City wall complex, Brodnica
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The city wall complex is an example of a medieval defensive complex typical of the Chełmno region. Today, the walls bear testimony to the spatial growth of the city as well as the changes in the methods of warfare which took place over the years.

History

The beginnings of the urban development of what is now known as the city of Brodnica can be traced to the relocation of the original settlement, known as opiddum in Straisbegk, to the site of the present city following the Lithuanian incursion of 1298. The urban layout called for the formation of a street grid with a main avenue leading from the north to the south, across the entire town. The increasing population accompanied by the lack of living space resulted in the town being extended in 1353 through the incorporation of the land accompanying the cas-tle and hitherto occupied by various barns and vegetable gardens. The brick city walls were erected during the period between 1310 and 1330. In 1370, the two gatehouses - the Ma-zurska Gate and the Chełmińska Gate - were extended and were now accompanied by a sys-tem of fortified towers. The defensive system took the form of a double ring of walls, with fifteen fortified towers and a moat. When the entire system lost its defensive significance somewhere around the mid-19th century, the gradual demolition of the walls began, with some of them being incorporated into the structure of newly erected buildings instead. Until the 19th century, the Chełmińska Gate served as a prison. The building was subjected to reno-vation works in 1898, its pinnacled gables partially reconstructed. The tower forming part of the Mazurska Gate complex has also been refurbished during that period.

Description

The walls have only been preserved in fragments, with most of them being either incorporated into various buildings or taking the form of vestigial structures, sometimes barely visible above the ground. The longest surviving section runs across the parcels of land on the northern and eastern side of Kilińskiego street. A fragment of a polygonal open-gorged tower can be seen in the north-eastern corner of the Old School Square. Remnants of the walls can also be seen in the rear sections of the parcels located on the northern side of the Przykop street as well as on the lots positioned adjacent to the castle grounds. A well-preserved section of the wall has been incorporated into the western façade of the granary at 3 Wodna street.

The Chełmińska (Kamienna) Gate is located in the northern part of the original chartered town, in the immediate vicinity of the Kamionka suburb, between the Kamionka street exit and the Little Market Square. It is a brick structure, with the lower and upper sections of its walls erected using the monk bond and the Gothic bond respectively. It was designed on a roughly square plan and features a single gateway topped with pointed arches. Above the gate aperture, the southern façade follows a three-axial, two-storey layout. The wall of the third storey is receded slightly vis-à-vis the second storey. The façade is adorned with axially posi-tioned blind windows, with the first- and second-floor blind windows being topped with segmental arches and pointed arches respectively. All of the blind windows incorporate small-er, segment-headed window openings. At the top of the façade runs a plain frieze, its surface covered with plaster. Above the frieze rises a stepped gable partitioned with six profiled lesenes surmounted by pyramid-shaped pinnacles. The spaces between the lesenes is occupied by blind windows, with the two outermost blind windows and the middle one topped with pointed arches, while the others feature round arches. The gable is partitioned by a pair of friezes. The small, triangular ornamental gablets (wimpergs) between the pinnacles are pierced with circular apertures (oculi). The northern façade is similarly disposed, albeit with no blind window being present on the westernmost axis at the first-floor level. The stepped gable is partitioned by seven lesenes, which means that the two central wimpergs are positioned at exactly the same height. A fragment of the gorge wall can be seen on the western side of the gateway. Traces of the spots where the city walls had once adjoined the gatehouse are easily discernible in its side façades.

The Mazurska Tower (Masurian Tower) is located on the Drwęca river bank, in the southern part of the original chartered town, at the corner of the now-vanished walls situated at the intersection of the Kościuszko and Tylna streets. The tower is a brick structure, constructed using the Gothic bond; its ground-floor level was designed on a rectangular floor plan, while the upper section of the tower is octagonal in shape. A pair of pointed-arch blind window can be seen at the ground-floor level on the eastern side, one of them incorporating a modern doorway. The façades are topped with a profiled crowning cornice above which rise two rows of rectangular windows, with the upper windows set into shallow, rectangular niches. Putlock holes can still be seen in the façades. The structure is covered with an eight-faced pyramid roof. Traces of the now-defunct Mazurska Gate complex can still be seen in the eastern fa-çade.

The site is open to visitors. The Chełmińska Gate serves as a branch of the Brodnica museum. The Mazurska Tower is currently used as a tourist information centre as well as an office of the Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society (PTTK). The remaining parts of the complex take the form of open-air attractions.

compiled by Piotr Dąbrowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Toruń, 14-12-2014 r.

Bibliography

  • Czaja R., Dzieje miasta w średniowieczu (XIII wiek-1466 rok) /w:/ Brodnica: Siedem wieków miasta, red. J. Dygdała, Brodnica 1998, s.81-89.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, t. 11, Województwo bydgoskie, z. 2 Powiat brodnicki, red. T. Chrzanowski, M. Kornecki, Warszawa 1971, s. 20-21.

General information

  • Type: defensive wall
  • Chronology: 1310-1330 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Brodnica
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district brodnicki, commune Brodnica (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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