The first timber and earth fortifications in Złotoryja (Aurimontium, Goldberg) were erected after 1211, when Henry the Bearded granted the settlement the first town privileges, and probably before 1232, when the town was founded under German Law. The stone defensive walls began to be built in the first half of the fourteenth century on the site of the earlier wooden and earth fortifications. They were recorded for the first time in documents in 1357.
At the beginning of the 15th century, an additional outer ring of walls was erected and the towers and gates were reinforced, and two additional posterns were pierced in the defensive circuit in order to facilitate communication for the inhabitants of Ziębice. Around the middle of the 16th century, Renaissance attics were made on the gate towers, and additional loop holes in the curtains and towers were pierced.
From the 17th century, the fortifications began to lose their importance and decline. The decaying fortifications began to be dismantled in 1822, especially after obtaining official permission in 1863. These works were continued in the years 1900 – 1902, when a section of the wall with the tower was demolished, with the permission of the Ministry of Culture and Art. The first works to protect the preserved fragments were carried out in the years 1964-1965.
The ring of the town wall was made of sandstone, basalt and later bricks, on the plan similar to an oval, elongated along the line north-east, south-west, situated on the eastern side of the Oława River. The wall was 1.4 to 1.7 meters thick, about 5 meters high. Originally it was crowned with a battlement, later at least partially replaced by a straight, roofed parapet with loop holes.
At the beginning of the 15th century, a second, lower belt of fortifications with towers (not around the entire perimeter) was added, located at a distance of about 8-10 meters from the curtains of the main walls. During this period, the inner perimeter of the walls was also strengthened with semicircular towers.
Initially, the town had two gates: the Lower or Legnicka Gate on the north-east side and the Upper Gate, called Smith Gate, located on the opposite side of Ziębice, on the south-west side. At the beginning of the 15th century, the Wolf (Wilkowska) and Salt posterns were pierced, which in the 17th century were transformed into full-fledged gates. The older, main gates were protected by towers.
The longest but also heavily reduced fragments of the preserved defensive walls are from Staszica to Sikorskiego streets and further at Monastery street and Post Office. The semi-cylindrical half towers also have survived. The most notable remains of the fortifications is the Blacksmith’s Tower, originally the tower of the Upper Gate. Its culmination is the result of modern reconstruction.
Przyłęcki M., Miejskie fortyfikacje średniowieczne na Dolnym Śląsku. Ochrona, konserwacja i ekspozycja 1850 – 1980, Warszawa 1987.
Przyłęcki M., Mury obronne miast Dolnego Śląska, Wrocław 1970.