::           Opening The Town Hall Tower 17.11.2012          


Dear Reader,

If you came across this webpage and became interested in the history of our Town Hall Tower in Świdnica, reconstructed after 45 years after its collapse, we cordially invite you to read further. Here you will find the history of the Town Hall Tower before its collapse, the history of its reconstruction as well as numerous curious details referring to the Town Hall Tower.

Unfortunately, there does not exist a comprehensive and independent monograph of the Town Hall Tower in Świdnica in Polish. Usually its history was dealt with on the occasion of describing the history and development of the entire Mid-Market block including the Town Hall. The exception that proves the rule is the chronicle of the Town Hall Tower written at the very beginning of the 19th century by Kallinich and referred to as „Bemerkungen uber den Rathsthurm der Stadt Schweidnitz, nach Zeitgeschichten und Urkunden”. It was placed in the sphere on the cupola of the Town Hall Tower in 1822 and therefore it survived until today and can be found in the collections of the Museum of Old Commerce.

One of the first papers in Polish in which we can find information on the Town Hall Tower are „Studia z historii budowy miast polskich. Zarys rozwoju przestrzennego miasta Świdnicy”(„From History of Structure of Polish City. A historical outline of spatial development of Świdnica) written by Władysław Dziewulski published in 1957 in Warsaw. The above-mentioned issue is also presented by Danuta Hanulanka in the monograph entitled „Świdnica” published in 1961 (second edition, amended in 1973). What is interesting is also the book written by Rafał Czerner and Czesław Lasota entitled „Blok ratuszowy w Świdnicy do połowy XVI wieku” („Town Hall block in Świdnica until the half of the 16th century”) dealing with the development of this part of Old Town mainly on the basis of archaeological researches of Mid-Market block. The popular-scientific history of the Town Hall Tower and attempts of its reconstruction were prepared by Marek Furmankiewicz in „Rocznik świdnicki 1998” – „Historia i plany odbudowy wieży ratuszowej w Świdnicy” („The Yearbook of Świdnica 1998” - „History and plans of reconstruction of the Town Hall Tower in Świdnica”).

One of the final publications that appeared in Polish and referred to this subject-matter is „Geschichte der Stadt Schweidnitz” written by Heinrich Schubert (published in 1911). In 2006 it was translated into Polish by Sobiesław Nowotny - „Szkice z historii miasta Świdnicy” („An outline of the history of Świdnica”) Vol. I, 2006 and Vol. II, 2007). Admittedly there is not any separate material devoted to the tower itself but the section „Town Hall Tower” contained a lot of information about it. The articles about the history of the Town Hall Tower appeared among others in: „Wieża ratuszowa” Vol. I and II, „Wiadomości Świdnickie” no. 32 and 33/1992 by Andrzej Dobkiewicz; „Świdnicki ratusz”, Wiadomości Świdnickie no. 40/1993 by Wiesław Rośkowicz; or „Wieża ratusza”, „Wiadomości Świdnickie” 2011 (also published on http://ws-24.pl) by Sobiesław Nowotny.

The history of the Town Hall Tower was also described in a condensed form by Andrzej Scheer in „Kalendarz Świdnicki 1995”, published in Świdnica.

A lot of information referring to the tower – unfortunately dispersed - can also be found in German and Latin publications but they are unfortunately only available in libraries and museums. They comprise both old chronicles written in general between the 16th and 18th century the sparse notes of which were translated into Polish on the occasion of elaborating diverse subject-matters. The most significant are the following chronicles of: Balthasar Usler and Balthasar Seiler, Michael Steinberg, Daniel Czepko von Reigersfeld, Ephraim Ignatius Naso, August Helbing as well as several chronicles written by anonymous authors. The curiosities referring to the tower can also be found in memoirs and other works of the authors of Świdnica such as August Gotfryd Hoffmann or Nikolaus Thomas as well as in the works of the 19th century German historians including F. J. Schmidt „Geschichte der Stadt Schweidnitz” (Vol. I, published in 1846, Vol. II, published in 1848 - repeatedly published in Germany within last several years – and W. Schirrmann „Chronik der Stadt Schweidnitz” (published in approximately 1909).

The separate group of materials referring to the Town Hall Tower is formed by architectural/archaeological studies which came into existence as a result of the researches carried out within the last two decades. Unfortunately formed against order of various institutions they were not printed still remaining in the form of typescripts archived in planning offices, museums or offices responsible for ordering them. It is possible that they – as far as they are made available by the owners – will be digitized on our webpage so that the access to results of researches of architects and archaeologists and inquiries of historians has the broadest possible group of history enthusiasts. It is similar with the iconography devoted to the tower which survived in the form of prints of the period betweeen the 17th and 19th century, postcards and photographs which will also be made available in our Gallery systematically.

With the exception of several items all the books, studies and articles mentioned are available in the form of originals or photocopies in the Museum of Old Commerce in Świdnica.

The Chronicle of Michael Steinberg is a part of the study Scriptores rerum silesiacarum. Bd. 11, Schweidnitzer Chronisten des XVI. Jahrhundertswhich is digitized in Silesian Digital Library (http://www.sbc.org.pl). In the library there can also be found the digitized chronicle of W. Schirrmann „Chronik der Stadt Schweidnitz”. In Digital Library of Opole (http://obc.opole.pl) there can be found the digitized book entitled „Geschichte der Stadt Schweidnitz” written by Heinrich Schubert. The chronicle of Baltazar Usler and Baltazar Seiler„Annales et res Svidnicenses, Excerpta aus Balthaus: Usleri Svidnic: und Balthas: Seileri Pistoris Svid: Geschribenen Chronicis meist Svidnicensia betreffend, Ab Anno 1216-1633)” in the form of manuscript can be found in Wroclaw University Library, Manuscripts Department, Accession Index 1950/1055. „Phoenix redivivus, ducatuum Svidnicencis Javroviensis” written by Ephraim Ignatius Naso is digitized in the Digital Library of Wrocław University (http://www.bibliotekacyfrowa.pl).

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