes and apply them to the landscape in a playful way. The same principle of only using authentic materials where historical evidence exists applies here.


On the border between Spreewald and Lower Lusatia, the Raddusch Slavic Fort has become a popular tourist attraction and a popular venue for events. The location will be further improved by the flooding of Lübbenau’s Lake Bischdorf – formerly the Seese-Ost open-cast mine. By 2012, this relatively small lake (about 255 hectares wide) will have reached its target water level and, according to the city of Lübbenau’s plans, will have become a modern water sports centre. An asphalt path for cyclists and skaters has already been built on the edge of the lake. There are plans for a campsite and a holiday complex, as well as a water aerodrome site. The historic nature of the Slavic fort will be part of the lake’s tourism industry – with dugout canoes and Slavic-style huts to provide shelter.

Opening times

Opening hours
April - October: Daily from 10.00 a.m. to 06.00 p.m.

November - March: Daily from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.

Last admission to the exhibition 30 minutes before close


Adults: Euros 4.00 Euro

Children from 6 to 14 years of age: Euros 2.00

Family card (2 adults, 3 children), Euros 10.00

Guided tours from 10 persons up

Guided tour for adults: Euros 1.50

Guided tour for children from the age of 6 to 14: Euro 0.75
(Further opening hours and prices for groups upon request)


Slawenburg Raddusch
Zur Slawenburg 1
OT Raddusch
03226 Vetschau/Spreewald

Download the flyer: Slavic Fort Raddusch (918.8 KB)


Go by car to the Slavic fort or by public transportation:

VBB fahrinfo - Link (mit Vorbelegung)
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last update: 1/26/2017 13:13