Bolesławiec Śląski – city defensive walls and castle

History

   Bolesławiec appeared in historical sources in 1202, among other castellan hillforts. Convenient location by an important trade route from Kraków through Wrocław, Legnica to Zgorzelec and further west, caused intensive development and granting of town rights by prince Bolesław II Rogatka before 1251. Stone town fortifications in Bolesławiec were erected on the site of older, wood and earth ramparts in the first half of the 14th century. However, they were not sufficient safeguard, among others in front of the Hussites, that is why in the years 1479 – 1480 they were expanded into the form of a double wall, made of field stone, reinforced with regularly spaced towers and a moat.
   The Bolesławiec castle was built in the 14th century on a hill in the south-western part of the city. In 1594, it was taken over by the town authorities. In 1642, a fire destroyed it, and the Swedish occupation completed demolition. Like the castle, some of the city’s fortifications were pulled down in the 19th century, by the Napoleonic army.

Architecture

   The fortifications of Bolesławiec in their most developed form consisted of a double ring of defensive walls, and the road to the city led through three gates: Upper, Lower and Nicholas. The gates were built on a rectangular or square plan. Both the inner and outer walls were reinforced with numerous towers on a square (inner circuit) or half-round plan (external circuit). Outside, an irrigated moat provided additional protection. The castle was erected in front of the town fortifications and created a mutual defense system with them. It had three wings with a large tower from the north-east.

Current state

   The best preserved fragments of fortifications can now be seen at Mickiewicza, Kubika or Partyzantów streets. A tower has also been preserved, which houses the seat of the Bolesławiec Photographic Society. The Bolesławiec castle did not survive to modern times.

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bibliography:
Leksykon zamków w Polsce, L.Kajzer, S.Kołodziejski, J.Salm, Warszawa 2003.
Pilch J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Dolnego Śląska, Warszawa 2005.
Przyłęcki M., Mury obronne miast Dolnego Śląska, Wrocław 1970.