St. Florian’s Gate, Krakow

Kraków | Brama Florjańska
Publisher: St. Kolowiec

Google Street View.

Across from the Barbican – to which it was once connected via drawbridge over the city moat – stands the iconic Floriańska Gate. Erected in 1307, this Gothic gateway tower and its adjacent towers (plus the Barbican) are almost all that remains of the city’s ancient defences which once circled the medieval Old Town. As the most important of the city’s eight medieval gates, St. Florian’s Gate was spared demolition during 19th century Austrian occupation thanks to last-minute local efforts. . . Standing 34.5 metres tall, including the Baroque ‘helmet’ added in the 17th century, Floriańska Gate features a stone eagle on the side facing the Barbican, and a 19th century bas-relief of Saint Florian on the side facing Floriańska Street. There is an altar in the actual passageway, and a hidden chapel in the tower itself
In Your Pocket

Barbican in Cracow in 1799 (from Wikimedia Commons)

St. Florian’s Gate was built at the beginning of 14th century. It is the only one, of the original eight built in the Middle Ages, preserved city gate. It was once connected with the Barbican as a defense complex of the northern section of the city walls. This part of fortification featured stone watchtowers, fortified gates, and a moat. St. Florian’s Gate became the main entryway to the Old Town. The Gate is 34,5 metres high. In the late 15th century the tower was heightened and later, in 1660, a Baroque “helmet” was added. The face of St. Florian’s Gate from the Florianska Street, is adorned with an 18th-century relief of St. Florian. From the other side, the face bears a stone eagle, designed by Jan Matejko in 1820. It replaced a previous relief. Inside the gate, there is a classicist altar from the beginning of 19th century with the late-Baroque copy of the miraculous image of Virgin Mary.

“Album widoków Krakowa i jego okolic” [Album of views of Krakow & surroundings], (from Wikimedia Commons)
Built under the orders of Prince Leszek II in approximately 1285, St. Florian’s Gate was one of 8 towers that formed the city’s new defences, and was itself protected by the adjoining Barbakan gateway. Named after the nearby Church of St. Florian, the gate became the main entrance into the Old Town.It was the starting point of the Royal Road in Krakow, through which many monarchs, foreign envoys, coronation processions, and distinguished guests progressed to the Main Square and eventually towards Wawel Castle over the years.
History Hit

Turnul Alb (White Tower), Brasov, Romania

Brassó. – Kronstadt. Király sétány. – Königs Promenade
[Brasov : King’s Promenade]

Google Street View.

Interior photos

The White Tower was built between 1460 and 1494 and represents one of the most massive constructions of the fortification. The walls are 4 m thick in the basement and the tower is 19 m in diameter. It has battlements, holes for pitch and balconies. The tower is connected to Graft Bastion with a bridge. A fireplace is still preserved in the interior of the tower.

The White tower was built in 1494 on top of a rock. Its straight side closing a semicircle faces the city. The tower has 5 stories and its height ranges between 18-20 meters, depending on the grounds it is built on. It got its name from the whitewash that coated its walls. The top is bastion shaped and the offsets from which showers of stone were dropped on the attacking enemy are still standing on its sidewalls. The entrance of the tower was so high that a ladder was needed in order to get inside. Just like the other buildings, the tower also suffered damages in the 1689 fire which were remedied only in the 1723 restoring works. According to the town defense system the tin- and coppersmiths were responsible for the protection of the tower.
Welcome to Romania

(Via Google Translate)
Along its walls, the tower has ramparts, pit openings and balconies supported by consoles carved in stone. Being 59 m away from the fortress wall, the tower communicates with it through a drawbridge that connected the tower and the Graft Bastion. It overlooked Blumăna and, with its 5 floors, was the highest fortification point in Brașov. Inside the tower was kept the chimney above a hearth, which could also be used to heat the guards and defenders – tinsmiths and coppersmiths. In 1678, the tinsmiths’ guild bought back the obligation to defend the tower, the number of craftsmen being low.

Gate into the Grand Socco, Tangier, Morocco

TANGER. Portes de la ville conduisant au grand Soko
[City gates leading to the Grand Socco]
Publisher: A. Banzaquen, Tangier

Google Street View.

The once bustling marketplace called the Grand Socco, is located in the middle of Tangier. Not so long ago it was filled with traders and buyers, snake charmers, musicians and creative storytellers looking for interested listeners. It is still busy, noisy and congested, but has now become a meeting point and a good central point for travelers who want to explore the city. The word Socco, or souk, means market and even though the Grand Socco in Tangier is not strictly a market place any more, visitors will still find a few traders and vendors here. . . . The Grand Socco is where old Tangier and new Tangier meet. One side of the city has wide streets and modernized buildings which eventually taper off at the point where the market divides the city. Visitors will then be greeted by narrow streets that wind their way through the original and historic side of Tangier.

Gate & Walls, Manila, Philippines

Isabel II Gate and Wall around Old Manila, Philippines

Google Street View.

Construction of the Spanish walled city began under the orders of the Spanish imperial government in the late 16th century to protect the city from foreign invasions, replacing the old prehispanic settlement of Maynila along the shores of the Manila Bay, by the entrance to the Pasig River. . . . The outline of the defensive wall of Intramuros is irregular in shape, following the contours of Manila Bay and the curvature of the Pasig River. The Muralla walls covered an area of 64 hectares (160 acres) of land, surrounded by 8 feet (2.4 m) thick stones and high walls that rise to 22 feet (6.7 m). The walls stretched to an estimated 3-5 kilometers in length. An inner moat (foso) surrounds the perimeter of the wall and an outer moat (contrafoso) surrounds the walls that face the city. . . . Before the American Era, entrance to the city was through eight gates or Puertas namely (clockwise, from Fort Santiago) Puerta Almacenes, Puerta de la Aduana, Puerta de Santo Domingo, Puerta Isabel II, Puerta del Parian, Puerta Real, Puerta Sta. Lucia, and Puerta del Postigo.

The Spanish began building Intramuros in 1521 on 0.67 square kilometres of land strategically chosen between Manila Bay and the Pasig River. It was designed as a tight grid to keep its streets functional but contained. Its purpose? To be the Spaniard’s political and military base in Asia. Grand administrative establishments, as well as religious and educational institutions, thrived within Intramuros, where only the nation’s most powerful clans (mostly from Spanish descent) could settle. Horse-drawn carts (kalesa) rattled through the city’s numerous gates to bring residents to various establishments: Plaza Mayor (the main city square now called Plaza de Roma), the City Hall (Ayuntamiento), Plaza Santo Tomas (where the original University of Sto. Tomas was built), a printing press, churches and Spanish-style colonial homes where residents entertained. Due to constant attacks from foreign invaders, coupled with natural and man-made disasters, defensive features surrounded the city, including two moats, cannons and fortified walls, from bulwarks to ravelins. Hence, the name ‘Intramuros’: a city within the walls.
The Culture Trip

The last gate to be built in Intramuros was opened in 1861 as a solution to the heavy pedestrian traffic outside Parian Gate to the Puente de España (Bridge of Spain) and Binondo. In front of it is the Queen Isabel II statue honoring the then-reigning Spanish monarch. The gate became part of the route of the tranvía (streetcar) system in 19th century Manila. It was damaged during the Battle of Manila in 1945 and was restored in 1966.

Saint-Louis Gate, Quebec, Canada

Porte St-Louis – Quebec – St. Louis Gate
Publisher: Lorenzo Audent Enr

Google Street View.

The Saint-Louis Gate is one of the entry points in the fortified walls surrounding Old Québec. On the inside of the walls, rue Saint-Louis stretches from the gate to Château Frontenac, while on the outside can be found the Parliament Building and Grande Allée. This iconic gate is part of the fortification system comprising bastions, gates and defensive structures that account for Québec City’s renown as a fortified colonial city and the reason Old Québec was named a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Only three other gates that were part of the original fortifications survive: the Kent, Saint-Jean and Prescott gates.
Quebec Cite

St. Lewis Gate, which now goes by its French name, Porte Saint-Louis, was the first part of the fortifications to be removed,. Three more of the five narrow gates that controlled access to the city centre followed suit in the name of easing traffic congestion. In 1878 construction work began on a new Porte Saint-Louis. The gate—which is still standing today—was built on the same site, but was a big improvement on the original in looks and size. It was the first major component of the plan put forward by Lord Dufferin and architect William Lynn to see the light of day. The same stones were used to preserve the gate’s historical charm, and attractive medieval-style turrets were added along with a broad archway to keep traffic moving.
Ville de Quebec

The ramparts of Quebec City is a city wall that surrounds the western end of Old Quebec’s Upper Town in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. The ramparts date back to the 17th century, with the ramparts having undergone a succession of modifications and improvements throughout its history. The city walls extends 4.6 kilometres (2.9 mi), with the southern portions of the ramparts forming a part of the Citadelle of Quebec. . . . There are four main city gates built into the ramparts that provide access to Old Quebec’s Upper Town including Kent Gate, Prescott Gate, Saint-Jean Gate, and Saint-Louis Gate. During the mid-18th century, the ramparts had three city gates, although several other gates were later built in the mid-19th centuries.[18] However the demolition of two city gates, Palace Gate and Hope Gate in the 19th century left the ramparts with a total of four city gates. Plans were in place to demolish the Saint-Jean and Saint-Louis gates in 1871, although intervention from Lord Dufferin prevented their demolition. . . . Saint-Louis Gate is built on rue Saint-Louis whose location back to the late 17th century. However, the present gate was built in 1878, built to replace the older gate with a gate that was more “aesthetically pleasing”. Like Saint-Jean Gate, the doors of Saint-Louis Gate were closed at night, disrupting local traffic until they were permanently removed in 1871.

Viru street & gate, Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn. Viru tänav
Postmarked 1926

Google Street View.

The Walls of Tallinn are the medieval defensive walls constructed around the city of Tallinn in Estonia. The first wall around Tallinn was ordered to be constructed by Margaret Sambiria in 1265 and for that reason, it was known as the Margaret Wall. This wall was less than 5 metres (16 ft) tall and about 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) thick at its base. Since that time it has been enlarged and strengthened. The walls and the many gates are still largely extant today. This is one of the reasons that Tallinn’s old town became a World Heritage Site. The walls were enlarged in the fourteenth century, and citizens of Tallinn were required to turn out for guard duty, which meant to wear their armour and demonstrate their readiness to face off invaders.

The barbican of Viru Gate was part of the defence system of the Tallinn city wall built in the 14th century. A couple of centuries later, it already had 8 gates that consisted of several towers and curtain walls connecting them. The main tower of a gate was always square and the barbicans were equipped with one or two small round towers. As the entrances to the Old Town were widened, several gates were demolished. The Viru Gate had to pay its dues to a horse-drawn tram route that connected the Old Market with Kadriorg. However, the corner towers were preserved.
Visit Estonia

At one point in time, there were a total of 45 towers built into the walls that protected Tallinn. Twenty-six of those still remain. Two of the best preserved of the bunch are called Viru Gate. The gate dates from the 14th Century, as do most of the towers, and sits at the entrance way into the Old Town. . . . The towers used to be the fore gates to the city, and a larger set was built a little further in, which were held up by a set of square towers. Most of the gate was pulled down in 1880, in order to make room for more street traffic.

Tallinn. Viru värav
Postmarked 1926

Street & city gate, Cairo

CAIRO.– Near City Gate
On back:
LE CAIRE.– Un coin de la Ville Arabe.
Publisher: Levy Sons & Co. (1895-1919)

Google Street View.

Bab Zuweila is one of three remaining gates in the walls of the Old City of Cairo, the capital of Egypt. It was also known as Bawabbat al-Mitwali during the Ottoman period, and is sometimes spelled Bab Zuwayla. It is considered one of the major landmarks of the city and is the last remaining southern gate from the walls of Fatimid Cairo in the 11th and 12th century. Its name comes from Bab, meaning “gate”, and Zuwayla, the name of an ethnic group recruited into the Fatimid army from the town of Zuwayla in the Fezzan.

The city of Cairo was founded in 969 as the royal city of the Fatimid dynasty. In 1092, the vizier Badr al-Jamali had a second wall built around Cairo. Bab Zuweila was the southern gate in this wall. It has twin towers (minarets) which can be accessed via a steep climb. In earlier times they were used to scout for enemy troops in the surrounding countryside, and in modern times, they are hailed for providing one of the best views of Old Cairo. The structure also has a famous platform. Executions would sometimes take place there, and it was also from this location that the Sultan would stand to watch the beginning of the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Sometimes the severed heads of criminals would be displayed along the tops of the walls. This was done as recently as 1811, when the severed heads of Mamluks from the Citadel massacre were mounted on spikes here. The corresponding gate on the northern side of the city was the Bab al-Futuh, which still stands on the northern side of the Muizz street.

Bab Zuwayla functioned as the southern entrance to the original Fatimid settlement from A.D. 969 (when ‘al-Qahirah’ or ‘Cairo’ was founded), and was reconstructed in stone in the late eleventh century A.D. by Badr al-Gamali, the de facto ruler of Egypt. During restoration work by ARCE it was discovered that the two massive doors of the Bab Zuwayla, each weighing almost 4 tons, moved on ball bearings, which were initially placed on display in the monument following the completion of the project. Colloquially, the gate is also known as Bab al­-Mitwalli after a popular Sufi saint who is associated with the location.
American Research Centre in Egypt

An Armenian himself, al-Jamali is reported to have employed Armenians from northern Mesopotamia as well as Syrians in a vast building campaign which he embarked on shortly after he assumed power. This work marks the beginning of a newly cultivated taste for stone in Cairo. The Byzantine and north Syrian stone details and techniques demonstrate the most direct encounter between neighboring regional building traditions, manifested in the importation of architects and possibly of manpower.

Delftse Poort, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Postmarked 1914
Publisher: Siegmund Hildesheimer & Co, London & Manchester (1830-1920) “Views of Holland series”

The Delftse Poort was built in 1545 as part of the Rotterdam’s fortification, protecting it from raiders and attackers. Over the years and through the ages, the use for such a structure diminished, but the gate remained as a monument to the city’s past. The gate was rebuilt three times after the original structure had become unstable. In the 1930s, an attempt was made to demolish it to free up space for infrastructure, however, the people spoke up and eventually, the city decided to move the gate to a different spot instead.

Unfortunately, the WWII began and the gate—and city as a whole—was severely damaged in the course of multiple bombings. After the war, reconstruction began and the city slowly grew back. The medieval gate was forgotten until artist Cor Kraat sought to resurrect it. Cor Kraat was opposed to the gray and tasteless architectural style that was used right after the war. Calling the houses gray blocks, he spent much of his life trying to bring contrast and color to the city. The gate was put back in 1993 as a skeleton made out of orange metal beams to symbolize how Rotterdam is constantly under construction.
Atlas Obscura

Google Street View: reimagined gate

“In the foreground the Delftsevaart and the Haagseveer, affected by the German bombardment of 14 May 1940” (from Wikimedia Commons)

Kapellbrucke, Lucerne, Switzerland

LUZERN – Kapellbrücke
Postmarked 1902

Google Street View.

The Kapellbrücke (literally, Chapel Bridge) is a covered wooden footbridge spanning the river Reuss diagonally in the city of Lucerne in central Switzerland. Named after the nearby St. Peter’s Chapel, the bridge is unique in containing a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century, although many of them were destroyed along with a larger part of the centuries-old bridge in a 1993 fire. Subsequently restored, the Kapellbrücke is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, as well as the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge. It serves as the city’s symbol and as one of Switzerland’s main tourist attractions.

Part of the bridge complex is the octagonal 34.5 m (113 ft) tall (from ground) Wasserturm, which translates to “water tower,” in the sense of ‘tower standing in the water.’ The tower pre-dated the bridge by about 30 years.

Lucerne is especially well-known for its wooden bridges. Today, the Chapel Bridge runs from the New Town on the southern bank of the Reuss to the Rathausquai in the medieval Old Town, zigzagging as it passes the impressive Water Tower. Lucerne’s landmark is considered to be Europe’s oldest covered bridge. It was built in 1332 and was originally a part of the city fortifications. The pictorial panels, which were incorporated in the 17th century, contain scenes of Swiss history as well as the Lucerne’s history, including the biographies of the city’s patron saints, St. Leodegar and St. Maurice. Lucerne’s water tower is a powerful yet attractive construction. This octagonal tower – over 34 meters high (111.5 ft.) – was built around 1300 as part of the city wall and used as an archive, treasury, prison and torture chamber.
Switerland Tourism

On back:
Luzern. Inneres der Kapellbrücke.
Publisher: Emil Goetz, Luzern

Bridge in 1996 (photo by me).

Èze, France

ÈZE – Vue générale
General view of Eze
Publishers: Bloc Freres

Google Street View (approximate).

By 1388 Èze fell under the jurisdiction of the House of Savoy, who built up the town as a fortified stronghold because of its proximity to Nice. The history of Èze became turbulent several times in the next few centuries as French and Turkish troops seized the village under orders from Hayreddin Barbarossa in 1543, and Louis XIV destroyed the walls surrounding the city in 1706 in the war of the Spanish succession. Finally in April 1860, Èze was designated as part of France by unanimous decision by the people of Èze.

EZE. – Entrée du Village. – Entrance of the Village. – LL

Publisher: Levy & Neurdein Reunis (1920-1932). Image might be earlier.

Google Street View

Today, Eze retains an aura of a town eternally under siege. There is still only a single entrance to the walled portion of the village. Visitors who approach the now doorless postern gate come eye to eye with a gun port. Once through the gate, they enter a small clearing ringed by high walls, from which it is easy to imagine spears, rocks and boiling oil being flung. Another arched opening, almost a tunnel, must be broached before entering La Placette, a small square that is the town’s largest open space save for the clearing in front of the church.
Paris Voice