There are a lot of cities with remains of city walls in Poland but Kożuchów, Ośno lubuskie, Chełmno, Stargard and Paczków are among the cities with the longest and best preserved defensive walls in Poland.
Stargard: a jewel of Gothic architecture
A journey along the European Route of Brick Gothic culminates in a visit to Stargard (12th century), once member of the Hanseatic League. Stargard is the city with the greatest saturation of monuments in Western and Central Pomerania. The historic part of the city comprises a green belt (3 km), 1km long defensive walls with ambushes, as well as towers, gates, bastions and bastilles.
The market square, where the city’s life used to be concentrated in the past, is decorated with the city hall dating back to the 13th century. The most valuable historical building in the market square is the monumental collegiate Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the World. If you are an art connoisseur, you will also appreciate the beauty of the Gothic tenement house known as Protzen’s House, the arsenal, the Białogórska Tower, the Rampart and the original Mill Gates, spanning the river like a bridge, and the granary. The tower of the Gothic Church of St. John is one of the highest towers in Poland (99 m).
Kożuchów: the lubuskie Carcassonne
The little charming town of Kożuchów, western Poland is located on a historic trade route. The city walls of the town are among the best preserved in Poland. At the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries, the city was surrounded by an 8 metres high city wall made of field stones. The medieval city walls are almost completely preserved until today. Parts of the drained city ditch are even 20 meters wide. Walk along the city wall on the former city ditch, and have a rest on one of the benches with a nice view on the fortification.
The illumination of the walls and of the castle invites you to a romantic evening walk. Especially in winter when it gets dark early, you will feel the romantic atmosphere of the medieval city.
In the Middle Ages the city walls could be passed through four gates. All gates were demolished in 1819, only the bastion of Krośnieńska gate has been preserved. The Krosnieńska Bastion houses the regional Museum with an exhibition about the history of the city. A part of the bastion is converted into an apartment. From the outside, you can still recognise the four-storey building with loopholes. Opening hours of the museum: daily 10.00 – 18.00.
Ośno lubuskie: pearl in the Lubuskie Land
Another remarkable little town in Western Poland with almost preserved defensive walls dating from the 14th-15th century. The height of the walls reach 2-5 metres and are made off granite stones and brick. The most beautiful towers are the Thief’s Tower (Baszta Złodziejska) and the Bush’s Tower (Baszta Krzaków) which were both used as prison. You can recognize 7 gates of which 4 preserved their original form. The former ditch is now a canal.
The last years Ośno lubuskie has undergone severe restorations. The green belt near the walls is transformed to a beautiful park with coulorful flowers, fountains and benches, a fantastic place to take a rest. The landscape around Ośno is very scenic with moraines, forests and lakes.
There are a lot more monuments in Ośno: chapels and churches, a synagogue and Jewish cemetery.
Chełmno: the best preserved city walls
The longest and best preserved city walls in Poland you will find in the “city of lovers” Chełmno nad Nerem (Kujawsko Pomorskie Voivodeship, Northern Poland). The 2,2 km long defensive walls dating from the late 13th and early 14th century survived almost entirely. About 80% of the original length of the wall together with 23 towers and two gates preserved. The only surviving medieval gateway in the fortification is the Grudziądzka Gate, thanks to the sacral function it has performed since the 17th century. The Merseburg Gate within the monastery complex is only and partly preserved
The most interesting towers are: the Powder Tower where the archaeological section of the Chełmno Land Museum is located and the Dominican and Virgin Towers, where the seat of the Knight’s brotherhood of Chełmno is situated. The entire historical centre is worth seeing. The town is situated on the European Route of Brick Gothic. The town hall is one of Poland’s most beautiful renaissance monuments.
Chelmno is the place to be on the 14th of February when celebrate Valentine ’s Day here. Chełmno is the official city of lovers thanks to the relics of St. Valentine in the Parish Church.
Chełmno’s dark history
Chełmno is also known for its sad history as extermination camp Kulmhof where 152 000 people were killed. In KZ Kulmhof the Nazis conducted experimental gassings which were later transformed into mass extermination. You can visit a small museum and a monument of remembrance.
Take a break in the first thermal SPA in Poland – Uniejów, located 20 km south of Chełmno nad Nerem.
Packów: the Polish Carcassonne
The medieval character and the defensive walls of Paczków (Opolskie Voivodeship, Southern Poland) are very well preserved. As many as 19 towers and 3 gates survived. Therefore Packów is called the Polish Carcassonne. You can climb the Wrocław Gate. The fortified Church of St John houses a beautiful Renaissance altar.
In the former gas factory the interesting gas industry museum is located. It houses the biggest collection of gasmeters in Europe.
Visit the nearby historic spa town Głuchłazy for a healthy break.