Hel Peninsula

Coordinates: 54°38′30″N 18°46′53″E / 54.64167°N 18.78139°E / 54.64167; 18.78139
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Hel Peninsula as seen from Landsat satellite in 2000
Hel Peninsula as seen from Landsat satellite in 2000
Hel is located in Poland
Coordinates: 54°38′30″N 18°46′53″E / 54.64167°N 18.78139°E / 54.64167; 18.78139
Hel Peninsula as seen from the tallest building in Władysławowo
Wooden house from circa 1850, now a restaurant
Kitesurfing, Hel Peninsula
Seal at the Oceanography Institute

Hel Peninsula (listen ; Polish: Mierzeja Helska, Półwysep Helski; Kashubian: Hélskô Sztremlëzna; German: Halbinsel Hela or Putziger Nehrung) is a 35-kilometre-long (22 mi) sand bar peninsula in northern Poland separating the Bay of Puck from the open Baltic Sea. It is located in Puck County of the Pomeranian Voivodeship.


The name of the peninsula might come from either the Old Polish word hyl/hel, meaning "empty or exposed place," or the Germanic word heel, which is derived from the form of the peninsula and the fact that the area was first settled by the Goths, an East Germanic tribe.[1]


The width of the peninsula varies from approximately 300 metres (980 ft) near Jurata to 100 metres (330 ft) in the most narrow part to over 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) at the tip. Since the peninsula was formed entirely of sand, it is frequently turned into an island by winter storms. Until the 17th century, the peninsula was a chain of islands that formed a strip of land only in the summer.

A road and a railroad run along the peninsula from the mainland to the town at the furthest point, Hel, a popular tourist destination. Other towns, ports, and tourist resorts are Jurata, Jastarnia, Kuźnica, Chałupy, and Władysławowo.

Bus transport on the peninsula consists of only one route, the 666. The numbering of the route, which plays on the biblical number of the beast and the similarity of the name "Hel" to the English word "hell", raised complaints from Catholic groups which found the numbering blasphemous.[2][3]

Military importance[edit]

The Hel (German: Hela) Peninsula was part of Prussia and then Germany from 1772 to 1919. After the peninsula became part of the Second Polish Republic after World War I, it acquired considerable military significance (Polish Corridor) and was turned into a fortified region, with a garrison of about 3,000. In the course of the Battle of Hel in 1939, Polish forces dynamited the peninsula at one point and turned it into an island.

During the years of German occupation of Poland (1939–1945), Hel's defenses were further expanded, and a battery of three 40.6 cm SK C/34 gun was constructed, but the guns were soon moved to the Atlantic Wall in occupied France. Hel peninsula remained in German hands until the end of World War II, when the defending forces surrendered on 14 May 1945, six days after Germany capitulated.

After the war, when the peninsula again became part of Poland, it continued to have military significance, with much of its area reserved for military use. Additional gun batteries were built in the 1940s and the 1950s. Many of the fortifications and batteries are open to tourists today, but some areas of the peninsula still belong to the Polish Armed Forces.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Słownik etymologiczny języka polskiego/hyl – Wikiźródła, wolna biblioteka". pl.wikisource.org.
  2. ^ "Rozkład jazdy – PKS GDYNIA".
  3. ^ "Linia 666 do Helu wzbudza kontrowersje". 26 July 2018.