The walled town of Europe do look picturesque. But the history behind those walls are contains years of struggle, protection, battle and preservation of their culture. The main reason for building walls was to protect the settlement. They surrounded the settlement, and were often massive structures punctuated by guard towers. Some walls were even built on top of hills or on oceanfronts. Therefore, those walls are not just mere walls but a tale of the preservation of the country’s identity.
Meaning of wall
The word ‘wall’ comes from the Latin vallus, which means a post or stake. The earliest walls were made of earth or wood and were used to protect a town from attack. As time went on, these walls evolved into more elaborate structures. The walls of medieval European towns and cities became more complex, but they still have some similarities.
To provide protection and safety to the country
The walls of European towns were important for a number of reasons. They provided protection and safety, which was important in a time of turmoil and conflict. For example, the walls of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, were important for defending the territory against Islam’s advance from Arabia.
Acted as a symbol of peace and prosperity
Other than providing protection to the country the walls also acted as a symbol of peace and prosperity. With peace walls in places like Belfast were erected to separate Protestant Unionists and Catholic Nationalists during the Troubles. Today, peace walls are a place for tourists to leave messages of hope for peace.
Preserve social and cultural identity
Walls are also important for preserving social and cultural identities. The Berlin Wall was built to avoid migration from East Germany. This division of the city was important because emigration was killing East Germany’s economy. In 1960, people were able to cross the Berlin Wall. However, emigration was a problem and the walls were essential to the survival of East Germany. In August 1961, barbed wire was installed along the Berlin Wall in a single night.
To protect the people from invaders
In medieval times, cities were required to build defensive walls to protect themselves from invaders. These walls have since fallen into disuse, but they remain important in many places today. Nowadays, cities that retain their old walls are special places to visit. Ancient walls provided protection for citizens from invading armies, and were essential for the development of civilization. The walls also helped to protect against the spread of disease and epidemics.
Served as a social purpose
Although walls served a defensive function in medieval times, they also served a social purpose. For example, in the Neolithic village of Ilipinar in Turkey, walls were essential in establishing a group’s identity and defending it from outsiders. A significant threat to Ilipinar’s inhabitants was not military incursion, but fragmentation into different hunter-gatherer groups. Eventually, these villagers moved back to semi-nomadic lifestyles.