Kremnica – city defensive walls

History

   Kremnica received town privilege (charter) in 1328 by king Charles Robert of Hungary, while stone fortifications, independent of the town castle, began to be built at the end of the 14th century on the initiative of king Sigismund I and were completed in a relatively short time, at the beginning of the 15th century. They were to protect an important center of precious metal mining and the seat of the royal mint, not located at the intersection of the main trade routes, but along the “magna via”. In the 16th century, the defensive walls were modernized by adapting them to the use of firearms. The town was never captured, although it was besieged by the troops of the Hungarian governor János Hunyady in 1452. However, eventually the defenders led by Jan Jiskra made peace in the camp outside the Kremnica walls. Czech Hussites also attacked the town unsuccessfully in 1433. Two city gates and part of the walls were pulled down in the 1880s.

Architecture

   The town was situated at the end of a valley through which the Kremnicky stream flowed. The fortifications were erected at its eastern shore on a plan somewhat similar to a square with a few small bents of curtains. The town area clearly climbed north-east, up to the corner where the castle with its own defensive perimeter was located with the church of St. Catherine. A small watercourse, connecting with the Kremnicky stream, also protected the town from the south.
   The walls in Kremnica surrounded the former historic center of the royal mining town, covering an area of ​​approximately 45,000 square meters. Its height ranged from 5 to 7 meters. From the town side, it was equipped with a wall-walk for defenders with access to arrowslits pierced in a straight breastwork. In the southern corners, it was reinforced with two cylindrical towers: Red Tower in the south-east and Black Tower in the south corner. A similar tower was also located in the north-west corner, and in the length of the eastern, western and southern curtains there were several more four-sided towers (there were 9 towers in total around the perimeter). Three gates led to the town: the Upper Gate from the north, the Lower Gate from the south towards Šášov and from the east Bystrica Gate, also known as the Small Gate.
   In the 16th century, the towers and walls received loop holes adapted to firearms, and in 1560 a barbican was built in front of the Lower Gate, secured at the front by a massive passage tower. To increase the defense from the south, a ditch was dug in front of the gate complex, connecting the two streams. The foregate extended to the north was also built in front of the Upper Gate.

Current state

   Currently the best preserved is the Lower Gate complex with the barbican and the southern section of the walls with the Black and Red towers. In addition, a large part of the eastern section and the northern part have been preserved. The walls integrated into the building are also visible from the west. There is a tourist information center in the barbican tower.

show Lower Gate on map

show Red Tower on map

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bibliography:
Lexikon stredovekých miest na Slovensku, red. Štefánik M., Lukačka J., Bratislava 2010.

Mencl V., Stredoveka mesta na Slovensku, Bratislava 1938.
Webpage visitkremnica.com, Opevnenie mesta.