Jelenia Góra – city defensive walls

History

   The stone defense walls of Jelenia Góra were most probably built in the first half of the 14th century, although probably in the 13th century, the town was surrounded by a dry moat of wood-and-earth fortifications. The first mention of them appeared in the document from 1341. Duke Henry of Jawor allowed in it to build an inn “outside the town walls” (extra muros civi), which may however, refer to the construction of timber and earth, as well as completely brick walls. In 1500, Jelenia Góra was described as a small but well fortified town. Pankracy Geier in 1521 clearly indicated that the town had double defensive walls, surrounded by a moat with a drawbridge at each gate. Medieval fortifications lost their defensive significance at the end of the 18th century and then began to be dismantled, especially in places where it hindered the development of the town.

Architecture

   The internal wall was up to 8 meters high, and its thickness on the crown reached 1.5 meters. There were arrowslits along its entire length, and there were also semicircular towers. In front  of the inner wall, at a distance of 5.5 to 7.5 meters, there was a younger and lower external wall. It was only 2.5 meters high, and the thickness of its walls did not exceed 0.6 meters.
   The inner perimeter of the defensive walls was strengthened by towers, the number of which changed over different periods and ranged from 24 to 36. They exceeded the wall by about 3 meters and were spaced from 20 to 30 meters. 9 low towers adapted for use of firearms were placed in the outer perimeter. Before it there was a dry moat with a width of 13 to 16 meters and a depth of 5.5 to 6.5 meters.
  
Three town gates led to the town. In the west, the Castle Gate, in the east the Wojanowska Gate and in the south the Gate of Długa Street. From the north, Jelenia Góra did not have a gate, because on this side there was a high embankment of the Bóbr river, making it impossible to build convenient access, and at the same time constituting an additional security of the city. Each gate was protected by a high tower. The diameter of the Castle Tower in the ground floor is 7,57 meters, and the thickness of its walls exceeds 1,5 meters. The cylinder part of the tower has inside the 5 storeys. On the third and fourth floor there are cross-shaped arrowslits. At the tower there was a gatehouse, and under it two closed gates, spaced 17 m apart from each other, additionally secured with a grille and a drawbridge. Similar protections were located at the Wojanowska Gate. Its tower is over 34 meters high, and its diameter is 7,2 meters, the wall has a thickness of 2,5 on the bottom to 1,5 meters on the higher floors. Only the gate tower of Długa Street was not preserved, which was also protected by the barbican.

Current state

   Only small sections of the city walls and the tower of the Castle’s Gate, the tower of the Wojanowska Gate and the Grodzka Tower have survived to this day.

show Wojanowska Tower on map

show Castle’s Tower on map

show Grodzka Tower on map

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bibliography:
Przyłęcki M., Mury obronne miast Dolnego Śląska, Wrocław 1970.

Webpage zamkidwory.forumoteka.pl, Jelenia Góra.