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The historical layers of the Lower Silesia towns - the investigations based on historical cartography.

Rafał Eysymontt

Vol. 39, no. 2 (2013), s. 81-93

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Studies on the historical layers of historical towns belong to the most important stages of Atlas historyczny miast polskich' volumes' creation. Lower Silesian towns are investigated mainly on a basis of: - written sources, which reference to the real space is often doubtful; - archeological explorations, which results should be confronted with source studies; - metrological studies, claiming the original medieval concepts according to their geometrical modularity, although those studies are often loaded with big doses of idealism; - studies on historical cartography, which were performed however usually a few hundred years after the town's foundation; in this case the basic method is relating newer plan to an earlier situation called retrogression. The last method could regard one of the most mutable, but most important element of a city's historical structure, which is the river. Two examples of this kind of analysis, referring to two of Lower Silesian different size cities of Wrocław and Milicz can be mentioned in this case. Changes of river system in these cities drastically influenced the shaping of cities and their environment. Much more controversial is an issue of reconstruction based on the oldest 18th century cartography of the road system, which was shaping settlements network around Wrocław. The method of using historical cartography as a source of knowledge about a city's changes is giving the best results in a case of wide modern fortifications' analysis, though it is often only confirmed by archeological research.