The sumptuous lodging now known as the Citadel Inn was not always known for fine wines and pressed sheets. It was originally built as an imposing fortress before being converted into a Nazi “Tower of Death.”
The Maximilian Tower No.4, as the structure was originally known, is a circular red fort sitting on a hilltop overlooking the Ukrainian city of Lviv. It was constructed in the early 1850s as part of a program that would have seen similar towers erected in every capital city of what was then the Austro-Hungarian empire as a measure to deter civilian uprising via the ever-present reminder of the state’s military strength. While the tower was never used in military actions, when World War II broke out, the building was taken over by Nazi forces and turned into a relatively small concentration camp mostly for Soviet prisoners.
Known as Stalag 328, the citadel served as a detention location for Soviet prisoners (among others). The Nazi policy for the treatment of Red Army soldiers was to starve them to death, which the prison did often and without compunction. During its occupation by the Nazis, over 100,000 prisoners are said to have been killed, earning the site the nickname, “Tower of Death.”
After World War II, the site was abandoned to private usage until the early 2000s when the location was purchased by investors who converted the space into a lush, five-star hotel destination known as the Citadel Inn. The Inn continues to welcome guests with no plaque, signage, or indication of the building’s true history of fear and death. The hotel boasts a good restaurant on the last floor. There is also a nice viewing spot outside the hotel with a panorama of the city of Lviv.