Right now we’re visiting a lot of Medieval fortified towns. Medieval fortifications evolved over their time in use. Fortifications started out as mounds of earth to protect villages from wild animals and the occasional raid. When more and more towns wanted to have larger amounts of ‘territory’ (typically the nobles) the fortifications increased to withstand attacks from other towns. This was the main cause to build and upgrade fortifications. The process of upgrading continued over the course of Medieval times. Upgrades were usually done when a new technology for siege machines or weapons was invented. That’s why you don’t usually see an old fortified town with just one building style, it was built in layers and looks like the architects used completely different designs as they improved the fortifications.
We saw this in Diocletian’s palace in Split, Croatia. It started out as a palace in the Roman times and then was abandoned. All that remained was a pretty sophisticated basement that helped make the floor above it flat, and some of the walls. Later, it was re-inhabited as a town. With increasing risks from pirates and invading armies, the townspeople made the walls taller, thicker and closed up all the windows with stone. Eventually, with the invention of cannons, it transformed into a star fort. After a while, it was again abandoned. Another town started up inside the palace walls, and it still stands today, but instead as a major tourist attraction. It is called the old town and is surrounded by a modern city. With Roman and Medieval building styles, it’s hard to tell the difference between what was built when. It’s made clearer from all the signs that archeologists and historians made explaining details of the evolution of the town.