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Fortifications of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania

The tradition of the construction of defensive military installations, fortifications in Europe has for many hundreds of years. The first stone of the tower, but rather wood with a high stone Foundation, appear on the territory of the GDL, i.e. the modern Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Poland in the 13th century. Here begins the history of stone castle construction in the region. Today, take a tour to Minsk. Grodno, Brest and other cities of Belarus, and especially in Lithuania, Poland and Western Ukraine, you can see unique examples of this architectural period.

Based on the localization of these stone “pillars” (Volyn and its dependent territories) they are called also “towers of Volyn type”. Meanwhile, the only thing that unites the above-mentioned structures is the material from which they were built, and with a considerable degree of conditionality. As far as configuration, performance techniques, style solutions, placement in the system of other companies and, accordingly, functions, and here between them there are significant differences. Until recently, regarding the “towers of Volyn type” is also widely used the term “donjon”. But Makarov has proved that most of them has nothing in common with the classic donjon, which was the first permanent fortified dwelling of a feudal Lord.

To our daysin the most preserved form reached the tower in Kamenets.

And now, having recovered in tours to Belarus or to rest in a sanatorium, Brest region. you can see this magnificent structure. The tower is round in plan, its external diameter is about 13.5 m, wall thickness about 2.5 m. it Has 5 tiers and battle platform with 14 teeth above. Originally the tiers were separated beams, but later on the first and second tiers were made of stone vaults, demolished in 1903. The passage between the tiers was carried out on the wooden stairs, and from the fifth to the combat ground — in clay staircase in thickness of wall. Walls are cut by narrow loopholes, and only at the fourth stage there is a Lancet completed a large doorway. Here is the entrance; in case of danger an external staircase that led to the opening, was taken away and the tower was turned into an impregnable citadel. In some similar buildings in Poland to the doorway was conducted not by the stairs, and the platform with the next section of the castle wall. The Kamenets tower was not meant for permanent housing — there are no heating devices, not to mention the toilets that can be found in residential fortresses of the 16th century It is made of large bricks in the technique of “Baltic” masonry — 2 spoon and 1 jab. In General terms, and architectural details of the tower felt expressive influence of early Gothic.

This very impressive building situated in the middle of the ring and shaft was wooden part of the castle fortifications. The castle was still functioning in the early 16th century C Herberstein, speaking about Kamenetz, describes it as “the city with a stone tower in a wooden castle.” She served, most likely, to observe the neighbourhood and their attack while the enemy attempts to storm the castle. In addition, it could become the last refuge for the defenders in case of penetration of the enemy into the castle. According to the functions of the Kamenetz tower is approaching a fortification typical of the German tradition of tower structures type “Bergfried” (“bergfrit”).