The origins of Polish towns can be traced to the beginning of the Polish state. Most of them were founded before charters existed, in the period between the end of the tenth centruy and the beginning of the thirteenth century. Most of the towns developed where there already existed a grod (the fortified seat of a local sovereign), craftsmen, and an incipient market. The first charters were granted at the beginning of the thirteenth century. By the end of the fifteenth century as many as 800 towns were chartered. In most cases, towns incorporated their plans elements from the irregular layouts of existing settlements. Few towns were founded on previously undeveloped sites. Nevertheless, there still exist fine examples of perfectly formed regular Gothic towns.
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