Malbork Castle (formerly known as Marienburg
Castle) is a castle of the Teutonic Knights in northern Poland.
The red-brick fortress of Malbork, the headquarters
of the Order of Teutonic Knights from 1309 to 1457, is situated 48 km south-east of Gdańsk, on
the right bank of the Nogat River.
It is one of the most important architectural complexes in northern
Malbork Castle History
The Teutonic Knights began building the castle in 1274 on the western
border of their territories, midway between Gdańsk and Elbląg, to complete the strategic
network of castles along the Vistula River and the Baltic coast, from Toruń to Kaliningrad. The
choice of Malbork reflects the importance that the Order attached to the acquisition of
Pomerelia, the land lying on the west bank of the Lower Vistula, as the first step in an
attempt to link up its eastern territories with those in the Holy Roman Empire.
The fortress, which was built in several stages, takes the form of
three architectural groupings, each separated by a moat and protected by its own
fortifications. The Upper Castle is the nucleus of the complex. To its north and set somewhat
lower is the Middle Castle, consisting of three wings with the Grand Master’s Palace projecting
from it to the west . The Lower Castle, incorporating a series of independent outbuildings,
occupies a larger area to the north of the Middle Castle. The three castles are enclosed with
the town in a common system of fortifications.
Building began with the Upper Castle, which has four wings round an
inner courtyard with a surrounding curtain wall. The chapel and the chapter house on the first
floor of the north wing were probably completed in 1280, when the Knights and citizens of
neighbouring Zantyr moved to Malbork.
The east and west wings were added between 1280 and 1285, with the
south wing closing the quadrangle between 1285 and 1300. The courtyard was reached by a
passageway leading from a wide portal set into a great niche. It has two storeys of arcades,
thoroughly renewed in the 19th century, and a well.
The ground-floor of the castle has large vaulted chambers and a
kitchen in the west wing. The commander’s lodgings were above the kitchen, and the brothers
were accommodated in a large dormitory on the first floor of the east wing.
The transfer of the Grand Master’s headquarters from Venice to Malbork
in 1309 initiated new projects. The chapter house was enlarged to incorporate the chapel
gallery, and a residential west range, of which only the Great Refectory survives, was begun in
the Middle Castle.
Under Grand Master Luther of Brunswick, the chapel was extended
eastwards beyond the walls and reconsecrated in 1344. A lower chapel was constructed beneath
the extension as a mausoleum for the Grand Masters, dedicated to St Anne. This work is
characterized by a profusion of sculptural decoration following the style of the original
chapel portal sculpture of 1280.
A Crucifixion group and a series of stucco apostles and female saints
were inserted into the interior wall arcading of the upper chapel, while the tympana of the two
St Anne’s chapel porches were decorated by an elaborate programme based on the Life of the
Virgin and the Finding of the True Cross.
Around 1378 Venetian masters working in Prague were commissioned to
decorate with mosaic the giant stucco Virgin (destr. 1945), on the outside of the east window
of the upper chapel.
Major building activity ended at Malbork with the
construction of the Grand Master’s Palace from 1383 to 1399. The core of the
palace was built on to the Great Refectory, with its entrance and chapel on the east side; the
audience chambers were built into a block projecting beyond the perimeter of the castle
and dominating the view from the river.
The exterior is marked by deep brick buttresses that run the full
height of the building (27 m). These are bridged together at eaves level to form a defensive
After the war of 1454–66, the castle came into Polish hands and
remained a royal residence until 1772, when it fell into disrepair. It was heavily restored by
Schinkel (1817–42) and Steinbrecht (1882–1921). The Upper Castle was seriously damaged in World
Malbork Castle Visitor info
The Malbork Castle which is the biggest castle in the
world by area currently hosts a museum. The castle is easily reached when one gets to Malbork,
there are signs everywhere pointing to the castle.
Guided tours are available in most international languages, and night
tours are also available. The admission fee varies greatly, but for an adult person it is less
than 10 EUR.
For tickets & info you can write an email at the official office
firstname.lastname@example.org or call at +48 55 647
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