Brześć Kujawski – city defensive walls

History

   The defensive wall in Brześć was probably built before 1332, in the place of wooden and earth fortifications and probably repeated their outline. Confirmation of the existence of strong, and surely bricked fortifications is the fact that the town in the years preceding the mentioned date, successfully replied assaults, including several days attacks of the Teutonic army using siege machines in 1332. Therefore, the message of chronicler Jan Dlugosz about the later rise of the walls can be considered misleading. The construction of the town’s defensive walls was related to the period in which Brześć was the capital of the duchy under Władysław the Elbow-high. During the rule of the Teutonic Order, the fortifications were probably strengthened and later repaired. Reports from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries described the town as surrounded by a wall and well fortified. Therefore, during the Swedish war in 1655, the medieval defensive walls of Brześć were brave enough to resist the enemy. They were then partially destroyed, and indeed on the panorama from 1657 you can see from the west a dozen-meter gap patched with a palisade. Nevertheless, in 1670 the town was ravaged, but encircled with a brick wall. At the end of the eighteenth century, there were still two more gates and remnants of the wall. Later, the fortifications were almost completely destroyed.

Architecture

    The circumference of the defensive walls marked a shape similar to a semi-circle, based by a flat side with a Zgłowiączka river. The area of ​​the town within the walls was about 8,5 ha, and the length of the fortification line – about 1100 meters. The defensive wall was made of brick on a stone foundation, it was only about 1 meter thick, similar to other early objects of the northern Polish region. The height of the wall is unknown. It was crowned with a battlement. From the more endangered north-eastern, eastern and southern sides, the wall was equipped with towers whose number and spacing are unknown. The entire western side of the town, on the other hand, from the side of the river to the north gate, did not have any additional defensive elements.
     
The towers were rectangular in plan and were one level higher than wall. Perhaps one of the towers from the north-east was much higher and stronger than others. From the beginning of its existence, Brześć had two main gates, situated along the route of the longitudinal direction. The north gate lay at the only exit street in this direction, close to the Dominican complex. The situation of the southern gate is not completely certain. Probably it was at the end of Krakowska street, that is not at the castle, but more to the east. A third gate of local significance, led the way west. It is unknown whether it was primal. The gates were located in rectangular towers, the northern one had a foregate ending with a drawbridge. The outer reinforcement of the fortifications was a moat.

Current state

    Fortifications of Brześć have not survived to the present day, not counting the remains of the wall in the north-western part of the town. Built of bricks on a foundation made of field stones, it is about 1 meter thick and has traces of repairs.

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