Malbork – city defensive walls

History

    The city walls of Malbork were created along with the extension of the castle complex. Originally, it were wood and earth fortifications, and in the 14th century they were transformed into brick constructions on a stone foundation. Most attention was paid to the fortifications from the southern side, where four lines of defensive walls were erected. Fortifications changed depending on the military and economic situation. In the second half of the eighteenth century, the defense system of the city was already badly damaged and outdated. Further devastation occurred after 1772. In the mid-twentieth century, the wall system was again partially destroyed. Walls from the eastern and southern sides have disappeared.

Architecture

     The town walls were built of brick on a stone foundation. They had an arcaded construction with a relatively thin wall thickness, which was 45 cm (1,5 bricks). From the city side, they were reinforced with pillars 45 cm thick. The defensive wall was supplemented with a dozen towers. Strongest fortifications were extended from the southern side, farthest from the castle.
   Two main gates led to the city: St Mary’s Gate, also known as Sztum Gate or Carriage Gate, and the Potter’s Gate, also known as Elbląg or Holy Spirit, as well as the castle wicket gate. The St. Mary’s Gate, built in the first half of the 14th century, rises on a rectangular plan of 6,6×7,6 meters to a height of 10 meters. Its southern and northern façades are decorated with pointed blendes. The Potter’s Gate was most probably built in 1380. It is a five-storey gate with a height of 12 meters, built on a rectangular plan with dimensions of 7,6×9,4 meters. In addition to the passage arch there are two pedestrian crossings in its ground floor. The eastern façade is shaped by wide friezes separating storeys, blending, coats of arms shields on the top floor, and rectangular arrowslits. The west façade was similar, but it did not have a large niches that was on the opposite side. The western facade was facing the city.

Current state

   The Potter’s Gate and relics of the tower in the eastern section of the circuit, from the south the St. Mary Gate and from the west the retaining wall of the town’s plateau, on which the granary buildings were once based, have survived from the medieval fortifications.

show Sztum Gate on map

show Potter’s Gate on map

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bibliography:
Duda Z.,Kryzia K., Mury obronne miasta Malbork, [w:] Górnictwo i geoinżynieria, zeszyt 2, Kraków 2011.