Market Gate in Elbląg, Elbląg
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The only preserved part of the complex of Medieval fortifications around the city, an excellent example of defensive architecture and one of the tallest structures of this type in the country.

History

The structure was erected in around 1319 during the construction of the first line of brick and stone fortifications with a moat, which replaced the earlier wooden and earthen fortifications of the city. Following the construction of the second line of fortifications and by the time of the demolition of the fortifications at the end of the 18th century, it was called the Innerl Market Gate (Innere Marktthor). As one of three main city gates (apart from the Blacksmith and Castle gates) it served as the final, closing section of the Old Market in the northern side of the city. Initially a relatively small structure (about 13 metres) as a result of extension works performed after 1420, currently it is 26 metres high. In 1521, at the order of Sigismund the Old, the sides of the gate were strengthened with granite gate stops adorned with the representations of the so-called baker’s shovels, commemorating events of the final war between Poland and the Teutonic Order (1519-1525). It is said that a baker’s apprentice used a shovel to cut through the lines holding the portcullis in its lifted position, thereby closing the gate and preventing the Teutonic knights from making their way into the city at the very last moment. The first mentions of the tower clock, founded by Isaak Spiering, date back to 1639. In 1755 the gate was crowned with a Baroque dome, and a new clock was installed. Following the fire which engulfed the church of St Nicholas, necessitating the demolition of the church towers, the gatehouse served as a watchtower for firefighters, which saved the tower from demolition at the turn of the 18th and the 19th century. In February 1945, during the armed clashes which took place in the city, the roof of the tower was destroyed and the interiors were completely gutted by fire. The reconstruction of the gate - as the first historic monument in the city - started in 1949. The walls were reinforced by means of reinforced concrete joints and the crown of the walls was strengthened using a reinforced concrete grate. The niches which housed the clocks were bricked up and replaced by the recreated windows and embrasures, while the Baroque dome was replaced with the current hip roof. In 2000, an electronic tower clock was installed in the tower, with clock faces positioned in the northern and southern facades; the project was funded by the mayor of Hamburg O. Runde (former citizen of the city). In 2006, a thorough renovation of the historic building commenced, combined with the adaptation of the interior for tourist purposes. The interior was divided into individual storeys once again, a staircase was installed inside the gateway passage. New windows were also installed.

Description

The tower is a Gothic edifice made of brick (monk bond), built on a rectangular floor plan and topped with a hip roof with dormers in each of the four surfaces of the roof. The southern and northern facades are accentuated by pointed-arch niches. The niche in the southern facade incorporates pairs of windows in narrow recesses on three levels of the tower, with a circular window positioned just below the pointed arch of the niche. The top section of the niche in the northern facade incorporates a painted coat of arms of the city. On the uppermost storey, between pairs of windows, octagonal clock faces were installed. Parts of the walls in the ground floor section are a later addition to the structure; these sections are visually separated by means of a string course. The gateway itself takes the form of pointed-arch openings.

Accessible structure.

Compiled by Maurycy Domino, 4.12.2014.

 

Bibliography

  • Hauke K. Stobbe H., Die Baugeschichte und die Baudenkmäler der Stadt Elbing, Stuttgart 1964, p.48-49.
  • Link W., Beiträge zur Geschichte der Elbinger Uhren, „Elbinger Jahrbuch“ 1927, H. 5/6, p. 84-86.
  • Mamuszka F., Elbląg i okolice, Gdańsk 1978, p. 71.
  • Sierzputowski W., Stan i odbudowa zabytków Elbląga w latach 1945 - 1960, „Rocznik Elbląski” 1961, no. 1, p. 138 - 148.

General information

  • Type: small architecture forms
  • Chronology: 1319
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Stary Rynek , Elbląg
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district Elbląg, commune Elbląg
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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