Gorzów Wielkopolski – town defensive walls


   The town developed at the Warta River, where land routes crossed the river. Settlements existed here since the early Middle Ages. In the middle of the 13th century, these areas were captured by Brandenburg, whose ruler, margrave John, made the location of the town under the Magdeburg Law in 1257. As a result, Gorzów received a regular layout and economic privileges conducive to the development of trade and craft.
   There are not known construction stages or the exact time of erection of the town walls of Gorzów. Certainly they were built after obtaining municipal privilege in 1257. The first source messages, testifying to their presence, come from 1321-1325. They proved to be an extremely effective protection of the city. Lithuanian troops in 1326, or Hussite which in 1433 besieged the city for seven days, did not cross them. It was not until the Swedish king Karol Gustaw, in 1631 during the 30-Year War, destroyed part of the fortifications and entered the city. In the first half of the nineteenth century, they lost their importance and began to be dismantled. First, around 1740, the tower of the Bridge Gate was demolished, and then at the turn of 1827 and 1828 the Mill Santok gates were pulled down. Demolition of fragments of walls lasted at least a few dozen years.


   The defensive walls were erected from stone pebbles, bonded with lime mortar strengthen with chicken protein. Bricks were also used to tops of the towers. The thickness of the wall at the base was 90-140 cm, and in the finial of 110-80 cm. They were pierced by arrowslits, which were in the upper parts, and communication at this level took place through a timber porch. Access to the fortifications was facilitated by a underwall street from the town’s interior.
The defensive wall was reinforced with 30 or 32 half towers. On the northern side, between the Mill and Santok gates, there were 21 of them, the southern part of the circuit from the Warta river side, did not have one. The towers were erected in front of the face of the wall and open to the interior of the medieval town. They had two or three storeys inside, as evidenced by the openings in the inner walls, intended for mounting ceiling beams. Communication between floors was carried out by a narrow, single-speed staircase at the left (west) wall of each tower.
Originally, two gates led to the city, and from the sixteenth century, three town gates: Santocka Gate on the east, Mill Gate on the west and Bridge Gate on the south. The outer defensive zone was a pond, a moat and a river that fed it with water. In the south-eastern part of the complex there was a castle, which had its own defense system.

Current state

   Of the old town fortifications, only a 130-meter-long fragment of the lowered defensive wall between Hawelańska and Zabytkowa Streets has survived to this day, including four half towers.

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Kowalski S., Zabytki architektury województwa lubuskiego, Zielona Góra 2010.
Pilch J., Kowalski S., Leksykon zabytków Pomorza Zachodniego i ziemi lubuskiej, Warszawa 2012.

Webpage encyklopedia.wimbp.gorzow.pl, Mury  miejskie.
Webpage giik.pl, Mury obronne.