The Lower Town bastion complex – the Żubr, Wilk, Wyskok, Miś and Królik bastions, Gdańsk
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The Lower Town bastion complex – the Żubr, Wilk, Wyskok, Miś and Królik bastions



The early modern bastion-type fortifications built around Gdańsk are one of the most extensive and most significant such systems in all of northern Europe. The surviving fragment of these fortifications is one of the very few such structures which still exist in Poland. The bastions are an example of 17th-century military architecture and represent one of the stages in the development of municipal fortifications. The complex is also an important part of the landscape of modern Gdańsk due to its prominent location.


In the 16th century, the medieval fortifications built around the city of Gdańsk were already becoming obsolete; for this reason, the municipal authorities decided to erect a new set of fortifications. In 1547, the construction of the early modern fortifications (incorporating roundels and, subsequently, bastions) began. The new fortifications were built along the western side of the Old Town and Main Town and, from 1593, of the Old Suburb as well. In years 1622-1636, a total of fourteen bastions were built, closing off the path towards the city from the north, east and south. The bastions were designed in the so-called old Dutch style, designed by a Dutch architect Corneliusvan den Bosch and built under the supervision of a Dutch engineer named Peter Jansen. The bastions were interconnected by curtain walls and preceded by a double moat filled with water which followed a zigzag pattern. Towards the end of the 19th century, the bastions, which have become obsolete by then and were now blocking the expansion of the city - were slowly being taken apart. Of the northern, eastern and southern lines of fortifications built in 1622-1636, only five bastions remain in the southern fortification line, their names being Żubr, Wilk, Wyskok, Miś and Królik (Buffalo, Wolf, Ledge, Bear and Rabbit).


The Żubr, Wilk, Wyskok, Miś and Królik bastions form an unbroken, arching line of fortifications which have once protected the Old Suburb and Lower Town districts from the south and the south-east. The Żubr bastion, positioned on the western edge of the fortification system, is connected with the St Gertrude bastion by a curtain wall, the said bastion being situated in the corner formed by the southern and the western lines of fortifications. All bastions are interconnected with curtain walls. A single moat flows alongside the structures towards the south and south-east (the second line of moats having been filled with earth), while earthen bulwarks are positioned opposite to the curtain walls.

The bastions take the form of earthen structures covered with turf, each designed on a pentagonal plan. The front sections of the structures face south and south-east; the structures open up towards the city towards the north and north-west.The Żubr bastion features three distinct levels - the low rampart at its base, the higher rampart in the centre and the cavalier at the top. A winding path leads to the cavalier. The Wilk, Wyskok, Miś and Królik bastions are divided into two levels - the lower and the upper ramparts. The lower rampart of the Żubr bastion is supported by buttresses, while its scarp is reinforced with a brick wall. The Wilk, Wyskok, Miś and Królik bastions never featured any casemates; a short postern was built on the Żubr bastion in 1625 (or, as other authors have stated, at the end of the 19th century). Today, all bastions have undergone revalorisation works and are used as recreational areas.

The Żubr Bastion is the relatively best-preserved structure. Built in years 1622-1623, it was extended through the addition of a cavalier at the end of the 17th century or in the early 18th century; the cavalier was subsequently modified during the Napoleonic Wars so that it is lower than it was when originally built. In years 1849-1852, a railway track was constructed on the right flank of the bastion; the right flank of the bastion was modified for this purpose and a brick Railway Gate was erected. During the late 19th century and the early 20th century, the railway line was substantially widened. During World War II, the postern was converted into an air-raid shelter.

The Wilk Bastion, built ca. 1636, is also relatively well-preserved. In 1792, a gunpowder storage facility was built inside the bastion.

The Wyskok Bastion was built in years 1633-1635. It was used as a gunpowder storage facility towards the end of the 18th century. During World War II, it was adapted to serve as an air-raid shelter. Today, the ramparts of the bastion differ significantly from their original appearance in certain spots; in addition, new buildings have been erected inside the bastion. The bulwark, positioned straight ahead of the curtain wall between the Wyskok and Wilk bastions, has been damaged to a significant extent.

The Miś Bastion was built in years 1633-1635. A guardhouse was once located inside the bastion; today, it has been replaced by newer structures. The appearance of the rampart and the curtain wall have become distorted over time. The bulwark positioned ahead of the curtain wall between the Miś and Wyskok bastions is very well preserved.

The Królik Bastion, erected in years 1631-1633, is in a relatively poor state of repair. During the early 1920s, the left flank and rampart were modified, as was a part of the curtain wall to the south-west, positioned adjacent to the bastion. A number of new structures were built inside the bastion. A small bulwark positioned in front of the curtain wall between the Królik and Miś bastions has survived to this day.

Accessible historic building.

Compiled by Beata Dygulska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Gdańsk, 05.08.2014.


  • Bukal G., Fortyfikacje Gdańska i ujścia Wisły 1454-1793, Sopot 2012, s. 114-126.
  • Friedrich J., Gdańskie zabytki architektury do końca XVIII w., Gdańsk 1997, s. 49-50.
  • Stankiewicz J., Biskup K., Fortyfikacje miejskie Gdańska od XVI do XIX w., Teka Gdańska, t. 3, cz. 1, Gdańsk 1998, s. 93, 95, 97, 99.

General information

  • Type: defensive architecture
  • Chronology: 1 poł. XVII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Grodzka Kamienna, Reduta Wilk, Reduta Wyskok, Reduta Miś, Reduta Dzik , Gdańsk
  • Location: Voivodeship pomorskie, district Gdańsk, commune Gdańsk
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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