Bodzentyn – town defensive walls


   Bodzentyn defensive walls were erected in the years 1367-1378. The investor of the walls was bishop Florian Mokrski, and probably the later reconstruction was financed mainly by the owners of the town – bishops of Cracow. In the first stage of construction, the fortification circuit was probably not closed. Work undoubtedly began with the eastern side, deprived of natural defense, and next from the north and the south.
The extension of the fortifications led to the linking and closing of the town by a ring of fortifications and the reconstructed castle. Perhaps the main works were carried out in the second half of the fifteenth century, during the period of major investments in the town. Modernization works also included existing parts of town walls.
During the 19th century, the walls were devastated and partially demolished. Even in 1789, all three city gates were mentioned, but attention was already drawn to the poor condition of the defensive walls. The demolition of the gates probably took place in the first half of the 19th century, it is known that in 1836 the Opatowska Gate was pulled down. Around 1850, the fortifications were seriously ruined.


   The defensive wall in Bodzentyn, was built of unworked, erratic stones, with characteristic leveling layers, has 1,5-1,65 meters thick. Judging from the preserved fragments and archival drawings, it measured no less than 7 meters in height. The type of the finial is unfortunately not known. Their total length was about 1200 meters.
It is not known whether the original town walls were reinforced with towers. Perhaps the remains of the wall in the north-eastern corner of the town is a remnant of the tower. Undoubtedly, at a later time, there was at least one tower from the south, whose final shape was given in the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. There is also a small, rectangular tower in the south-west corner of the outer bailey of the castle, which can be dated to the turn of the 15th and 16th century.
Bodzentyn had two town gates: from the east Opatowska, or Sandomierska Gate, and from the south Cracow Gate. The exit streets to both gates led from the market, along the northern and western extension of its frontages. We do not know anything about the architectural appearance of the gates. The Opatowska Gate had a foregate, probably of later origin. The third gate, Castle, or Senators Gate, did not have the character of a city gate and led from the city to the castle. Originally it was wooden and was not built until 1673 as a closed object, but not defensive.

Current state

    In the northern part of the town, at the church, more than a hundred-meter (with intervals) section of the defensive wall has been preserved. More to the east, there is a 30-meter section of the wall with a damaged outer face, with a height of 2,5 meters from the outside, currently constituting a retaining wall entirely. From the south there is a 40-meter section, with the current height of 3-4 meters. Two long fragments have survived from the wall separating the castle and the city. Southern from the outer bailey, with a similar structure as the city wall, has a thickness of 80 cm.

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Widawski J., Miejskie mury obronne w państwie polskim do początku XV wieku, Warszawa 1973.