Prabuty – town defensive walls


   The defensive walls in Prabuty (Riesenburg) were erected in the fourteenth century, probably shortly after the granting of town privilege to the castle’s settlement, which took place between 1305 and 1321. In 1375, Prabuty could have been damaged during the great fire of the town, and in 1410, the destruction in the town was caused by the Polish army of Władysław Jagiełło and in 1414 by the troops of Zygmunt Korybutowicz. In 1454, the town joined the Prussian Union, as did Bishop Kaspar Linke, but after the Polish defeat at Chojnice, it came back under the authority of the Teutonic Order. Eventually, it became part of the Polish kingdom after signing the Second Peace of Toruń in 1466. Developing under the new ruler, in 1519 the townspeople, together with bishop Hiob von Dobeneck, capitulated to the Polish army, and two years later Polish-Teutonic peace talks were conducted in Prabuty. In the 17th century, the town suffered by epidemics, fires and contributions imposed by the Swedes, which contributed to the economic decline and many years of neglect of renovation works on the fortifications. From the 18th century, the already dilapidated and anachronistic fortifications were gradually dismantled.


   Surrounded by fortifications, the town received a regular, oval-like outline, adapted to the form of the area, bounded from the west by Lake Liwieniec. In the middle of them a square market was placed, located slightly east of the town’s main axis and enclosed by two parallel streets converging at the entrance gate. In the north-west corner a bishop’s castle was incorporated into the fortifications. Right next to the defensive walls there was also a parish church with a massive tower at the chancel, and the line of fortifications itself was strengthened by numerous four-sided towers, probably initially open from the town side.
   Three gates led to the city: Kwidzyń Gate, also known as Hospital Gate, High Gate and Royal Gate. There was also a wicket gate in the western part of the wall, sometimes called the Pot Gate. The Kwidzyń Gate is brick and is based on a square plan with a side of about 8,5 meters. Its facades are decorated with plastered blendes. Below is a pointed arch with a groin vaulted crossing.

Current state

   To this day, the only preserved element of the medieval fortifications of Prabuty is the Kwidzyń Gate and the eastern part of the Gothic wall adjoining it. In the gatehouse there is a room with an exhibition of souvenirs, paintings, prints and decorations related to the history of Prabuty and the second room with collections and model of the former bishop’s castle.

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Czubiel L., Domagała T., Zabytkowe ośrodki miejskie Warmii i Mazur, Olsztyn 1969.
Webpage, Prabuty.