Zbąszyń castellan stronghold was first mentioned in 1231. In 1242, Duke Przemysł I founded a customs chamber there to facilitate trading operations between Poland and Teutonic Order lands. The castle-town was captured and plundered by marauders ravaging the borderland area.
According to Edward Raczyński, the first owner of Zbąszyń was Piotr Szwenc; he was sentenced to death in 1307 for betrayal of the country. Then, the estate came down to the Zbąski family who, probably in 14th century, erected there a fortified edifice, referred to in 1456 as a fortalitium. The castle was redeveloped, or possibly replaced by a new one, between 1560 and 1577 by Abraham Zbąski, the then estate proprietor. What has remained of it is a quadrilateral gate tower of a gothic wall thread, incorporated in that novel fortified-structure setup, heavily redeveloped at a later date. The project was continued by Abraham’s grandson Abraham Ciświcki, Castellan of Bydgoszcz and Śrem, owner of the Zbąszyń property since 1613. It was on his initiative that a palazzo-in-fortezza-type residence was erected there in the 1620s, featuring rampart fortifications, modelled after old-Dutch fortifications – it only had earth bastions and fortification curtains.
The fortress, founded upon a rectangular (250 m x 350 m) base, is surrounded and reinforced by earth-banks with four sharp-tipped bastions at the angles. The entry led through the gate tower, with a ravelin heaped-up in front of it, connected with the gate through a drawbridge set above a moat fed with the Oder river waters. Due to the warfare taking place at the time, it is not certain if the works actually got completed at that point.
The layout’s central part featured a residential building, not surviving to date. The stronghold was destroyed several times: in the early 17th century, during the Swedish invasion of 1655–1660 and the Great Northern War in 1706, which turned its fortified as well as residential elements, and even the chapel, into ruins.
The gate tower, rebuilt in 19th century, has survived till this day, as has a part of the earth-water fortifications with visible outlines of embankments and bastions at the north, north-west and north-east alike. A branch of the Regional Museum is housed at the site today.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.