Defensive towers

ul. Pijarska, Kraków

In the Middle Ages, it was common in most of the European countries to entrust city defence to citizens. This was also the case with Kraków, whose defence organisation consisted in the delegation of care for individual towers to guilds, which were associations of craftsmen. Thus, the thirty-nine Kraków towers that stood 40-50 metres apart were defended by shoemakers, carpenters, joiners, painters etc. In the Middle Ages these groups also included representatives of many forgotten crafts: haberdashers, cordovan-makers or needlemakers. As for the speciality of the "carers", perhaps the most interesting was the Executioner Tower (at the outlet of today's Św. Marka Street), defended by a city executioner and his helpers, called ceklarze, who were appointed by the mayor to keep the city in order. The representatives of guilds were supported by burghers, who were obliged to gather in a designated place, weapon in hand, in case of danger. As the art of war and defence progressed, this type of levée en masse was gradually replaced by regular army: a garrison stationed within the city walls. Today, only the names of three remaining towers – Carpenter's, Joiner's and Haberdasher's – remind us that the noble obligation to defend them used to lie with Kraków craftsmen.
Date: 2013-06-06 Show ticket
News author: Weronika Dulowska
News Publisher: Portal główny EN
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