Fort No. 31 St Benedict, Kraków
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The only preserved fort of the 3 forts comprising the Krzemionki Stronghold, constituting part of fortifications of Cracow from the 1860s, reminiscent of the "new Prussian" system, the last development chain of the "bastion" school. Fort No. 31 represents a type of 19th-century artillery fortified tower, used in many strongholds until the mid-19th century (Ulm, Linz, Verona, Lviv, and others). As one of the later architectural structures of that type, it is an example of the most advanced solutions in this field in the early modern Austrian fortification school.

History

Its location on the eastern edge of the Krzemionki range was dictated by the need to defend the Lviv route and foregrounds of the bridge connecting Podgórze with Cracow.

The name of the fort is derived from the nearby church of St Benedict, and the design of the structure is attributed to Feliks Księżarski - an eminent architect of Cracow of the 19th century.

The Krzemionki stronghold is reminiscent of the fortified settlement of Duke Józef Poniatowski, built in this place in 1813. It defended Cracow from the south, and extended along the southern edge of Krzemionki, and encompassed, on the eastern edge of the hill, the Fort of St Benedict located to the west from the Krzemionki fort, connected with earthen ramparts running along a broken line /tongs/ reinforced with 3 flattened bastions of the "Spanish" type, with a moat excavated in rock and an external sconce - the third fort, so-called Fort of Krakus, advanced to the front and separated by a valley, encompassed a rampart with round bastions, circumscribed by walls, and running around the Mound of Krakus and defensive barracks with a barbacan.

The Krzemionki stronghold complex lost its significance after extension of the stronghold in the end of the 19th century, when it begin to be used for auxiliary purposes, and its individual structures were gradually damaged:

1934 - levelling of the ramparts of the Fort of Krakus /archaeological studies/

Approx. 1948 - destruction of the bastion /IX/ with adjacent tongs-curtain walls /construction of a stadium/

Approx. 150 - liquidation of the curtain wall at the bastion /VIII/ by the fort of St Benedict /construction of a kindergarten/

1954 - destruction of the fort of Krakus and beginning of dismantling of the Krzemionki fort.

After 1918, fort no. 31 was adapted for residential purposes and used until 1984. In 1991, renovation of the fort started along with adopting it for the needs of artists.

Currently, it is not used.

Description

The FORT OF ST BENEDICT is circumscribed by a partially filled moat with lowered sconces and a surviving outline of a rampart with moat and a bastion from the south-west.

The structure has the shape of a low, two-storey fortified tower, built on a regular hexadecagon floor plan, with a circular yard in the middle. It is a brick building finished with a plinth from stone ashlars. There are basements under some parts of the fort, with low basement localities, covered by surbased vaults. In the entrance hall, there is a wooden drawbridge, once drawn above the moat (filled today), and used presently as floor. Inside, there is a corridor running along a circle and adjacent rooms on an irregular quadrangle floor plan at the ground floor and first floor level, covered by barrel vaults with lunettes. In one of the rooms, there are stone winder stairs. In the entrance to the staircase, there is a three-leaf flap gate. A similar gate can be found in the entrance to the yard. In the external walls, there are two rows of windows with deep, splayed jambs, with segmental arch marked by brick arrangement, in flat brick surrounds with accentuated upper corners, with partially preserved window sills made of sandstone slabs. On the sides of the windows, there are narrow, splayed embrasure openings, bricked-up at the ground floor level. Above, there is a row of small windows.

In the top section of the walls, there is a stone cornice with a motif of brick corbel.

In the top section of the walls from the south-west, there are battlements intercepted in the corners by machicolations on supports from sandstone. From the west, there is a pointed-arch stepped portal with metal crockets, with preserved joinery of a two-leaf gate made of diagonally arranged planks with studs, with door and embrasure openings, preceded by a brick wall with embrasures. The roof is of gable type, and it was originally masked with greenery (presently, with addition on the top).

The fort is owned by the Municipality of Cracow. It can be viewed from outside. It is fenced by mesh which is damaged in many places.

compiled by Grzegorz Młynarczyk, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Krakow, 27-08-2014.

Bibliography

  • J.Bogdanowski, Twierdza Krzemionki, Ziemia,1956,nr2 s.22-24
  • B.Fischinger,Kraków-Stare Podgórze,studium…, masz.PKZ-Kraków
  • R.Kiełkowski, Historie spod kopca Krakusa, WL 1972
  • Red. Pod kier. J. Janczykowskiego, Fort 31 „Św. Benedykt”,(Atlas Twierdzy Kraków Seria 1;t.1), „Bit Art.”. 1993
  • Red. Tomu W. Brzoskwinia, Fortyfikacja austriacka w Polsce:stan badań i problemy ochrony: materiały konferencji naukowej 12-13 III 19993 Kraków (J. Janczykowski-Prace konserwatorskie w forcie nr 31… s.101-102, „Zebra” 1995
  • H.Łukasik,A Turowicz Twierdza Kraków -znana i nieznana: przewodnik turystyczny. Cz.3 s. 73-80, „Arkadiusz Wingert” 2003
  • Karta ewidencyjna „biała”. Fort Św. Benedykta opr. J. Jurczak, 1976

General information

  • Type: defensive architecture
  • Chronology: 2. poł. XIX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Stawarza 56, Kraków
  • Location: Voivodeship małopolskie, district Kraków, commune Kraków
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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