Sławno – city defensive walls

History

   From the early Middle Ages in Sławno there was a Pomeranian wood and earth stronghold (hillfort), which was the center of the Sławno Land, and at the turn of the twelfth and thirteenth century, the capital of a separate duchy. From about 1230 to 1308, the Sławno Duchy belonged to Gdańsk Pomerania, except for the years 1270-1273, when Wisław, prince of Rügen, ruled it. In 1308, the Słupsk and Sławno land were taken over by the Brandenburgians and handed over in the fiefdom to the Pomeranian family of Święcowie, who founded the town in 1317. It received eight years of freedom and probably the first wooden and earth urban fortifications were created.
   The first mention of brick fortifications dates back to the year 1400, when the town belonged to the Duchy of Słupsk. Most probably, the construction of the town walls begun in the second half of the 14th century.
 In 1453 the Koszalin Gate was mentioned, and in 1458 the Słupsk Gate.
   The successful development of the town was only slightly halted during the Thirty Years War. In the 18th century the condition of the town walls was already defined as bad, and in the 19th century dismantling and demolition began. In 1913 the renovation of the Koszalin Gate was carried out, while before 1939 the Słupsk Gate was renewed.

Architecture

   The ring of the fortifications was in oval shape. The town’s area was about 10 hectares and the length of the wall lines was 1,250 meters. The main communication axis was from the south to the north and crossed the market. On the inner side of the wall was a underwall street. Because of the later demolition, it is uncertain whether the town had a full circumference of brick fortifications. It is possible that in few places there was only a wooden palisade, and town was protected by the Wieprz river and its backwaters.
   The defensive wall was strengthen with rectangular half towers open from the town side. The exception was the Prison Tower set up on a circle plan and topped with a conical roof. The town had three gates: Koszalin Gate and Słupsk Gate were located on the main transport route, in the south and north of the town. They were set on a square plan, five-storeyed, now covered with hip roofs. The four upper storeys of the gates are separated with slim blendes, and in the lower floors there are pointed arches. In the main façades are arrowslits converted over time into window openings. The third Meadow Gate, located in the western part of the city, led to the town pastures. In the literature of the subject is also mentioned the Field Gate in the eastern part of the town. However, it was probably only a wicket gate leading to the fields belonging to the town.
  
Sławno was surrounded by the south channel from the river Wieprza which connected to the north with the river Moszczenica. In addition, the defenses were formed by wet, hard-to-reach areas over the Wieprza river. Through the canal and floodplains of Wieprza led two bridges to the town, by the Koszalin Gate and by the Meadow Gate.

Current state

   To this day, only the Słupsk Gate and the Koszalin Gate have survived from the fortifications of Sławno. They are not used or accessible to tourists.

show Koszalin Gate on map

show Słupsk Gate on map

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bibliography:
Jarzewicz J., Architektura średniowieczna Pomorza Zachodniego, Poznań 2019.

Lukas E, Średniowieczne mury miejskie na Pomorzu Zachodnim. Poznań 1975.
Pilch J., Kowalski S., Leksykon zabytków Pomorza Zachodniego i ziemi lubuskiej, Warszawa 2012
Ptaszyńska D., Miejskie mury obronne w województwie koszalińskim, Koszalin 1974.