Ośno Lubuskie – town defensive walls

History

   The building of the stone fortifications was begun by the townsfolks of Ośno, similarly to other urban centers of the region, at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. After the expansion of the town to the east in the fourteenth century, the old fortifications were demolished and the construction of new ones was begun, while the construction process was certainly quite long. The existence of strong fortifications in the fifteenth century, may be proved by the fact that the siege of the town, undertaken in 1433, and then in 1477, failed, although it must have caused significant damage to the walls. In the last quarter of the fifteenth century, during the removal of the effects of damages, the walls were raised and reinforced with additional towers. Both gates were also extended, and equipped with foregates, protruding far beyond the ring of the walls.
   
During the Thirty Years War fortifications were partially destroyed and in this condition they survived until 1754. From this year, their reduction began, which started with filling the moats, leveling earth embankments and dismantling the foregates. The gates in the ring of the walls were demolished in the 1870s, leaving wide passages covered with brick pillars. The most damaged half towers were also demolished, walling the gaps created within the walls. The left walls and towers were gradually renovated and strengthen, by numerous buttresses on the outside. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries around the walls were marked avenues, which were planted with two rows of lime trees.

Architecture

   The perimeter of the town fortyfications of Ośno had in plan the shape of an elongated oval. The defensive walls were 6 meters high. They ended with a wall – walk, at the level of which loop holes were placed, embedded in a straight parapet. An under wall street ran around the perimeter of the fortifications, wide as smaller town streets.
   The curtains were reinforced with 3 cylindrical towers, 2 semicircular towers and 12 rectangular half towers, opened from the town side. They were all taller than the curtains and covered with conical cupolas or roofs, and some topped with battlements. The interiors of the towers were divided by timber ceilings, and the entrances were made possible by ladders. The ground floors probably played mainly the role of warehouses, while for combat were the upper floors. In the Thieves’ Tower, located in the south-eastern corner of the town, there was a prison since the Middle Ages.
   The entrance to the town led through two gates: Sulęcin and Frankfurt. Both in their final form from the end of the Middle Ages were composed of the main gatehouses with passages in the ground floor, long necks, drawbridges over the moats and front gates. The gates on the west side with wide passage arcades were covered with gable roofs. The main gate on the eastern side was covered with a hip roof. In addition to the gates, there were 6 posterns in the form of small passages closed with solid doors.
   In addition to the ring of walls, the town was protected from the south, east and west by a wide moat, and from the north by a swampy area on both sides of the Łęcza river flowing meanders. There were earth ramparts between the moat and the walls.

Current state

   Currently, the defensive walls are preserved on all the perimeter, except for two crossings on the axes of the former gates and three punches created after demolition of the towers. To this day, there are 2 circular towers, 3 rectangular towers in full height including roofs, 7 half towers, rectangular towers without cover and 4 wicket gates. The height of the walls varies from 2 to 5 meters. The best preserved elements include the Thief’s Tower in which there was a prison, the so-called Bush’s Tower, which in the eighteenth century served as a reserve prison, and three of the half towers, which today are preserved in full height: Wielka Chyżańska Tower, Pitch Tower and Priest Tower. The remaining towers, mostly heavily walled, are preserved only in the ground floor parts. The original forms have four wicket gates, the oldest of which is at the Thief’s Tower, still dates from the Middle Ages.

show Thief’s Tower on map

show Bush’s tower on map

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bibliography:
Kowalski S., Zabytki architektury województwa lubuskiego, Zielona Góra 2010.
Pilch J., Kowalski S., Leksykon zabytków Pomorza Zachodniego i ziemi lubuskiej, Warszawa 2012.

Website osno.pl, zabytki – mury miejskie.