Stargard is one of the oldest settlements in Western Pomerania, dating back to the 8th and 9th centuries, when an early medieval settlement developed south of today’s center. Its inhabitants contributed to the construction of a hillfort in the Ina river bend. In the next centuries, between the 10th and 12th centuries south of the fortified settlement, an open suburb was created. The development of the settlements was conducive to the crossing of trade routes. Early development of the hillfort was followed by the granting of the Magdeburg town privilege in 1243 or 1253.
In the years 1250-1280 a brick building of municipal authorities was created, the so-called merchant house. In addition to serving as a place for meetings of laymens and councilors, it also had a commercial function. In 1540 the town hall was partially destroyed during the town fire. In the mid-16th century, late gothic decor was given to the façades. The roof of the rear façade destroyed by the fire was rebuilt in 1635 in the early baroque form. In the 18th and 19th centuries, small merchant’s stalls were added to the northern façade, which was liquidated in 1868-1876. At the end of the nineteenth century, the building was undergoing a regothisation.
The remaining medieval buildings were damaged by a fire from 1584, caused by a lightning strike. It destroyed 487 buildings, that is about half of the buildings inside the walls. Even more destruction was caused by the fire of 1635, after which only eighteen houses survived around the church of St. John. From 1668, when Stargard became the capital of the Brandenburg Pomerania, the construction movement revived. However, new buildings have already been created in a different architectural style.
The town was characterized by a block layout, with a dense network of streets located in an area enclosing a 700 x 900 meter rectangle. The buildings were initially mostly timber or half-timbered, only from the fifteenth century, it began to be gradually replaced with brick one. At the market square, a market hall was located, according to Magdeburg law, later replaced in the years 1250 – 1280 by the town hall.
The Stargard town hall was erected on a rectangular plan, originally it had the height of the current ground floor. Facade was facing south, with staircases at both ends. Inside was a large hall, covered with beamed ceilings, supported on wooden and brick pillars. This type of building with a basement, double-nave hall with wooden ceiling was erected in Western Europe from the 13th century. At the end of the fourteenth century the town hall was completely rebuilt. The building was elevated by one floor and the usable attic. On the ground floor was left a merchant hall, on the upper floor there were administrative rooms: the meeting room, the court room, the mayor’s room, the chancellery, the town archives, the treasury. The building also received a rich architectural decor. The side elevations were divided into niches in which the windows have been arranged, the lower ones closed by segmental arches, and on the first floor by fancy curtain patterns. The western facade, facing the market, was the most important and decorated. Its gable was divided into five horizontal zones, separated by cornices and filled with a complex network of late gothic tracery. During the reconstruction after the fire in 1569, rich tracery gables were introduced, and the shape and size of the windows were changed.
Tenement house, known as the House of Protzen, was erected in the first half of the 15th century as a typical, late gothic house of a prosperous townspeople family. These houses had located the owner’s apartment, exchange office and workshop on the high ground floor. Higher were three, granary storeys, serving as a warehouse for goods. Facade of Protzen House is a valuable monument of late gothic architecture. In the ground floor, a pointed portal was erected, equipped with two circle blendes on its sides. At its sides were made windows, now with full arches, originally perhaps pointed arches. The top of the building was separated from the ground with a cornice. In the fields between profiled lesenes, twin, pointed blendes were added, topped with a circular blendes. In slender lancet blendes, four levels of windows were separated by simple cornices.
Jarzewicz J., Architektura średniowieczna Pomorza Zachodniego, Poznań 2019.
Pilch J., Kowalski S., Leksykon zabytków Pomorza Zachodniego i ziemi lubuskiej, Warszawa 2012
Website encyklopedia.szczecin.pl, Ratusz (Stargard).
Website tps-stargard.pl, Kamienica mieszczańska w Stargardzie XIV – XVIII wieku.