St. Hyacinth Tower (Baszta Jacek) in Gdańsk

The octagonal tower had eight floors of shooting posts. Under the edge of the high roof, there still are brick arcades supported on stone consoles, covering the machicolation – an overhung gallery surrounding the tower with holes in the floor for attacking the enemy at the tower’s foot. A vaulted dungeon under the tower served as a warehouse with food for sieges. The high tent roof was added only in 1556, when the tower ceased to be a defensive building.


Due to its height, it was meant to facilitate observation of the foreground in the event of attacks from the direction of the Old Town, which, in those times, did not have its own fortifications yet. The interior could be accessed from the guards’ arcade on the high wall, adjacent to the tower in the south, as well as in the ground floor, from the direction of the Main Town. After the War, the tower underwent renovation until 1955. Since 1962, there has been a photographic studio inside the building.


In the past, the tower was facetiously called “Kiek in de Kök” in German, meaning “Look into the kitchen”. This original name was connected with the nearby buildings of the Dominican monastery and initially referred to the nearby Dominican Tower, and was transferred to the St. Hyacinth Tower in the first half of the 18th Century (on the plans from 1706 this name was used for the Dominican Tower, but on the 1741 plans it already referred to the St. Hyacinth Tower).


The current name of the tower was added after 1945 and refers to Saint Hyacinth, O.P. (Jacek Odrowąż), owing to whom Duke Świętopełk brought the Dominican Order to Gdańsk in 1227.

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