At the intersection of Nożownicza and Więzienna Street, one can find a middle aged building – the gothic city prison. The city legend says that Wit Stwosz served a sentence here because he had falsified a bill of exchange.

It’s the one of the oldest buildings and it was built in the middle of the XIVth century. The construction of the prison was necessary because the growth of the city and the importance of the town in the XIIIth and XIVth century caused that the prison in the Town Hall Tower wasn’t sufficient. The first information about Więzienna Street came from the XIVth century and the name was connected with the prison that was in this street. Its location in the north part of the Old Town, very close to the castle, testified about the increasing importance of the middle class. It was built for prisoners of lower state and for prisoners that were sentenced to death. The Market Square proximity, where executions and cases took place, caused the possibility to direct performances of convicts which was the spectacle for the crowds and was expected by citizens.

The prison was built in stages – in the beginning there was built a three-storey, clay tower with rooms for prisoners and guards, but the need of the city caused the rebuilding of the prison. Two more rooms were built from Więzienna Street’s side and later four rooms were built alongside Nożownicza Street. In the XVth century the building was surrounded by compact residential buildings, but it was still being expanded. The complex of prison got today’s size in the middle of the XVIIth century. At the turn of the XVIIIth and XIXth century the building lost its prison function. In 1818 a pawnshop was open here, and some rooms were used by charity organizations.


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