Bystrzyca Kłodzka – city defensive walls


   The construction of the town defense walls in Bystrzyca Kłodzka was started before 1319 on the initiative of the vogt Jakub Rücker. For its erection, king John of Bohemia granted the town full legal independence, which put Bystrzyca in the group of royal towns. At first, there were only two entry gates: Kłodzka and Water, in 1400 the Wyszków Gate was pierced, and around 1500, a New Gate was erected in its place. Already in the sixteenth century fortifications were in poor condition, as evidenced by the three recorded collapses of wall fragments. Despite renovations in 1645, they were gradually demolished from the mid-18th century. Also in the nineteenth century, the New Gate and the Kłodzko Gate were demolished, from which only the tower remained. In 1870, the moat was filled in, where the gardens were arranged.


   The medieval town walls of Bystrzyca were built of stone and had thickness of about 1 meter. Their form was imposed by the specific terrain in the form of a steep, high escarpment. It was reinforced with a stone wall supported from the outside by densely spaced buttresses, reaching a considerable height, even above 10 meters from the level of the street underneath. Thanks to this, the town did not require additional protection of the moat from this side, which was built only from the west and north. Entry into the town was provided by three gates: Kłodzka, Water and since 1580 also the New Gate.
The Water Gate, also called Low or Mountain, was erected after 1319 on a square plan with dimensions of 7 to 7 meters. Inside, there is a pointed passage with a barrel vault. From the suburbs side, the panel is visible in the face of the wall, acting as a guide of the grille and the grille itself. From the town side, there are visible external stairs leading to the room above the passage. The battlement and the pyramid-shaped brick cap were added in 1568.
The Kłodzko Tower is a remnant of the currently non-existent Kłodzko Gate. The tower was erected in 1319 on a square plan with a side of 5 meters. Originally it had a wooden helmet, which in 1568 was turned into a brick, pyramid-shaped one. On all walls in the top floor there are two arrowslits, and between them gargoyles, used to drain rainwater. On the wall from the side of Okrzei street there are remains of a gable roof, which once covered the Kłodzko Gate. It was connected with the tower with rectangular openings, existing on two floors. After demolition of the gate, openings were walled up.
The Knights Tower in the past was also called Raven, Black or Butcher. The date of its creation is either the beginning of the fourteenth century or the year 1580. The base of the tower is 4,5 x 4,5 meters. Initially, the building had a timber roof, later turned into a brick one in the form of a pyramid. From the side of Rycerska street there is a pointed portal, at which remains of stone brackets, serving as a support for the porch and balcony, have been preserved. In all walls at different heights there are narrow vertical arrowslits. In 1823, the tower was converted into a church belfry, therefore it was punctured with double, pointed windows with a brick frames.

Current state

   Currently, the best-preserved fragments of fortifications are: Water Gate, Kłodzko Tower and Knights Tower. In addition, large fragments of walls along the streets of Międzyleska and Wojska Polskiego have survived, often used as structural elements of built later houses. The remain of the fortified tower is building of the aldermanship’s office, currently serving as a residential house.

show Water Gate on map

show Kłodzko Tower on map

show Knight’s Tower on map

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Pilch J, Leksykon zabytków architektury Dolnego Śląska, Warszawa 2005.
Przyłęcki M., Mury obronne miast Dolnego Śląska, Wrocław 1970.

Webpage, Mury obronne.
Webpage, Mury miejskie w Bystrzycy Kłodzkiej.