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Protecting Bardejov

A COMMON reality of medieval towns was the need to construct fortifications, a project that could sometimes span several centuries. The amount of money that flowed from royal coffers to fund such projects was typically considerable. However, these investments tended to pay off for the towns and the ruler.

A COMMON reality of medieval towns was the need to construct fortifications, a project that could sometimes span several centuries. The amount of money that flowed from royal coffers to fund such projects was typically considerable. However, these investments tended to pay off for the towns and the ruler.

This was the case for Bardejov, located in what was then Upper Hungary, the northern part of the Kingdom of Hungary. Given its location along important trade routes heading to Poland and Russia, it generated a significant amount of wealth that needed to be protected.

In 1376, the town’s fortifications had already been erected, but improvements were made in the following decades, such as a defensive moat that was dug around the walls. Bardejov’s fortifications also included 12 bastions, one of which is depicted in this colourised postcard dating back to 1925. Apart from the bastion, the ruins of the adjoining walls are also visible.

In 1526, 15 merchants lived in Bardejov who were engaged in trading with distant territories. The most important commodity at that time was cloth, which was imported by merchants from Bohemia and Upper Lusatia, but also from England, Switzerland and Flanders.

Wine, grown in the town’s own vineyards, was an important and popular export, much of which went to Poland and Russia. Beer brewed in the town was also exported. Three types are known to have been produced: barley, wheat and March (black-barley) beer.

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