Malbork Castle

Historic Malbork

The history of Malbork is strictly connected with the history of Teutonic Knights Order, which took significant part in settlement on Żuławy Wiślane and Elbląg Plateau area building their castle. The name of the town – Malbork – derives from german name Marienburg, which means Mary’s castle. In 1309, after Teutonic Knights took over Pommern, the Great Master  Sigfried von Feuchwangen decided to move the headquarters of the Order to Malbork, which made it not only the seat of highest superior of the Order but also the capital of Teutonic Knights state. This led to expansion of the stronghold, emphasis of its residual character and of course the development of the town.

Castle complex which was constanly expanded by the Teutonic Knights and modernized, after the The Thirteen Years’ War got into the Polish hands.  In this time the town lost its position, and the monumental build started to decay. There is huge amount of money needed to sustain such a big stronghold and the Polish state could not handle it.

In Prussian times (after first Poland partition) Malbork’s castle was being used as barracks, that is why there were minor changes made that time: bricked up cloisters to make space for the military, and also cut out a gate in south wing. Nowdays the shape of the castle comes from the work of 19th and 20th century architects. We need to emphasize that it does not comply with the view of the castle from the Teutonic Knights’ times. But as old saying is – ‘it is the largest pile of bricks north to Alps’.

After World War II Malbork became a lab rat for PRL’s architecture. In 50s there were brought down and taken away remainings of old tenement houses of the Old Town, and in their place reinforced concrete blocks in socrealistic style were put up. Malbork lost much in that proceding, both in tourism and estetics because is hosts beautiful gothic castle next to a housing estate of concrete. It is unique in whole Europe and keeps on suprising tourists who come to see Malbork.

One of the biggest events know internationally is the annual Malbork Siege. This staging prepared with perfection refers to the defence against polish army in the Battle of Grunwald on 15th July 1410. Each year several dozen of knight brotherhoods and associations, who have attires and props from medieval times, bring certain climate to this event. Besides watching people stage the battle you can shoot a crossbow, eat bread with original knight’s lard and shop sfor ome handmade memorabilia. Traditionally last day closes the event with knight’s tournament. The whole fest takes place usually on the last weekend of July, which is next year 23-25 July 2010.

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