The monstrous fortress on the Nogat River had already existed in the 13th century, but it underwent a major reconstruction beginning in 1309, which lasted for 40 years. The reason for this is that the headquarters of the Teutonic Order, which had been in Venice, were moved to Malbork. The result of this overhaul was spectacular. It earned the castle the title of the largest Gothic castle in Europe. It was eventually inscribed on the prestigious UNESCO list in 1997.
It is estimated that the current iteration of the building is made up of an impressive number of millions of bricks. In its original form, the number of bricks was staggering, ranging from 30 to 50 million.
The first important person to reside in the newly renovated place was Siegfried of Feuchtwagen. In the course of time, the Gothic fortress expanded and was divided into three distinct parts.
The High Castle was the most important. It contained the Chapter House, the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Chapel of St. Anne, where the Grand Masters were buried. The High Castle also housed the „gdanisko”, a toilet that could be transformed into a formidable „tower of last resort” in times of crisis.
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The Middle Castle, on the other hand, was open to the Order’s visitors. It had magnificent facilities. It was home to the Great Refectory, the largest hall in the fortress, a hospital for the aging and sick members of the Order, and the palace of the Grand Masters.
The Low Castle had a more functional purpose. It housed an arsenal of cannons and war wagons, the Chapel of St. Lawrence for the castle’s servants, and various outbuildings such as a granary, brewery, and distillery.
The Teutonic Knights were the owners of the castle until the middle of the 15th century, when it passed to the Polish monarchy. Unfortunately, the castle fell into disrepair after the Partitions of Poland. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the restoration of the castle was resumed but stopped due to WWII. After 1945 it was resumed again. In 1961 the castle became the seat of the Castle Museum.
By the way – since You are interested in Malbork, you may also want to read about other fascinating places in Poland : Exploring Poland’s Cultural Riches: A Guide to UNESCO Cities
Teutonic Castle in Malbork – Few Facts
- Malbork Castle was built over 700 years ago,
- There are more than a dozen towers and turrets in the castle,
- It took almost 40 years to rebuild the castle,
- Malbork Castle was built after 1280,
- It is Gothic style building,
- The fortress is a phenomenon. It is considered to be one of the most powerful castles in Europe,
- It takes 3-4 hours to see the castle,
- The castle is listed by UNESCO.
What Is The Construction Of The Castle?
The castle consists of three main parts:
- The High Castle – this part of the castle includes the courtyard surrounded by colonnades, the Gdanisko Tower, the Castle Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Anne’s Chapel, the monastery granary (where temporary exhibitions are held), the Chapter House, the Corner Hall under the church with an archaeological exposition, and the Refectory;
- The Middle Castle – in the Middle Castle you’ll find the Great Refectory (an impressive hall with a cross-vaulted ceiling), a chapel, a cellar under the Palace of the Grand Masters, a kitchen, a cooking room, a cloister with paintings from the Apocalypse of St. John and rooms of the former castle hospital;
- The Low Castle – also known as the Pre-Castle, which includes the Karwan (a former armoury) and other outbuildings.
The Palace of the Grand Masters is located in the Middle Castle. Built in the 14th century, it was carefully designed and furnished and is a monument of high quality on a European scale.
In 1961, Malbork Castle became the seat of the Malbork Art and Historical Museum. The museum has over 40,000 exhibits and is active in the fields of archaeology, history and art history. There are many wonderful things for visitors to explore.
The castle also hosts various cultural and educational events. Every year there is the Siege of Malbork, and since 1963 the castle has been the venue for the International Biennial of Contemporary Exlibris. In addition, Museum Night offers visitors the opportunity to participate in special experiences such as night tours, light and sound shows, and a variety of activities.
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Malbork Castle is a feast for the eyes, containing a wealth of collections ranging from archaeological artifacts, militaria, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, stained glass and a remarkable 700 pieces of amber. It also houses a wealth of historical memorabilia, such as postcards and maps, as well as 21,000 ex-libris and engravings, including Jan Matejko’s Battle of Grunwald.
Malbork Castle – Tours
When you visit Malbork Castle, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the undergrounds (open until 8pm in summer and 4pm in winter) and the museum exhibitions (open 9am-7pm in summer and 10am-3pm in winter). You must take a tour of the castle with a guide or audioguide, which usually takes about 3.5 hours. Additionally, you will find two restaurants and several souvenir shops around the castle.
For a unique experience, try the Castle Night Tour – a guide dressed in traditional Teutonic costume will take you through the courtyards, terraces, cloisters and selected interiors of the castle. This tour is available from April to September and costs 20/30 zloty per individual ticket.e.
Prices – How Much The Ticket Cost?
Ticket prices depend mainly on the route you choose and the day of the week. On Mondays, the Castle Museum is free of charge, but only the Green Route is available and then you have to pay for a guide (15 PLN/person).
Historical Route (longer):
- Normal ticket – 70 PLN
- Discounted ticket – 50 PLN
- Family ticket (2+2) – 220 PLN
Children under 7 years of age enter for free.
Green route (longer):
- Normal ticket – 30 PLN
- Discounted ticket – 20 PLN
- Family ticket (2+2) – 90 PLN
Visiting The Castle With a Child
There are two ways for families with children to visit the castle: an audio-guided tour or a guided walk along the Family Route.
The audio tour is available the whole year. This tour has been specially designed for younger visitors, so the dialogues are more simple and the action is more dynamic. Kids will be taken back to the year 1410, when the Teutonic Knights were defeated at Grunwald and the Polish-Lithuanian army was moving towards the Order’s capital. The story prepared this way allows children to discover what life in the castle was like, as well as to learn various secrets and legends related to the castle. The duration of the tour is about 2 hours.
The second option is available during the season only. Children are given special hoods and, together with their parents, begin to discover the secrets of the castle. They will have to solve puzzles to guess the final password while walking through the nooks and crannies of the building. The duration of the tour is also 2 hours.
Getting to Malbork Castle And Parking
Malbork is located on the banks of the Nogat River in the Pomeranian Voivodeship. It is about 30 km from Elblag and 60 km from Gdansk.
If you’re coming by car, you’ll be happy to know that there are several parking options near the castle, both private and public, with hourly rates starting at 2 zloty. The closest parking option is a multi-storey car park on Sierakowskich Street, but you should be prepared to pay a minimum fee of 30 zlotys for up to 3 hours and an additional 15 zlotys for each additional hour. This is a lot. If you’re coming by train, it’s a 20-minute walk from the station.