The Hunger Tower, Przewóz
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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A castle tower - nicknamed the Hunger Tower - is located beyond the historical line of the city walls in a western part of the town. It was built of brick and stone in the second half of the 13th century. It is situated on an elevation towering over the town, in the area of a municipal park. The preserved tower is one of the few monuments of this type in the Lubuskie Voivodeship. The tower represents a significant element of the cultural landscape of the Żary poviat.

History

In the Middle Ages Przewóz, situated on the Lausitzer Neisse, was one of the most important towns offering a river crossing on the western peripheries of Poland of that time. It is believed that already in 1018 Bolesław Chrobry incorporated this area to Poland. During the regional disintegration of Poland, Przewóz belonged to the Silesia. It underwent various development stages: from a fort protecting the tract, through a significant trading settlement, to a town founded upon initiative of Princes of Głogów in the second half of the 13th century. The town was founded east of the fortified settlement. In the 13th and 14th century Przewóz was a fief of the von Pack family from Żary and later belonged to the von Bilberstein family. The von Pack family received Przewóz as a fief from king Henry the Bearded. Perhaps it was during the reign of Ulrich von Pack that the castle was built in place of an old fortified town. The tower that has survived to our times is a remnant of the Gothic castle. The castle itself was destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War and has never been rebuilt. In the 19th century clearly visible ruins of the building existed. They were later demolished. Today’s coat of arms of Przewóz refers to this historical building. A three-tower building shown in the middle of the town’s coat of arms symbolises the princes’ castle, which served as a seat of the Przewóz Principality at the turn of the 15th and 16th century. In the 14th and 15th century the town switched owners. Temporarily, Przewóz belonged to Henryk of Jawor, Bolek of Świdnica, the Brandenburg Monarchy and Electors of Saxony. In 1413 the town was bought by John I of Żagań. After his death the Duchy of Żagań and Głogów was divided between four sons. However, the successors fell into conflict that led to a long battle for the primacy over the entire land. In 1449, on the basis of the property left, the Duchy of Przewóz was established and handed over to one of the brothers - John II of Żagań. Wars between brothers lasted until 1472, when John II defeated his brother Baltazar in Żagań and imprisoned him in the Przewóz castle’s tower. Locked in a dungeon, after two months Baltazar died of hunger. The place has been called the Hunger Tower ever since. After several months, already in 1472, John II sold the Duchy of Żagań along with Przewóz to the princes of Saxony. Przewóz belonged to the Saxons until 1545. Then the town functioned under the imperial rule and from 1740 onwards - under the Prussian rule.

Beyond doubt, landscape values of Przewóz and its vicinities inspired folk festivals that were organised there since 1885 and known Germany-wide. The annual event was organised on a castle hill which was transformed into a theatrical stage for three weeks. The festival culminated in an open-air historical show based on the motifs of Baltazar’s tragic death in the Przewóz castle’s tower. This event contributed to the economic development of the town and the increased affluence of its residents. At that time 11 restaurants, 5 cafes, 16 beer pubs and wine bars as well as 3 hotels were established. In the late 19th century city walls were demolished and the town began its spatial development in the north-eastern direction as seen from the old town.

World War II and, in particular, the liberation, contributed to considerable losses in the town’s substance. Half of the town’s buildings were destroyed, which led to the withdrawal of urban rights. Unfortunately, documentation concerning the course of later construction and preservation works conducted at the Hunger Tower has not survived.

Description

The Hunger Tower is located around 300 m west of the Przewóz centre, in a park with demarcated alleys and playgrounds. On a hill, in its southern part, a cylindrical tower - the so-called Hunger Tower, dated to the second half of the 13th century and forming a free-standing element of the princes’ castle, is found.

It was made of stone and brick, in a form of a regular, massive cylinder. A foundation with a 1 metre-tall plinth was made of fieldstones. Upper walls are made of brick and contain traces of rearrangements. The feature is 22 m tall, its base diameter amounts to 11 m and walls are around 4 m thick. A pointed-arch entrance is located at the height of about 6 m. The upper sections of walls contain small, square ventilation gaps. An information plaque about prince Baltazar’s death of hunger in 1472 has been placed on the wall.

Currently, the tower is in an average technical condition, with slight losses of bricks along the entire wall’s height. The damaged tower crest is overgrown with moss and grass. The feature requires adequate security and preservation to prevent the structure from destruction. Adequately exposed, this feature can become a tourist attraction of Przewóz once again.

The feature is a property of self-government. The monument is freely available to the public and is one of the main attraction for the inhabitants of Przewóz and visitors to the Lubuskie Voivodeship.

Compiled by Krzysztof Słowiński, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Zielona Góra, 27-06-2014 r.

Bibliography

  • Garbacz K., Przewodnik po zabytkach województwa lubuskiego, t. 2, Zielona Góra 2012, s.45-48.
  • Kowalski S., Zabytki architektury województwa lubuskiego, Zielona Góra 2010, s. 295-296.
  • Kowalski S., Zabytki województwa zielonogórskiego, Zielona Góra 1987, s. 169-170. Malinowski L., Przewóz i okolice, wczoraj i dziś, Przewóz 2004, s. 8-13.
  • Karta ewidencyjna, Wieża głodowa i mury miejskie w Przewozie, oprac. Sawiński J., 2007, Archiwum Lubuskiego Wojewódzkiego Konserwatora Zabytków w Zielonej Górze.

General information

  • Type: defensive architecture
  • Chronology: 2. poł. XIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Przewóz
  • Location: Voivodeship lubuskie, district żarski, commune Przewóz
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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