Kłodzko – castle and city defensive walls

History

   The castle in Kłodzko was built on the site of the early medieval hillfort named Kladsko, belonging to the Czech ruler Slavkov. It was of key importance in the region of the Kłodzko Valley, as it controlled the passage in the valley of the Nysa river, which ran a trade route leading from southern Europe to Pomerania. For this reason, this place has been repeatedly the subject of fights between Czech and Polish rulers.
   Over time, at the foot of the hillfort, on the south and east sides formed two boroughs, the origin of the future town. At the junction of these settlements  there was a marketplace. The location of the town connecting the two centers, took place in the first half of the 13th century, probably shortly before 1250.
   Along with the castle, most probably at the end of the 13th century, brick fortifications of the town began to be built, replacing the former earth and wooden fortifications. The source mentions confirm their extension in the fifteenth century to the outer, second ring of walls. The great defensive values of the castle and the town was confirmed by the unsuccessful attempt of  conquer by the Hussites in 1428 and the failed attack of the army of Matthias Corvinus in 1470. 
  
In 1459, the Kłodzko land became an independent county and belonged to Podebrady family. A year later, George from Podebrady approved all the privileges of the town, thanks to which Kłodzko remained loyal to him during the wars with Catholics, even when in 1467 when the Pope put an anathema on town. In the years 1557-1560, the Kłodzko castle was extended by enlarging the outer ward and giving the renaissance lookout to residential parts. In 1622, it was destroyed by the imperial army, and at the end of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the medieval castle was completely rebuilt into an early modern bastion stronghold. In the 19th century, the demolition of the town walls was also begun.

 

Architecture

   Town fortifications were erected on an irregular plan similar to a half of a moon. It were reinforced with half towers on a rectangular and semi-circle plan, and joined by a gate with the Saint John Bridge, led over the Młynówka River. They were also connected with the fortifications of the castle. In the second half of the fifteenth century, the towers and gates were crowned with pyramidal helmets. Apart from the Upper Bridge Gate and the Lower Gate on the Sand Island, there were three other ones: Czech from the west, Green (Zarzecka) from the south – west and Ząbkowicka (Hospital) Gate from north – east, and wickets: Water and Bath.
   There is no data to reproduce original appearance of the castle. According to the Czech chronicler Cosmas of Prague at the turn of the 11th and 12th century, there was a stone palas on the castle hill. The remaining buildings and fortifications were probably wooden and earth. Later in the Middle Ages, the castle was an irregular defensive complex, closely connected to the town’s fortifications, with numerous secular and sacred buildings, courtyards and accompanying buildings. It is known that it consisted of an upper and a lower part (an outer bailey), separated by a wall and a moat. The entrance to the castle was placed in the massive four-sided gate tower visible in the drawing of M.Merian. The upper part reportedly had three courtyards. In the last quarter of the fifteenth century, on one of them a two-nave Green Hall was erected, decorated with paintings with floral motifs, used on the occasion of important audiences and ceremonies. In the upper castle there was also a chapel, probably under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and at least two quadrilateral towers, depicted on a 16th century veduta.

Current state

   Most of the town walls of Kłodzko were demolished in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Currently, only a few fragments are at the end of Traugutt street, along Nad Kanałem street and below Łukasińskiego street. There are no traces left of the medieval Kłodzko Castle, it has been completely transformed into an early modern fortress.

show place of former castle on map

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bibliography:
Frydrych B., Oniszczuk-Awiżeń K., Kłodzko w średniowieczu, Kłodzko 2009.

Leksykon zamków w Polsce, L.Kajzer, S.Kołodziejski, J.Salm, Warszawa 2003.
Przyłęcki M., Mury obronne miast Dolnego Śląska, Wrocław 1970.