Defensive city walls, Gliwice
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Gliwice (Latin: Glivitium, German: Gleiwitz, Czech: Glivice or Hlivice) is one of the oldest 13th-century cities of Upper Silesia. The medieval city walls of Gliwice are thus some of the oldest in the region and are priceless from historical and scientific points of view. Their value also lies in their emotional impact.


The charter granting town rights to the settlement has not survived, however, written records state that Gliwice was a city founded under the German law and had its own parish. It can be assumed that the town was established about the mid-13th century, just as the nearby Bytom, which was granted town rights in 1254. Gliwice was most probably founded by Ladislaus I (c. 1225-1281), who was Duke of Racibórz and Opole in the years 1246-1281. As for the construction of the walls, according to Mirosław Furmanek, the present city walls were most likely built on the previous wood and earth fortifications during the reign of Siemowit, Duke of Bytom, who ruled in the years 1312-1342. In 1430, during the Hussite Wars (1419-1436), Taborites led by Sigismund Korybut (c. 1395-1435 — Duke of Lithuania, a pretender to the Czech throne) and helped by Bolko V of Opole conquered and plundered Gliwice, turning it into a camp from which they set out on their expeditions. In 1431, Duke Konrad the White recaptured the town from the Hussites, killing or imprisoning large numbers of its inhabitants and largely destroying the town and its fortifications. For this reason, the fortification system required reconstruction after the Hussite Wars; subsequent modifications were necessitated by the development of new warfare techniques, including artillery. According to urbaria, during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), the fortifications included a tall earth rampart, functioning as a pre-wall, a moat, a wooden palisade, and a city wall incorporating rectangular fortified towers, open on the town side, and two four-storeyed gate towers. In 1626, Gliwice was besieged by Ernst von Mansfeldt (1580-1626), a commander of Dutch Protestant armies, who failed to conquer the fortified town. In the late 18th century and throughout the whole 19th century, the city walls were gradually dismantled and demolished.


The layout of the medieval town surrounded by defensive walls is visible to this day. Sections of the medieval city walls of Gliwice have survived to this day, especially near the rectory of the Church of All Saints and next to the so-called Piast Castle. The fortification system consisted of defensive walls, fortified towers, and a castle, and the whole was surrounded by a moat. Two gates led to the city: the Raciborska (Black) Gate and the Bytomska (White) Gate. The walls were built of stone and brick using the construction technique called opuus emplectum, in which the inner and outer sides of a wall were built of hewn stone blocks or bricks and the space between them was filled with broken stones bonded by mortar. In Gliwice, stone was mainly used to build the lower part of the wall, whereas the larger upper part was made of frogged bricks, their size and arrangement being Gothic in character, employing the so-called Polish bond, more rarely — Slavic bond. The wall was approx. 1175 m long, 1-1.2 m thick, and min. 9 m high. It enclosed a medieval city having an area of approx. 9 ha.

Limited access.

compiled by Michał Bugaj, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 25.09.2015.


  • Furmanek M., Gliwice w świetle badań archeologicznych, [w:] Dominik Abłamowicz, Mirosław Furmanek, Monika Michnik (red.), Początki i rozwój miast Górnego Śląska. Studia interdyscyplinarne, Gliwice 2004.
  • Herbst S., Baum T., Thullie Cz., Trawkowski S., Zabytkowe śródmieście Gliwic w układzie przestrzennym Górnośląskiego Okręgu Przemysłowego, Ochrona Zabytków 7/2 (25), 94-114, 1954.
  • Mauer F. S., Średniowieczne obwarowania Gliwic, Zeszyty Naukowe Politechniki Śląskiej, seria: Architektura, z. 10, 1989.
  • Monika M., Zdaniewicz R., Przeszłość powiatu gliwickiego. Vademecum archeologiczne, Gliwice 2014.
  • Nietsche B., Historia miasta Gliwice, Gliwice 2011.
  • Pierzak J., Miejskie mury obronne na Górnym Śląsku na przykładzie Bytomia, Bielska - Białej, Żor i Gliwic, [w:] Dominik Abłamowicz, Mirosław Furmanek, Monika Michnik (red.), Początki i rozwój miast Górnego Śląska. Studia interdyscyplinarne, Gliwice 2004.
  • Žáček R., Średniowiecze, [w:] Joachim Bahlcke, Dan Gawrecki, Ryszard Kaczmarek (red.), Historia Górnego Śląska. Polityka gospodarka i kultura europejskiego regionu. Gliwice 2011.

General information

  • Type: defensive wall
  • Chronology: 1. poł. XIV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Gliwice
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district Gliwice, commune Gliwice
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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