Abandoned amphitheatre to be transformed into eco-friendly ‘honey garden’ for bees
An abandoned amphitheatre in the heart of Poznań’s historic Park Cytadela is set for a stunning makeover as part of ongoing plans to revitalize the city’s green lungs.
Built in 1968 by young volunteers as part of a community initiative, the 70s saw the amphitheatre enjoy its heyday with military orchestras, folk groups and local pop stars performing in front of packed crowds on Sunday afternoons.
An integral part of the city’s cultural and social landscape, it was thronged in summer by concert goers, whilst in winter it enjoyed further popularity as a sledding spot.
However, the economic meltdown that defined the last decade of Poland’s communist system saw investment all but dry up, and it quickly fell into a state of disrepair. The country’s political transition did little to alleviate the amphitheatre’s problems, and in spite of sporadic renovations it never received the attention it deserved.
Now, the remarkable structure is in line for a new lease of life after plans were announced to transform it into an eco-minded “honey garden”.
Unique to Poland, and possibly the world, the project will see the former seating areas replaced by flowerbeds specifically intended to attract bees, butterflies and assorted pollinating insects.
The former stage area, meanwhile, will see its role reversed. Where once musicians entertained, seats and deckchairs will be installed affording visitors the chance to soak up the relaxing atmosphere. “From here local residents will be able to view nature’s great performance,” says Poznań mayor, Jacek Jaśkowiak.
Costing three million złoty, the project will be further embellished by nectar-bearing trees, sculptures, viewing points, water cascades and subtle lighting purposefully designed so as not to interfere with the activities of the bees.
Accenting the garden’s community credentials, educational boards will also be added and designers hope that the area will become an open-air classroom in which school children can learn about the impact bees have on our everyday lives.
Additionally, Morse code messages will be hidden among the garden’s many features.
“The principal idea was to create a modern honey garden that also has a didactic function,” says the designer, Karolina Dzięgielewska. “To do so, I decided to use the topography of the amphitheatre to create a theatrical-inspired concept that would present the work of the bees whilst allowing humans to participate in this performance.”
The area’s revival as a honey garden was first mooted by local councillor Halina Owsianna in 2018, however, at the time it failed to attract sufficient support. Nevertheless, Owsianna continued to fight her cause, even once turning up to a council meeting dressed as a bee.
After much campaigning, the city’s Greenery Board accepted her proposal and now say that the idea will be implemented over the course of the next year.
Currently home to ninety bee species, Park Cytadela was established in 1945 on the site of the 19th century Fort Winiary.
In recent times, much energy has been dedicated to harnessing the area’s vast potential.
The turn of the millennium saw the unveiling of a stunning collection of giant headless figures created by Magdalena Abakanowicz, while the last few years have seen continued improvements to the park's gardens and infrastructure.