Malbork Castle (Poland) - gothic castle of the Teutonic Order, the largest castle in the world
Location show on map
ul. Starościńska 1, Malbork, province Pomeranian, Poland
Date of build
From 1278 to 1406
- Other building names: Ordensburg Marienburg (niem.)
- Building types: Castle, Castle complex
- Architectural styles: Gothic
- Material: Brick, wood
Height: 66 meters - the height of the belfry
Area: The area on which the complex stands is 21 hectares.
Cubature of buildings exceeding a quarter of a million cubic meters.
- Architect: (nieznany)
With an area of 21 hectares, it is the largest castle in the world in terms of surface area.
The whole complex consists of three separate sections: the High Castle, the Middle Castle and the Low Castle.
High Castle built on a rectangular plan with dimensions of 51 by 61 meters, about 12,000 tonnes of foundation stones and 3.5 million clay by hand were used for its construction molded and fired bricks.
The castle was the residence of a commander and twelve religious brothers. The inner courtyard was surrounded by a cloister, the church of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the burial chapel of St. Anna, gdanisko and the towers of Klesza and Wróblą.
In the wings of the High Castle there were, respectively: in the north wing: chapel, chapter house and archives; in the south: warehouses, bedrooms and refectory; in the west wing: kitchen, dining room and offices of the great commander and treasurer of the monastery; the eastern wing was only a thick wall, and later with the added building.
The Middle Castle with the Great Refectory and the Grand Master's Palace (built in 1322 - mid-14th century). The northern and eastern part were occupied by a great commander, who for his guests prepared numerous rooms in the eastern wing, in the basement of this part there is, among others The Amber Museum, which has the largest and most unique collection of amber products in Poland. The northern wing housed the infirmary, or hospital for old and sick brothers.
The largest room, the Great Refectory supported on three pillars, was able to accommodate up to 400 knights, it was a meeting place for important personalities, as well as numerous feasts and parties.
The Low Castle (Przedzamcze), performing warehouse and economic functions, is the lowest and the youngest part of the complex, created in the 14th century. It included, among others, armory (Karwan), the chapel of St. Wawrzyńca, a stable (housing 400 horses), a bell house (craft workshop), a granary and a brewery. This part was created from the former wound, when after the transfer of the capital of the order to Malbork, the High Castle ceased to be enough.
The entrance to the High Castle led through the gate to which a wooden drawer arrived. The main gate was placed in a 13-meter recess, in addition the passage was closed by the lowered harrows.
In addition to the gates and numerous towers overlooking the castle and allowing observation of the surrounding areas and fire from above to the security of the complex should include the double walls surrounding the castles (single from the side of the Castle Medium) and a wide moat with the waters of the Nogat River. Therefore, this castle was never captured by enemies and it was always effective in resisting their attacks.
The original name of the castle used by the Teutonic Order was Marienburg, or the Maria Fortress. From September 14, 1309 to May 1457, when Zygfryd von Feuchtwangen transferred the seat of the authorities of the order from Venice to Malbork, he became the seat of the masters of the Teutonic Order and the capital of the Teutonic State.
After the Poles won the battle of Grunwald in July 1410, the Polish knights moved to the capital of the Order. It would seem that this is the end of the Teutonic Order, however, the siege of Malbork lasting from July 25 to September 19 did not bring the expected results. Komtur Świecie, who did not participate in the battle of Grunwald, prepared the castle's supplies sufficient for the survival of 40 knights together with their helpers for a period of 2 years in a state of siege. Another reason for the defeat of the Polish army was the lack of siege machines and the lack of supportive Lithuanian army, which after winning the battle set out for Lithuania. After 9 weeks of attempts, Polish troops withdrew from ineffective siege.
Despite the close contingent of 4,000 defenders, the fate of the war may have been altered by one incident, namely on the basis of information given to the Poles about the place and time of the conference of the dukes which the carefully aimed and launched bullet was to destroy the central pillar of the Summer Refectory at the Sielnik Castle, where the meeting took place. The bullet pierced the window, passed by centimeters a pillar holding the vault and hit the wall just above the fireplace.
Malbork was the seat of Polish monarchs from 1457 when the city was taken over by Polish troops, through Toruń treaty of 1466, under which the castle remained in Polish hands.
In the years 1626 - 1635, the Swedish army and the army of Prince George Wilhelm were stationed in the castle. In 1635, the castle returned to Poland, again during the Swedish Deluge (1656-1660), to be occupied by the Swedes again.
In 1772 (the first partition of Poland), Prussian army under Frederick II entered Malbork, then the complex no longer had such meaning and served as barracks and warehouses . In the part of the castle, demolition works (designed by David Gilly) were started, in order to stop them in the first half of the 19th century. In 1817, conservation works were carried out, which took place for more than 100 years, and were later led by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Ferdinand von Quast, and from 1882 by Konrad Steinbrecht.
During the Second World War almost half of the castle was destroyed. Today's design differs significantly from the original one and is the result of numerous renovation works carried out in the 20th century, for example the height of the tower has been reduced in fear of collapsing of the already damaged structure that may not support the weight of the superstructure.
The castle was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in December 1997
Official website: http://www.zamek.malbork.pl
"Malbork from the mud was created" - said an old Latin rhyme