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Fortress Grauerort Germany

Prussian fortress architecture of the 19th century

The artillery fort at the Elbe

Fortress Grauerort is a Prussian high wall fort on a small headland directly at the waterway of the Elbe. It was built North of fortress city Stade from 1869-79 to protect Hamburg port located 50km away from enemy ships from the North Sea. Therefore, the fort was equipped with two 68 m long sides along the Elbe which offered space for altogether 10 modern cannons.

The fort was decommissioned in 1895 and survived both World Wars almost without damage. Today fortress Grauerort has large offers for tourists. Located directly at the Elbe Cycle Route, it offers country woman cake in the Cafeteria. In the museum area and during interesting Fortress tours secrets about the history and special architecture of the fortress are disclosed. A tour with the historic Field train „Groveblitz“ at the fortress area is the highlight for all visitors.

The event offers reach from iconic concerts like the Unplugged Sessions, to hobby and art exhibitions, Old timer meeting, history spectacles to the famous Bützfleth Christmas market. Often the special atmosphere at fortress Grauerort serves as a wedding or party location.

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Experience World

Fortress Grauerort (Grove)


A visit of the fort becomes a tour into the past. Discover the diverse offers at fortress Grauerort with FORTE CULTURA®, directly at the Elbe Cycle Route. Dive into the adventurous history of the small headland which served the Kehding pirates as their base of attack already in the 13th century.

Get carried away by the historic atmosphere and enjoy the special atmosphere of a former Prussian artillery fort on numerous events and culture events

Landing bridge of fortress Grauerort (mines – loading bridge)


Fortress Grauerort was relieved in 1895 from its original function as artillery fort. In World War I it was used as a provisional depot for sea mines which solidified from 1922. In 1926 fortress Grauerort received an own landing bridge, which allowed the loading of sea mines until 1945. The transport from the fort to the ships was done with a specially created field train, today’s “Groveblitz”.
From 1948 until the 1960s the tourist café “Klein Helgoland” was located at the landing bridge as a stop for Hamburg tour ships. Later this historic building was “moved” into the Kirchstraße and today is the Bützflether shooting range.
The former landing bridge is now closed. But the beautiful beach, the far view across the Elbe and the big pots are still worth a visit into the history of this location.

„Groveblitz“ - Fieldtrain Fortress Grauerort


At the fortress area of fortress Grauerort, there is a regularly going field train round tour for visitors with a track width of 600mm. Committed field train friends invite the visitors to have a seat in the old rebuilt ammunition wagons. The train track shows a beautiful landscape and leads on one kilometer from the engine shed to the former landing bridge at the Elbe and back.

"Groveblitz" tours on Sundays and holiday: 11:30/13:00/14:30 o’clock (additional tours on request)

Tour Offers and Information

Association Festung Grauerort e.V.

tours: 5 € per person (including entrance)
requests and booking: Edgar Deutschmann 0170/4137608


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Monument and History


Already the Kehdinger Seeräuber saw the strategic meaning of the well-location headland of Grove (Grauerort) into the Elbe. They started their raids in the 13th/14th century until the bishop of Bremen and Verden finally put a stop to this.

At the beginning of the 18th century the Schweden ebuilt an entrenchment North of today’s fort to stop the advance of the Danish over land. 100 years later the French built a coast battery to enforce their continental barrier and stationed a whole company of French infantry.

The founding of the „North German Confederation“ lead the Preußen to Stade in 1866. They also saw the location advantage and built the artillery fort from 1869 to 1879 with new-Prussian fortress architecture, today’s fortress Grauerort. Already during the German French war from 1870/71 Grauerort was used provisionally but stayed undamaged. Outdated because of the fast weapon development, the fortress was deleted from the row of active fortresses in 1895.
From 1914 the fortress was used as a provisional mine depot of the imperial navy. Outside the fortress walls a depot area for ammunition was added in the West. The explosion of the actual mine depot Cuxhaven-Groden (1922) helped fortress Grauerort to get the official status as marine depot and in 1926 the landing bridge in the Elbe. Over this bridge ships could be directly loaded and unloaded, completed by the field train between the fort and the landing bridge. The depot use continued during World War II and two anti-aircraft guns were installed on the fortress.

After fortress Grauerort was occupied by the British Army in 1945, the fortress was preserved and served as an emergency accommodation until the end of the 50s. From 1960-1985 the fortress area served as a place for the disassembly of ammunition.

Fortress Grauerort forfeited until volunteers started to stand up for the preservation of the facility. The landmarked facility has been professionally renovated since 1997 by the association fortress Grauerort e.V. and is operated as a museum and event location.

Quelle: Hannelore Schneidereit
Quelle: Merian
Quelle: ©
Quelle: ©Michael Meister, Lübeck


The brick stone fortress Grauerort is located directly at the Elbe dike and has a hexagonal groundplan. The earth walls of the fortress reach up to 10 meters. Therefore, it is a high wallf ort.

The walls in the direction of the Elbe have casemates. The central work of the casemates has anammunition lift. Jede der beiden 68 Meter langen Festungsflanken wurde mit jeweils fünf modernen Hinterlader-Rücklauf-Geschützen bestückt.

Each of the 68m long fortress sides was equipped with five modern back chargers return cannon each.
To the Elbe, the fort is additionally secured with a 3 meters high Carnot Wall (Escarpe) which was to be defended by two throatlatch bunkers with cannons and weapons. The landside walls were surrounded by a 20m wide water trench. The only way to enter the fortress was a folding bridge in the South. From there through a gallery with anti-storm grid you reach the inside of the fortress. A gun caponier and a watch bunker secured the bridge.

Already in 1895 the fort was evaluated as outdated because of the fast development of weapon technique and was deleted from the fortress list. The reconstruction to a mine depot from World War I needed architectural changes. These are being removed since 1997 by the funding association fortress Grauerort e.V. regarding the landmark status of the facility. With diverse culture events, historic festivals, and professional tours the Fortress Grauerort can be experienced as important military historic cultural heritage of the metropolis region Hamburg and the Elbe fortresses.

Quelle: Stade Tourismus
Quelle: Verein Festung Grauerort e.V.

Nature Experience

The fortress Grauerort, located in a piece of woodlands only a few meters away from the Elberadweg (Elbe Cycle Route), the Elbe Dike and the Elbe Beach , is an insider tip, also for nature lovers. 40 idyllic caravan parking spots offer best conditions for camping vagrants for one or more nights.

The natural history museum PANGAEA opens its small exhibitions in two rooms in the entrance area of fortress Grauerort for kingergarden and school groups, birthday and group events, families and fortress visitors. The diverse museum educational offers are completed by nature tours about geology, botany, zoology, or the treasury Elbe.

Elbe Hike and Cycle Route
Diverse nature panoramas with marshland, swamps and the connection to history, architecture, culture and ar. Cyclist and hikers know the Elbe Cycle Route well beyond the surrounding regions. Fortress Grauerort develops with historic and cultural highlights more and more to a famous stage goal.

Also the North Sea Coast Cycle Route and the Cycle Round Route „From Devil’s swamp to mud flats“ attract numerous active nature lovers. The Elbe marshland between Stade and Cuxhaven are a unique bird migration and breeding area. bird watching-Tour

The 40 square kilometers large Kehding swamp (upland moor) offers hiking and cycle routes but also guided tours to discover.swamp watching-our

Tide watch tour allow to get to know the unique tide landscape of the Elbe in connection to water and to discover the reed paradises of the Lower Elbe.

Quelle: Touristikverein Kehdingen
Quelle: Von ItDozent - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Quelle: ©Mario Weigt Photography
Quelle: ©Verein Festung Grauerort