Since the beginning of the 13th century, Zalewo was an important stronghold against Prussians and Lithuanians. Its strategic importance was appreciated by the Teutonic Knights, raising the watchtower here in the 13th century. After the conquest of Pogesania and Warmia, the Zalewo lost its importance, however, the settlement developed, inhabited mostly by settlers from Saxony. In 1305, Zalewo received town privilege. The fortified walls in Zalewo were built by the burghers with the help of the Teutonic Order from the beginning of the 14th to the 15th century. The demolition process lasted from the end of the 18th century to the middle of the 19th century.
The town was located in a defensive place between the marshes and Lake Ewingi on the west side. Its layout was rather regular, on an oval-like plan, with two streets parallel to the longer axis, encompassing the market square and connecting at the town gates to the east and west. Right next to the town walls in the south-west corner was built a parish church of St. John the Evangelist, which could have defense or warning functions. Similarly, on the north-east, a Franciscan monastery was built in 1480, but it was demolished as early as the 16th century.
Town walls were built of field stones and bricks. Its thickness was not uniform everywhere. On the north side, where the steep and high embankment formed a natural strengthening, the wall was wide at about 63 cm. On the other three sides, where the slope is mild, the wall was much wider and had a thickness of about 120 cm. There were two gates within it: Kupińska, also called Morąska and the Przezmarcka, and nineteen towers extending beyond the wall. On the outside of the wall was a deep moat filled with water.
Only small fragments of the defensive wall with remodeled tower next to the parish church have survived in the southwestern part of the former defensive circuit.
Czubiel L., Domagała T., Zabytkowe ośrodki miejskie Warmii i Mazur, Olsztyn 1969.
Sypek A., Sypek.R., Zamki i obiekty warowne od Malborka do Torunia, Warszawa 2004.
Website zamkidwory.forumoteka.pl, Zalewo.