Largest Brick Medieval Castle in the World
Malbork Travel Blog› entry 4 of 7 › view all entries
Another night of sleeping in my clothes and jacket beneath the two blankets! It was cold in my basement room. The early morning racket above my head didn’t help either. I looked exhausted and felt it, too!
I was so tired that I didn’t even make a decision on the day’s plan before getting to the train station.
I decided that if I could get a ticket to Malbork and it was easy, that would be my day. If not, the beach or museums. As it turned, I was 5 minutes away from the train leaving for Malbork (15.5 pzl one-way). The only problem is that it wasn’t clear what track??? Also, there were other words….in Polish…..aarrgghh!! I went to the track that I thought was right.
It was an hour and a half journey through mostly flat lands of Northeastern Pomerania. There were some wetlands with lily pads but, mostly just grass and train tracks.
The train pulled into a stop with the Malbork name but…another name, also. I could see the castle from here. There were several others who got up to leave. I had seen them looking at the same travel guide as me.
It was a good 30 minute walk through town to get to the castle grounds. It is an industrial town with a fresh and colorful town center. It all looks to be very new.
Just a few minutes past the center, you cross a little river and then you start to see the bricks, the castle bricks. There are walls, and turrets, and towers, and naves, all in the orange-pink brick. You see Romanesque, Gothic, and Baltic elements in the design.
In the 13th century when The Order of the Teutonic Knights of St. Mary’s Hospital in Jerusalem were expelled from the named city, they moved to Transylvania to help defend Hungary from the Turks.
After the Christianization of Lithuania, the order lost it purpose and began involvement in campaigns against it’s Christian neighbors (Poland, Lithuania, Novgorod Republic).
In 1410 a Polish / Lithuanian army finally defeated the order and broke it’s military stronghold on the region.
Malbork Castle is the most complete and elaborate example of the Gothic brick castle complex in the characteristic and unique style of the Teutonic Order, which evolved independently from the contemporary castles of western Europe and the Near East.
There are so many of this castle’s elements that have survived, you feel that you are there…..in the middle ages. The castle has been restored, obviously but, they had much to work with and have done a great job with the renovation. Some don’t miss points:
- The drawbridge and gate to the Middle Castle
- The bridge between the Middle and High Castle
- The Middle Castle - Exhibition of Weapons and Armors
- High Castle courtyard
- High Castle - Chapter House
- High Castle - Dignitary’s Chambers
- High Castle - Blessed Virgin Mary Church
There are many, many more and equally interesting things to see here.
I purchased a great companion book for touring the castle, a monument, a leather pouch filled with Teutonic coins (replicas), and a ceramic replica of a Goddess that protected the ancient Prussian tribes of Pomerania.