New possibilities in the old fort.

The unique fort Oberer Eselsberg Nebenwerk Ulm



In Germany is it as such unique. And it could be opened to a wide public as an impressive European touristic destination and, with its many old vaults and green areas, as a relaxing meeting point for the new districts of Ulm. But it is threatened with decline. Some neighbouring craftsmen wish to stop this decline - without money from the owner, the Land Baden-Württemberg. We are speaking of the fort Oberer Eselsberg Nebenwerk near the University of Ulm.


Constructed 1883-1887, this 2 hectares fort is the only largely preserved and occasionally opened to the public "Biehler Einheitsfort" in Germany. But this listed fortification is threatens to decline. Whole lines of bricks collapse from the walls, ramparts slip in trenches. Experienced craftsmen want to give this decline an end. After all, this is a listed building of the Land Baden-Württemberg. In spring, they produced a concept, with which the Nebenwerk could immediately be renovated and this, without any direct monetary help from the state. On the occasion of the third "ulmer festungs fest" (uff) in May 2009, about 1000 visitors proved their interest in the construction. Some people even came from other European countries. The TV channel "Südwestrundfunk-Fernsehen" also shot there in 2009. The bricks-vaults - at construction -time bomb-proof - do impress almost everyone. Furthermore, many goats and a donkey make the joy of the small (and big) children who enter the  area.


To start with the now (fall 2009) urgently needed renovation work of the listed building, the craftsmen need to be in permanent possession of the fort's keys as well as a rental agreement in order to be able to found a non-profit association according to the terms of their concept. This will not prevent other people to use the fort. To finance the renovation work, the craftsmen and their friend plan to convert gatehouse of the fort which is bordering the public road into a restaurant. Exhibitions, performances, guided visits and the work of motivated unemployed people shall turn the fort into a historical meeting-point of Eselbsberg, a district of Ulm built in the 60's,

The craftsmen also have experience as event organiser. The head of division for listed buildings at the regional council of Tübingen as well as the tourist office of Ulm welcomed the concept. Acknowledged specialists offered their advice and support. Politicians of the governing parties of the state Baden-Württemberg (owner of the fort) have been informed in spring. This late summer/early fall the chancelor Angela Merkel and the prime minister of Baden-Württemberg Günther Oettinger qualified the renovation concept of exemplary. It is noy necessary to start with the urgent renovations work as soon as late summer/early fall 2009 and thus to get the key on a permanent basis.


To be able to start with the most urgent work (excavating of old gutters), the craftsmen invite to a "Festungskehrwoche" on 19 October at Nebenwerk Oberer Eselsberg.




Christian Gollmar