Krzywa Wieża And Legends Of Sin

There are many great things I like about traveling around and one of them is hearing stories about different places I visit. As with all stories there is always a pinch of truth in them. Krzywa Wieża also known as the Leaning Tower is on the south walls of the city of Toruń. The leaning tower is one of a large number of towers on the city walls, built at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. Originally there was no wall on the town side, which made it easier for defenders to drag ammunition up to the higher stories. In the 18th century the missing wall was added and a Prison cell for women was established, changed in the 19th century into a forge and living space. As a result of movement in the underlying clay in medieval times, the tower leans from the vertical at an angle of about 1.4 meters.

There are two legends that I know of relating to this tower;

Some say that the tower was built by two brothers who were mortal enemies. They were both building the tower and because of their feud they refused to look at each other and their work resulting in the tower leaning to the north. As a punishment, they had to support sloping walls till the end of their lives. At the time of their death, their souls were sucked for their punishment to continue past death. The souls of the brothers are still there now holding up the tower.

Others tell a story from the days when the city was controlled by the Teutonic knights. Once in Torun lived 12 Teutonic Knights. There was one, among them, who was especially handsome. Walking around the city, he met a very beautiful woman and fell in love with her at first sight. He forgot that he was not only knight but also a monk.
He met with the beautiful bourgeoisie, hiding in back streets of the Old Town. One day somebody saw them together and news spread all over the city, even to the City Council and Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights. There was long discussion about what to do with the lovers and which of them was guilty. It was decided that both lovers were guilty.
The court in Torun sentenced the woman to 25 whips at Saint Jacob’s Gate in The New Town and the Knight was sentenced by Grand Master to build a defensive tower that would lean from the vertical like his crooked life. So, the Knight built a tower that leaned to the north by 1.4 meters. The tower is standing until today, as a reminder of the Knight/Monk’s vice.
That is why the Leaning Tower is a symbol of a sin. But it is also the place, where you can check or prove your innocence. To do it, you have to stand very close, with your back to the tower, with heels touching bricks and stretching arms in front of you. When you will be able to stand like this for a while, you are very good man and your conscience is clear.

With both legends there is a theme of the tower leaning as a punishment to builders and in  real life the towers was converted into a prison, these similarities between the historical fact and legend makes the building very intriguing to me.


I took the shot from a low angle with a wide lens to get the whole tower in on the right. I took three exposures at ev+/-2 and processed the image as a HDR with HDR Efex. I added the – exposure to bring out more details in the sky in Photoshop. I corrected some Lens Distortions and toned the image in Colour Efex. I finally removed noise and sharpened the image.

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2 thoughts on “Krzywa Wieża And Legends Of Sin

  1. A fascinating story. There are quite a few leaning towers around but this one is new to me. Even the town of my birth has a castle with a leaning tower! Nice composition but to me it looks more like a painting than a photograph.

    • I didn’t know how many leaning towers their were in the world until I looked on wikipedia, I wonder if they all have legends. Maybe I have transcended the photographic image with it looking more like a painting 😉 . Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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