Lubań – city defensive walls

History

   Lubań in the early Middle Ages was a Slavic settlement located on the trade route at the ferry across the Kwisa River, at the intersection of roads leading from Silesia to the Bohemia, Lusatia and Meissen. The town was located under the Magdeburg Law before 1268, which initiated the intensive development of Lubań, especially under the rule of the prince of Jawor, Henry I. He initiated the construction of brick fortifications in the second decade of the 14th century. It is difficult to determine exactly when the second ring of fortifications was erected. This could happen both in the fourteenth century and in the first half of the next century.
   In the 19th century, medieval fortifications and narrow entrances became an obstacle of the spatial development of the city. In 1832, the fortifications of Mikołajska Gate were pulled down, and four years later the barbican of Bracka Gate was removed. At the end of the 1850s, the fortifications of the Nowogrodziec Gate were demolished. Then, walls, towers and bastions were demolished.

Architecture

   The fortifications of Lubań were given an oval shape. Their round outline was influenced by the Siekierka coastline, the decline of the area, the character of the original settlement and the shape of previous, wooden and earth defensive ramparts. The length of the inner line of the walls was about 1,400 meters. The older defensive wall was approx. 8 meters high and approx. 2.5 meters thick. The younger ring of fortifications was about 3.5 meters high and a little more than 1 m thick. The distance between the two lines of the walls was about 10 – 15 meters. The higher line of fortifications was strengthened by 17 towers. In turn, the lower line included 15 open towers, equal to the height of the defensive wall. Lubań had four gates: Bracka, Zgorzelecka, Nowogrodziecka and Mikołajska. Bracka and Nowogrodziecka were equipped with barbicans.
   P
reserved to this day Bracka Tower, strengthened the defense of the most important city gate and located in its immediate vicinity the Franciscan monastery. It is from the Franciscan brothers that the name of the tower and the main gate of Lubań derives (Bracka comes from the Polish word meaning brother). As the only defensive structure in Lubań, it could have been an independent point of resistance. It also had observational functions and was of great prestige importance. It was built of basalt stone on the circle plan. It is an eight-storey building with a height of 45 meters. The thickness of the walls up to the fifth floor is about 3 meters. The remaining part of the tower has a wall thickness of approx. 2,5 meters. Originally, the entrance to the tower was placed from the city at the second floor. The next storey was at the same height as the barbican’s sidewalk adjacent to the tower. Only above it the first arrowslits were placed. At the height of the fifth floor, the machicolation box or latrine was located. Above there was a room for guards decorated in the second half of the 17th century. All the ceilings, except the last one, located the highest, had a wooden structure. The tower was crowned with two porches covered with battlements and a pointed roof. The battlement of the first porch was approx. 2 meters high. The battlements of the highest porch had a height of 1 to 3 meters.
  
In addition, the city had two dry moats. The first one, wide at about 15 meters and deep at about 5 meters, ran around Lubań directly before the lower, outer line of defensive walls. In turn, the second was in the zwinger.
 

Current state

   In Lubań, significant fragments of defensive walls from the north-west, three towers and the Tower of Bracka have survived to this day. The tower is open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday.

show Bracka Tower on map

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bibliography:
Pilch J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Dolnego Śląska, Warszawa 2005.
Przyłęcki M., Mury obronne miast Dolnego Śląska, Wrocław 1970.

Website luban.pl, Mury obronne.