Lidzbark Warmiński – town defensive walls


   The construction of brick fortifications in Lidzbark Warmiński (Heilsberg) began after the town was established under Chełmno law in 1308. The date of completion of the works is 1357. During the construction, the location of the city on a slightly hill and natural boundaries were used, such as the Łyna river flowing in a large bend in the south and east.
   A few years before the outbreak of the Thirteen Years’ War, Lidzbark became a place of anti-Teutonic riots. In 1454 it joined the Prussian Union, and after the end of the Polish-Teutonic war under the Second Peace of Toruń, together with the whole of Warmia, joined the Polish state. In 1520, it was besieged by the Teutonic army of the last grand master, but only the Swedish wars in the 17th century and the Northern wars in the first half of the 18th century brought great damages, when medieval fortifications began to lose their importance. Most of the fortifications were demolished in the 19th century.


   The perimeter of the defensive walls was irregular, adapted to the slight rise and bend of the Łyna River, which protected the town from the south, partly from the west and together with the episcopal castle from the east. Due to the narrow bend, the outer fortifications were limited only to the north side, where the moat was dug and the earth rampart was built. The total length of the walls was about 1000 meters. Their height originally amounted to 5 meters, and after the extension in the fifteenth century it reached 7 meters. The north and west sides of the circuit were reinforced with half towers, open from the town side.
   Lidzbark owned three town gates: Mill Gate connecting the northern outer bailey of the castle with the town, High Gate with foregate from the north-west and Church Gate from the south-west. In addition, there was also a wicket gate called Castle Gate.

Current state

   To this day, a part of the curtain of the northern fortifications with a half tower and the impressive foregate of the High Gate in the north-west part of the old town have survived.

show High Gate on map

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Czubiel L., Domagała T., Zabytkowe ośrodki miejskie Warmii i Mazur, Olsztyn 1969.
Wółkowski W., Zamek biskupów warmińskich w Lidzbarku Warmińskim, Olsztyn 2016.