Lesser Fortress


Terezín’s Lesser Fortress, which served as a prison and concentration camp, lies 700m east of the town centre. The best way to see it is to take a self-guided tour through the prison barracks, isolation cells, workshops and morgues, past execution grounds and former mass graves. The Nazis’ mocking slogan, Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Makes You Free), hangs above the gate to the inner yard. It would be hard to invent a more menacing location.

In front of the fortress is a National Cemetery, established in 1945 for the victims exhumed from the Nazis’ mass graves.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Bohemia attractions

1. Ghetto Museum

0.71 MILES

The town's main museum is spread out over two buildings and explores the rise of Nazism and life in the Terezín ghetto. The main building once housed a…

2. Terezín Fortress

0.72 MILES

From the ground, the sheer scale of the maze of walls and moats that surrounds the town of Terezín is impossible to fathom. Take a peek at the aerial…

3. Terezín Transports

0.84 MILES

This small but fascinating exhibition in the town's former weighing office opened in 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death…

4. Terezín Museum

0.88 MILES

This museum, housed in a restored bastion at the northwest corner of the fortress, is dedicated to the history of the Terezín military fortress, from its…

5. Columbarium

0.88 MILES

Moving memorial built into the old fortress's casemates holds the ashes of thousands of residents who were killed and cremated during the Nazi occupation…

6. Crematorium

0.99 MILES

There is a small memorial in the grim crematorium, where around 30,000 people were cremated between 1942 and 1945. It's in the Jewish Cemetery just off…

7. Mělník Chateau

17.64 MILES

This Renaissance chateau was acquired by the Lobkowicz family in 1739, and they opened it to the public in 1992. You can wander through the former living…

8. Church of Sts Peter & Paul

17.69 MILES

Next to Mělník chateau is this 15th-century Gothic church, with baroque furnishings and remnants of its Romanesque predecessor incorporated into the rear…