Dobiegniew – town defensive walls


   In 1250, Dobiegniew was handed over by the Pronce of Greater Poland, Przemysł I, to the Cistercian nunnery in Owińska, which was confirmed by Przemysł II in 1280. Although in 1296 it became the property of Brandenburg margraves, the cistercian sisters had an influence on local affairs for a long time and it was their efforts that the market settlement was transformed into a regularly planned town in the 13th century.
   The town walls in Dobiegniew (Waldinborg, then Woldenberg) were built in the first half of the 14th century on the site of the earlier timber and earth fortifications. In 1313, fortifications were first recorded in documents, although this mention probably did not apply to brick fortifications yet. In 1340, the townspeople obtained a tax permit for two years, in order to enable closing the town with a wall and surrounding it with a ditch.

   In 1433, the invasion of the Hussite army had to be resisted, and walls were also severely damaged during the Thirty Years’ War. In early modern times, since the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, fortifications due to their unsuitability, in connection with the development of artillery, began to dismantled.


   The town developed on the southern side of Lake Wielgie, and also on the western side of the Mierzęcka Struga flowing into it. The perimeter of the fortifications had the shape of an irregular hexagon, defined by a ring of a single line of the defensive wall and a ditch. It was built of Gothic bricka in the monk bond, connected with lime mortar, on a stone foundation and a plinth. Probably at the end of the Middle Ages, the curtains were protected with a straight parapet with a pierced row of arrowslits.
   The walls were reinforced with about 37 half towers located on each side, with the exception of the safest northern part. In addition, in the south-west corner there was a tower erected on a quadrilateral plan, changing into a cylindrical superstructure. The half towers were erected on a rectangular plan, without brick internal (rear) walls. It were divided into floors, connected by brick staircases. In addition to the warehouse high ground floor, there were two more combat floors: one at the level of the adjacent wall-walks in the curtains, the other one storey higher. Loop holes were placed in them, embedded in recesses with stepped and segmental heads. The height of the half towers was about 8 meters.
   In the length of the defensive circuit there were two gates: Upper (High) from the west, facing the road to Strzelce Krajeńskie and Barlinek, and Lower (Short) from the east, facing the road to Wałcz and then Bydgoszcz or Koszalin, as well as two posterns: Water Gate, facilitating access to the lake, and Mill Gate located on the river. Both main gates probably had the form of a four-sided buildings with passages in the ground floor, covered with roofs based on Gothic gables.

Current state

   The best element of fortifications preserved to this day is the half tower at the junction of Zabytkowa and Wyszyński streets. Recently it has been renovated, the façades have been cleaned and cavities have been supplemented.

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Jarzewicz J., Gotycka architektura Nowej Marchii, Poznań 2000.
Kowalski S., Zabytki architektury województwa lubuskiego, Zielona Góra 2010.
Pilch J., Kowalski S., Leksykon zabytków Pomorza Zachodniego i ziemi lubuskiej, Warszawa 2012.