The castle in Bytów

The castle in Malbork

The castle in Sztum

The castle in Kwidzyn

The castle in Olsztyn

The castle in Nidzica

The castle in Ostróda

The castle in Lidzbark Warmiński

The castle in Kętrzyn

The castle in Ryn

The castle in Gniew

The History Museum of Lithuania Minor

The Castle Museum

Museum of the History of the Bagrationovsk Region


The castle in Gniew...

The name Gniew first appeared in written sources in the mid-13th century. The history of the land on which the town of Gniew lies is connected with the oldest history of Pomorze (Pomerania). The archaeological excavations confirm the presence of a number of strongholds and settlements along the amber trail, which merchants took on their way on from ancient Rome to the Baltic sea.
In 1282 the Gniew Land was invaded by the Teutonic knights. It was their first possession on the left bank of the Vistula river and an important anchorage in their quest eastwards. The castle was built at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries as a seat for a convent and commander. Under the rule of the Teutonic Order the castle was the main political and economic centre for the commandery (Komturei), the basic organisational unit in the Teutonic state. Although the town council enjoyed much independence, the Order's authorities took great care to rule their subjects. The strategic location, which enabled the knights to oversee the water and land trails, determined exceptional military character of the convent's house and fortifications of the town and castle. The economic function of that space was reflected by numerous storehouses, stables, manors and breweries situated within the town, the port, near the castle and in the town's suburbs.
In the years when Gniew belonged to the Kingdom of Poland (1466-1772), the castle was a seat of a local governor known as starosta. The administrative district of Gniew was owned by the families of Radziwiłł, Zamojski and Lubomirski. In 1667 the Polish king, John III Sobieski became the governor of Gniew; he was succeeded in the office by his wife, Maria Kazimiera.

Following the first partition of Poland in 1772, Gniew and Pomorze Gdańskie were incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia. The Prussian government commenced a broad-scale demolition or, at best, reconstruction, of most of the former Teutonic castles. Such was also the fate of Gniew castle. It was first intended for military barracks but since it was completely unsuitable for that purpose, in the early 19th century it was converted into granary. Another adaptation of the castle buildings took place in the 1850s when it became a high-security Prussian prison for hardened criminals. During the adaptation, which coincided with the Romanticism evoking interest in history, the following works were accomplished: the vaulting of the chapel was reconstructed and the original lancet arches of several windows in the southern wall were restored, which greatly improved the view of the castle seen from that side. Two corner towers were also rebuilt.
Gniew returned to Poland in 1920, when Polish troops commanded by general Józef Haller entered the town. In 1921, under mysterious circumstances, a great fire broke out in the castle and devastated completely three of its wings. The reconstruction of the castle ran in two stages. The first stage lasted from 1968 to 1974, and the second one began in 1992 to be continued until today.
At present the following institutions are housed in the castle: The Foundation for the Castle in Gniew, a branch of the Archaeological Museum in Gdańsk, the Hunters' Club, groups re-enacting historical battles and events, such as St Adalbert Confratery, the Alarmtech Yellow Regiment of Foot Soldiers.

Historical spectacles and events as well as shows of knights in combat, which have been organised at Gniew castle since 1992, have made the castle one of the major centres for promotion of historic knowledge in Poland. All round the year, the castle on commission by travel agencies serves conferences, integration meetings, training sessions, banquets and historical feasts. Guests can choose to take an unforgettable journey back to the 15th, 17th or early 20th century. For organised groups of young visitors, the castle prepares Educational Weeks, one day or longer stays at the castle to attend 'Live History Lessons' with a visit paid by the Ghost of Gniew Castle, winter and summer holidays with magic and witch spells, and many other attractions.

The Foundation of Gniew Castle
ul. Zamkowa 3, 83-140 Gniew, Poland
tel. 058 535 25 37, tel./fax 058 535 21 62
e-mail: ,

The project is co-financed from the funds of the European Regional Development Fund, under the framework of the Lithuania,
Poland and Kaliningrad Region of the Russian Federation Neighbourhood Programme INTERREG IIIA.