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 Malbrok...

The castle in Malbork is a huge, medieval defence compound, raised between the 13th and 15th centuries by the Order of the Teutonic Knights of St. Mary's Hospital in Jerusalem. The construction works were undertaken in 1278 by delineating and building a wall around a convent castle, designed on a rectangular plan 52 meters by 61 meters externally. In each corner stood a tower, characteristic for Teutonic castles. In the final stage of the construction the towers were extended over the wall-walks, thus emphasising the ornate roof tops of the castle wings. In addition, they enabled castle defenders to shoot from all the angles of the fortress. In 1280 the convent was moved to Malbork.

First brother knights lived in the oldest North Wing. The West Wing, which housed the Refectory and the Commander's Chamber, was raised later. In the late 13th century the monastic castle was surrounded with a fortified wall. Thus, spacious interwall areas were created, which served for walks and as land to build storehouses and create a graveyard for monastic brothers. At around the same time a gardrobe tower, called the gdanisko tower, was built. It could be accessed from the castle by a roofed walkway. The tower was intended to serve as an ultimate defence site, but it also contained a latrine and its main function was to guard the access to the castle leading from the town over the bridges, and through the Bridge Towers and the Shoemaker Tower. A similar though a smaller tower, known as the Priest Tower, was situated on the opposite side of the castle compound, in the south-east corner of the fortified wall. Both towers, by flanking the fortified monastery, were an additional component of the defence system.
By the power of the second Toruń Peace Treaty signed in 1466, Malbork was ceded to the Polish kings and became the capitol of the Malbork Province. In 1772, following the first partition of Poland, Malbork and most of Royal Prussia were subjected to the Kingdom of Prussia.

As early as the 16th century, the castle of Malbork was perceived as an important monument of history and a landmark to be visited by travellers. The interest in the castle did not vane in the 17th century, when a scientific analysis of the formal architectural features of Teutonic strongholds was conducted, focusing mainly on the castle in Malbork. In the 18th century the castle was a popular destination for admirers of 'antiquities' and as romanticism and historicism began to prevail, the castle became an object of a number of studies on its history and architecture. The first scientific inventory of the castle was completed. Many protests were issued against the demolition of the castle, which was undertaken at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. As a result, it was stopped in 1804. After 1815 broad-scale restoration works commenced under supervision of the most outstanding Prussian architects. Owing to their interdisciplinary efforts the Palace of the Grand Masters was restored. The works carried out at Malbork were at that time the largest experimental field for conservation methods in Europe. The collaboration between historians and architects created a model for an interdisciplinary architectural research team, which functions until the present day. The research works which accompanied the restoration of the castle enabled us to uncover the history of the Order and its defence fortifications. At that time the castle became a destination for organised tourist traffic and the number of visitors was continually growing.
In 1882 Conrad Steinbrecht was appointed the head conservator at the castle. He soon commenced the most important stage in the restoration of the fortress. The works completed under his supervision had been preceded by thorough research and scientific preparations, and much of the documentation prepared then has remained until today. Together with the architectural substance of the castle, it constitutes a significant contribution to the history of restoration.
The castle was used for a particular purpose by the Nazi propaganda in the Third Reich and became one of the symbols of Hitler's state. As the second world was drawing to an end, the castle one more time became a stronghold, defending itself for nearly 2 months against the Red Army, which already stationed in the town. As a result of fierce fights, around 40% of the castle buildings collapsed into ruin; the damage was the worst in the east section of the compound, where it reached up to 80%. The scale of the war damage and the political changes which took place after 1945 questioned the sense of reconstructing the castle, which as a symbol was associated with the Teutonic knights and the German 'Drang nach Osten'.
Finally, however, a decision was made to restore the castle as part of the Polish heritage and to establish in it, on 1st January 1961, the Castle Museum in Malbork. Since then the methodical restoration works have been carried out at the castle, with an aim of preserving this huge architectural compound in good condition.
In 1997 the castle in Malbork was enlisted on the UNESCO's list of world cultural heritage.
At present there are 18 permanent exhibitions at the Castle Museum of Malbork.

Among the most important ones are:
- The Malbork collection of amber
- The Infirmary in the Middle Castle
- Pacifica Terra: Prussian, Slavs and Vikings at the mouth of the Vistula river
- The Chapter House in the High Castle
- Armoury in former ages
- Armoury and Coats of Arms
- Chancery of the Grand Masters in Malbork
5 temporary exhibitions, including:
- Charm of silver and magic of gold - coins and medals of Royal Prussia
- Oven tiles from the Main Museum Stores, a collection of the Castle Museum in Malbork

The medieval walls of Malbork castle each year host a variety of cultural and entertainment events, such as 'The Siege of Malbork' - an event which has been organised annually since 2000. The siege is known all over Poland and draws on the historic events, which took place at the walls of Malbork castle in 1410, following the battle at Tanneberg.
'The International Festival of Old Culture Eurofolk'. Details information can be found on the webpage

The Castle Museum of Malbork
ul. Starościńska 1,
82- 200 Malbork, Poland
tel. +48 55 647 08 00
fax + 48 55 647 08 03

Tel. + 48 55 647 09 78
Fax + 48 55 647 09 76, 647 09 77

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.