The first information about the Krakow’s defensive system comes from the times of reign of Leszek the Black (1279-1288). The city used to be surrounded with moat and wooden fortifications then. The constructions of the baileys began on the north side of the city, mostly exposed to the attacks of enemies. Next stage of the baileys’ expansion and strengthening was during the reign of Wacław II (1291-1305) when the fortifications were started to be built from stone. Masonry gates like: the Butcher's Gate (Rzeźników), the Goldsmiths’ Gate (Grodzka), the St. Florian Gate, The Coppersmiths’ Gate (Wiślna), the Tailors’ Gate (Sławkowska), the Butcher's Gate (Mikołajska), the Leather-dressers’ Gate (Szewska) and later the Bakers’ Gate (Nowa) were built at this time. Afterwards gates were joined with high and thick wall. At the beginning of the 14th century masonry fortifications walled in whole the founded city. The baileys were widened for the just reconstructed fortifications of the ancient suburbia on the north side of the Wawel Castle hill during the reign of the Casmir III the Great (1333-1370).
Unfortunately only 200 meters long fragment of medieval baileys including the Floriańska Gate and adjoining three towers that used to surround Krakow have survived.
The Floriańska Gate (St. Florian Gate) was the main city’s entrance. For the first time it was mentioned in the historical sources in 1307. Name of the gate originates from the name of nearly placed church of St. Florian. In the 14th century the gate was a high, stone tower built on the foundation in shape similar to the square with quadrilateral fore-gate. The gate was crossed by the passage with an ogival arch. On the city’s side the archway was guarded by wooden gate, and from the outside with wooden or iron, lifted and lowered in the stone slides, bars.
At the end of the 15th century, because of the baileys expansion and construction of the great Barbican, the gate was extended for the bricked storey with murder-holes on the stone corbels. For ages the St. Florian Gate and the Barbican were combined with fortified, so called neck. Currently the St. Florian Gate is a symbol of the city gate on the Royal road. (Via Regia).
Currently the tower is 34 meters high. From the outside there is designed by Jan Matejko and created in 1882 bas-relief, while from the side of the city there is a baroque bas-relief of St. Florian. In 1835 a small altar of St. Mary was moved from the neck and placed in the crossing. On the first floor of the tower, there is a chapel founded by the magnate family of Czartoryscy. There is also designed in 1840 by Karol Kremer neo-gothic balcony.
In the nearby of the Floriańska Gate only three towers joined with the baileys have survived. From the Szpitalna Street – the Passementiers’ Tower (haberdasher - craftsmen making belts), the Joiners’ Tower (also called Rope-makers’ Tower) and in the nearby of the Sławkowska Street – the Carpenters’ Tower. All the towers were set on the stone bays and in 15th century built on with bricks. In the higher storeys, cross sections of the Passementiers’ and the Joiners’ Towers are in the form of semicircle and are surmounted with murder-holes and semi cone-shaped roofs. Hexagonal brick part of the Carpenters’ Tower has been covered with pyramidal roof. The purpose of this tower was to protect a municipal arsenal and the Piarists Church in the nearby.
In 1806 Francis II, the Austrian emperor’s, decided to destroy Krakow’s baileys. They were being demolished in years 1810 – 1814 and in the first years of existence of the Independent City of Krakow. The St. Florian Baileys survived only thanks to strong intervention of architect, professor of the Jagiellonian University and senator of the Independent City of Krakow - Feliks Radwański senior (1756-1826).