Głubczyce – city defensive walls

History

   The first town walls of Głubczyce, consisting of an earth rampart, a moat and a palisade, were built in the second quarter of the 13th century. Starting from the south-east to the west, the system was supported the Psina river and marsh floodplain. In 1275, king Ottokar II confirmed old town rights and gave the city of Głubczyce a new law, which was called the Głubczyce Law. The granted legal status was accelerated by the construction of the city’s stone fortifications, begun in the third quarter of the 13th century. Soon after, it was fully surrounded by a defensive wall.
   In 1436, the prince of Racibórz, Nicholas, attacked and plundered the town. This first conquest of the city could be a reason for townspeople to repair and modernize the fortifications.
In 1476 a great fire destroyed the entire Głubczyce. Fires took place again in 1481 and 1603. They destroyed the timber elements of the fortifications: the roofs of city gates and towers, guard porches. With the development of firearms, gradually the medieval defensive walls lost their importance. During the Thirty Years’ War, the town was additionally secured with earth ramparts. Their construction caused a change of the area directly adjacent to the town walls and destroyed part of the of Upper and Lower suburbs. In the nineteenth century, the city gates were demolished to expand the entry into the city, and in the 20th century, avenues were established within the river’s backwaters.

Architecture

   The town wall was made of clay slate, it was 5-6 meters high and 2-3 meters wide. The addition of up to 1.8 meters of crenellation gave a total height of about 9 meters, a typical height of medieval town walls. The fortifications surrounded a 16-hectare space with about 226 houses. The circumference of the walls had the outline of an irregular oval resembling an equilateral triangle.
   The Głubczyce defense walls were reinforced with 22 towers, three gatehouses and a moat. Seven towers were built on a semi-circular projection, and 12 on an unusual pointed projection. Originally they had a conical roofs covered with shingles, which was located above the guard porch. In the 15th century or at the turn of the 15th and the 16th centuries, some of them were rebuilt and raised, some topped with a dome at the top. The largest number of towers, as many as 9, had a section of walls between the Upper Gate and the Monastery Gate. Between the gates of Monastery and the Lower Gate there were 3 towers, while the longest of the sections of the wall, between the Lower Gate and the Upper, had only 7 towers. The distance between the towers on individual sections of the wall depended on natural factors. The southern part of the town was adjacent to the backwaters of the Psina river and the swamp area, whereas the vicinity of the Upper Gate up to the Grobnicka Gate was a clay land area that crossed a narrow strip of wetland near the town.
  
To the town led the Grobnicka Gate (or Monastery), standing near the Franciscan church, the Upper Gate (Nyska) and the Lower Gate (Opawska). The Upper Gate located in the northern part of the city walls, compared to the towers of the other city gates, was tall, monumental and could compete with the towers of the gothic parish church. The gate also had wooden, metal-framed doors and a portcullis. In the room above the entrance was a gunpowder magazine and a mechanism that activated the portcullis. From the outside of the city, all the gates were additionally strengthened by a foregates made of a short neck and an additional tower with passage.
    The outer zone of defense constituted swamps and backwaters of the Psina river from the south and southeast, which waters fed the town moat, protecting the city from the west and north. In the 14th century, two ponds were created, which further strengthened the outer zone of the town. Washerwoman Pond was located from the south-west and was divided by a dyke where the bridge was located. It used the natural course of the river, which influenced it and flowed south from the Grobnicka Gate. The second pond, known as Monastery, was located on the north-eastern side of the town and was also naturally powered with water from the stream.

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bibliography:
Webpage muzeum.powiatglubczycki.pl, Głubczyckie mury obronne.