Some Remarks on the Topography of Medieval Wawel
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The archaeological and architectural investigations conducted on Wawel Hill since the 1880s have demonstrated that in the early Middle Ages the Cracow borough was a state and church centre comparable to those elsewhere in Europe. The unusual accumulation of monumental structures: two basilicas, four rotundas, some other churches, and palace buildings, as well as dwelling houses, has no analogy in other parts of Poland. However, the defensive system of the Hill was traditional, consisting of timber-and-earth ramparts of chest construction, which were considerably damaged by levelling in the Gothic period. Numerous rebuilding campaigns and the repeated levelling of the ground have in large measure obliterated traces of wooden structures. The communications system may be reconstructed chiefly on the basis of the distribution of masonry buildings. Especially noteworthy is the concentration of State functions and institutions (the ruler's residence, the treasury and mint, and great noblemen's mansions) and of those of the Church (a bishopric, cathedral chapter, collegiate church, and cathedral school) within the Wawel borough. Further excavations are expected to fill in the gaps in our knowledge of the buildings, urban layout, and fortifications of early medieval Wawel.
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