Remains of town walls, Bodzentyn
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Exposed, preserved wall sections give an idea of the scale and size of the medieval town protection system coupled with the "town" castle. They are an example of those very few preserved town fortifications in the former Sandomierskie voivodship, originating from the Middle Ages.

History

Defensive walls of the town were erected at the initiative of Bishop of Cracow Florian from Mokrsk in the second half of the 14th century Most probably, the eastern section of the walls was built in the first place (it is the least protected side of the plateau on which the town is situated), and then the southern and the northern section. From the west, the town adjoined the castle area, which had been probably planned at the stage of chartering (in 1345), and the castle walls constituted an extension of city fortifications. The town and the castle area was initially separated by a wooden fence; a wall with a gate appeared here supposedly in the 2nd half of the 17th century. The fortifications enclosing the area of the then medieval town (ca. 7 ha) were shaped in a horseshoe form.  The wall perimeter featured initially two gates - Opatowska (Sandomierska) gate from the east and Krakowska gate from the south, located at the ends of streets coming out of the frontage of the Market. Documents and iconography give evidence also to fortified towers, which are partially confirmed in the terrain features. At the feet of the wall, there was a little street which is currently preserved only partially on the south. Outside the line of walls, there were a rampart and a moat, but their range and time of creation is unknown. The walls were maintained a couple of times from donations provided by bishops, and suburbans had to keep guard at it. Until the 18th century, the town walls were preserved nearly in whole, but as soon as in the mid-century they were ruined here and there, and the forefields were used for various purposes. In the end of the century (after bishops left the town in 1789), the fortifications became less distinct and started to lose integrity. In the 19th century, they were partially dismantled, and partially reconstructed; in the first half of the century, the gates were disassembled, and after them - the fortified towers, and the material obtained in that way was used for public and private purposes. In the early 20th century the town was converted, which erased the course of the surrounding walls in many places.  The preserved sections underwent examination and were secured in the 80s of the 20th century. Recently, after some strengthening and reconstruction, the remains are exposed and relatively accessible, and the course of the wall is still discernible.

Description

The defensive walls surrounded municipal buildings with a market and a collegiate church, and were connected from the west to the castle fortifications (currently ruined). The gates present earlier in the perimeter: Krakowska, facing south and located in mid-length of the current Licealna Street, and Opatowska - located in the eastern part of the current Langiewicza Street. Neither these gates, nor fortified towers survived, as well as no section of the walls enabling to determine their original height or type of the battlements. The wall sections which have survived to this day are usually approx. 2m high; their original height might exceed 7 m, which is evidenced by the existing sections and historical drawings. External walls were made of split sandstone, evened up to the wall face and laid with levelling courses separated by ca. 1.2 m; the wall is between 1.5 and 1.65 m thick; the later wall dividing the town and the castle is 0.6 - 0.8 m thick. The following wall sections survived — from the north, in the western part, a section running along the border of church terrains on the east-west axis (fragments of the ground floor of a tower are visible here) and partially in the central area (here, they are hidden in ground and overbuilt); — from the east, in the northern part, a section running along the north and south axis — from the southern side, along outbuildings between Słoneczna and Licealna Streets (in the western part of this section, remains of foundations of a bricked fortified tower were visible), and then to the east, fragments in the back of Podmurna Street; — from the West (castle area), in the back of Słoneczna and Krzywa Streets, along outbuildings; as well as fragments of external walls connected with the castle.

The historic building is accessible, partially adapted for visitors.

Compiled by Dariusz Kalina, 20.12.2014.

Bibliography

  • Karta ewidencyjna zabytków architektury i budownictwa, Mury miejskie, compiled by D. Kalina, Kielce 2004, mps w archiwum Wojewódzkiego Urzędu Ochrony Zabytków w Kielcach i Narodowego Instytutu Dziedzictwa w Warszawie.
  • Kuczyński J. Rezydencja biskupów krakowskich w Bodzentynie, [in:] Bodzentyn. Z dziejów miasta w XII-XX wieku, ed. K. Bracha, Kielce 1998, pp. 65-79.
  • Sypkowie A. i  R., Zamki i warownie ziemi sandomierskiej, Warszawa 2003, pp. 105-106.
  • Widawski J., Miejskie mury obronne, Warszawa 1973, pp. 106-112.
  • Wiśniewski J., Dekanat opatowski, Radom 1907.

General information

  • Type: defensive wall
  • Chronology: 2. poł. XIV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Bodzentyn
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district kielecki, commune Bodzentyn - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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