Brick castle in Malbork

Region:
Pomorskie
Category:
History

A must for everyone exploring northern Poland. The castle in Malbork - the world’s biggest brick castle - is a piece of the Middle Ages in our modern times.

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Are you ready for lots of surprises in the castle with the largest surface area in the world? Do you want to explore the world’s biggest brick building? The castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork is a wonderful place. Here you can travel back in time and feel the spirit of the Middle Ages.

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In the 13th and 14th centuries Poland experienced serious problems with pagans – that is why Konrad, the prince of Poland, started looking for help. The German Order (a military order) was chosen to fight against the pagans. The first knights arrived in Poland in 1228 and started settling down in the borderland between Poland and the pagan territories. According to the original agreement with the price the order should get rid of the pagan tribes and then return the temporarily conquered areas. That, however, would not happen – little did the prince know that the Teutonic Order had forged a papal bull…

The castle in Malbork would become the capital of the Teutonic Order. The castle was built successively between the 1280s and the 1540s and from 1309 it was the headquarter of the grand masters – the heads of the order. After the fall of the order in 1457 the castle became one of many mansions of Polish kings until 1772. That year Prussia took over Malbork and it was probably the worst period in the history of the castle – it was modified into barracks, a weaving mill, worker accommodation, and in the biggest room… a riding track was established! During the second half of the 19th century the castle was rebuilt, thanks to which in the 1930’s it looked like during the Polish period.

malbork-w-2.jpgPicture: Artur Szeja | CC BY-SA 2.5

The worst time for the castle however was the second world war: when the Red Army attacked the German defense forces located in the castle, no-one cared about the cultural heritage or the monuments: the whole eastern part of the castle, the tower and the castle church were destroyed. Approximately 50-60% of the castle was ruined. Nowadays the castle is almost entirely rebuilt - some places, however, are still waiting for their turn (and financial help…), like, for example, the castle church.

Let the majestic walls and medieval engineering surprise you. Visit the chamber of the grand master and the great refectory – the dining hall of the brothers. There is an oven under the refectory that was used as a medieval central and floor heating system! Don’t forget about the kitchen from where warm food was transported up straight to the chambers. If you’re looking for a magnificent view, you ought to go to the castle tower.

In the castle you can enjoy food on a high level: go to the courtyard to visit the famous restaurant Gothic. The chef and owner Bogdan Gałązka – one of the best-known chefs in the region – can often be seen on TV. The restaurants offer gourmet cuisine in an old-fashioned atmosphere. If you prefer good Polish cuisine in its traditional form, you should go to Piwniczka (Castle Cellar).

A few interesting videoclips:

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How do you get to the castle of Malbork? It's as easy as pie: take the plane to Gdańsk and rent a car at the airport. You can, of course, take your own car and travel with the ferry to the continent. Book accommodation directly in the surroundings of the castle. Don't forget to take care of your travel insurance!

Region: Pomorze.

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