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A medieval fort discovered in Szprotawa

10.03.2009 History&Culture

A sensational discovery was made in Szprotawa, in the southern part of the Lubuskie region. The local "Hill of Love" may actually be one of Poland's largest medieval forts - the long lost Ilavia. "The fort takes up the space of four hectares. This is a sensation, since all fortresses of this size have been discovered long ago" - said Maciej Boryna, an expert on this region. The fort is situated in the valley of the river Bóbr. Its size is over 4ha. and its height is 5m. It has a uniform, flat, surface and steep slopes. The locals call this place the "Hill of Love" or "Chrobry's Castle". Till 1945 this land was called "Nonnenbuschberg", that means "the hill in the monastic thickets". The name comes from the fact that since the early 16th century this land belonged to the convent of the Magdalene Nuns from Szprotawa.
The German chronicler Thietmar wrote, that it was in the town "Ilua" (Iława, the modern day name of Ilua, today is a district of Szprotawa), that in the year 1000, Bolesław Chrobry (Ruler of Poland) welcomed the Emperor Otto III.

According to a research report by the archaeologist Mariusz Łesiuk, in scientific literature it is assumed that "Ilua" (despite its characteristics not being described), mentioned by Thietmar, was a border fort connected with the defensive line of the Silesia ramparts.

The next comment about Iława comes from a source from 1295 and is about Gizyler - the Vicar from "Ylavia". Ever since then there were many medieval documents about Iława.

Two presumed locations of the fort were: the island on the left bank of the river Bóbr or on its right bank, on the hill, where St. Andrzej Bobola's church stands. The excavations made in 1996 excluded these locations as those of the Iława fort. In December 2008, the owner of the Archaeological-Conservational Workshop Pro Archeologia - Mariusz Łesiuk, under the patronage of Wrocław's division of PAN's (Polish Academy of Sciences) Archaeology and Ethnography Institute, did survey-salvage archaeological works in this area. The results of these works, that ended in February, show that the "Hill of Love" is a medieval fort.

PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland, tr. ajb, Małgorzata Dobrowolska tot/bsz

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