Fortifications of Lubusz Voivodeship
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
Fortifications of Lubusz Voivodeship

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Fortifications of Lubusz Voivodeship

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Fortifications of Lubusz Voivodeship

In the Lubuskie voivodeship, one can find a variety of examples of defensive architecture representing various fortification schools as well as defensive systems. Their include knight towers, castles, manor houses, defensive churches and structures protecting settlements, towns, or states such as palisades, earth ramparts, defensive walls, chains of fortresses, and fortification lines. Previous studies have oriented our knowledge towards medieval fortifications (and even early medieval ones), modern and twentieth-century defensive architecture of the German school, represented here mainly in the form of the so-called Festungsfront Oder-Warthe-Bogen and Oderstellung.

In most of the urban centres of the Lubuskie voivodeship, already in the end of the 13th century stone fortifications were built in the form of a curtain wall system, fortified towers and gates, which replaced earlier wooden and earthen structures. City defensive systems were upgraded several times and reached their peak at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. Works around city fortifications were enforced not only by the political situation, but also the development of munitions, mostly artillery, whose introduction on a massive scale during the Hussite Wars resulted in profound changes in defensive architecture. The War of the Duchy of Głogów Succession (1476–1489) and the Turkish threat forced municipal authorities to take efforts to maintain and extend their fortifications. The Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) brought their final decline. During the war, most of the cities in the region were captured and pillaged many times, which was reflected in the condition of municipal fortifications which – due to their uselessness in terms of the development of modern means of combat and changes in the war tactics, began to be gradually dismantled. Often the material from the dismantled walls was used to rebuild towns destroyed by fires. An important reason for the liquidation of defensive structures was also the need to allow municipal buildings outside the line of medieval fortifications. The twilight of the middle ages brought to live in turn new defensive structures, such as e.g. bastions. Another and no less important inspiration to modernise the existing defensive complexes of towns was certainly the architectural fashion prevailing at that time. All existing nobility seats, i.e. castles, residential towers, and first and foremost wooden manor houses, were converted and replaced with brick buildings. Defensive functions were limited, and residential and representative ones extended. Defensive features of these structures are currently hard to notice, since all of them were converted at a later time. It seems that the lowest storeys (high basements), where instead of windows, embrasures were used, were most often adapted for defence purposes. Also corner towers were used for defensive purposes.

            In the 18th and in the beginning of the 19th century, only important garrison cities and fortresses were provided with fortifications. During Silesian and Napoleonic Wars, mainly field fortifications were built, e.g. redoubts, lunettes, sconces, most commonly where troops stationed. They often had the form of camps surrounded by earthen fortifications inside which artillery could be set inside and defence led. Inside, there were tents and simple wooden buildings. Many towns with defensive systems have retained them until today. In a few cases, only relics remained of the systems. The protection of municipal defensive systems and their appropriate presentation give broad possibilities of promoting the towns and enrich their tourist offer. The state of conservation of municipal defensive systems can be presented on the basis of selected towns from the region, i.e. Kożuchów, Gorzów Wielkopolski, Ośno Lubuskie, Strzelce Krajeńskie, or Wschowa, which are an excellent example for future studies, popularisation, and protection of the defensive architecture fabric present in the Lubusz Land.

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