Bardejov – city defensive walls

History

   The construction of the brick fortifications of Bardejov, placed probably in the site of older, wooden fortifications, was begun in 1352 by the order of the Hungarian king Ludwik. Already in 1376 there was a full circuit. After completion of the main construction works in the first half of the fifteenth century four towers were built, and further were added in 1440, 1441 and in 1443 – 1444. In 1420-1441, the fortifications were strengthened by the addition of a second, outer ring of walls. In the 16th century, the city’s defense system was adapted to artillery requirements. The last works related to the extension of city fortifications took place in the first half of the 17th century, but then, due to the development of artillery, they began to lose their defensive values.

Architecture

   The defensive system of Bardejov consisted of stone defensive walls creating a shape similar to an oval with an elongation in the north-east side. The wall, built of sandstone, was provided with a timber porch for the defenders, originally open, later covered with a wooden roof. Its most exposed sections have been reinforced with round and four-sided towers. They were two, three and four-storey with vaults or flat timber ceilings. On each floor there were arrowslits, with time adapted to firearms. Most of towers had names of guilds that defended them and ensured proper maintenance. During the heyday of fortification, there were 23 towers and a double ring of walls surrounded by a water-filled moat. On the northern section of the walls, an additional ditch with water ran also between walls.
   Three gates led to the town: north-eastern called Lower Gate, Upper Gate on the south side, West Gate and northern wicket near the church of St. Giles. The north-eastern and western gates had attached circular barbicans, connected to the suburbs with drawbridges. A smaller barbican without a drawbridge also existed in front of the aforementioned wicket gate. The southern gate, instead of the barbican, had an arched neck with a neck, additional tower and also a drawbridge.

Current state

   Twelve towers have survived to our times, a barbican was also reconstructed at the north-east gate and numerous sections of defensive walls. Despite a number of deficiencies resulting from the demolitions, this system is considered the most representative example of medieval town fortifications in Slovakia.

show Saddlers Tower on map

show Furriers Tower (Red Tower) on map

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bibliography:
Sypek A., Sypek.R., Zamki i obiekty warowne Słowacji Wschodniej, Warszawa 2005.
Website wikipedia.org, Mury obronne Bardejowa.
Strona internetowa wikipedia.org, Mestské opevnenie (Bardejov).