St. Florian's Gate

Kraków, Poland

St. Florian's Gate

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St. Florian's Gate or Florian Gate (Polish: Brama Floriańska) in Kraków, Poland, is one of the best-known Polish Gothic towers, and a focal point of Kraków's Old Town. It was built about the 14th century as a rectangular Gothic tower of "wild stone", part of the city fortifications against Tatar attack.

The tower, first mentioned in 1307, had been built as part of a protective rampart around Kraków after the Tatar attack of 1241 which destroyed most of the city. The permit for the construction of new city defenses featuring stone watchtowers, fortified gates and a moat was issued by Prince Leszek II the Black in 1285. The gate named after St. Florian became the main entryway to the Old Town. It was connected by a long bridge to the circular barbican (Barbakan) erected of brick on the other side of the moat. The Gate was manned by the Kraków Furriers Guild. According to records, by 1473 there were 17 towers defending the city; a century later, there were 33. At the height of its existence, the wall featured 47 watchtowers and eight gates. Also, in 1565–66 a municipal arsenal was built next to St. Florian's Gate.

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