Malbork Castle, Poland
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a significant place where many important events of the European history took place, Malbork Castle (referred to as Marienburg) is a grand medieval complex, situated along the banks of Nogat River in the North of Poland.
Malbork Castle History
Built around the 13th century, Malbork Caste rapidly became the center of the region as the Teutonic Order of Holy Virgin Mary took control over northern Poland and Prussia. In the early 14th century, the Grand Master of the Order declared Malbork as the headquarters of the Order. In order for the initially simple building to fulfill all the needs of the Order, a grand re-construction began and it took almost half a century during which it was transformed into a well-built fortress surrounded by several rings of walls, moats and towers.
The Lower Castle was added for military purposes. Besides the military facilities such as riverside grainery and armory, the well-fortified building also contained numerous service buildings – chapel, brewery, stables and others.
Later, the historical events in Europe changed the role and the purposes of Malbork Castle. Along with the Prussian invasion in the 18th century, the castle was put under significant changes as its premises were adjusted in order for the Prussian soldiers to use them as their garrison. This era is known as ‘The Prussian Devastation’ as parts of some of the most beautiful premises of the castle (such as the Great Refectory) got bricked up or dismantled. Luckily, the damage was stopped a century later with the popularity of the Romanticism thinking. The first attempt of the reconstruction of the castle was made in 1817 and such efforts continued for the next century resulting in discoveries of new restoration methods that would later be used all around the globe.
20th century was no exception when it came to the historical significance of the Malbork Castle as it was the place where the Third Reich officially announced its annexion of West Prussia. It was military strategic point during the war. In addition Hitlerjugend ceremonies were held in the castle.
Despite the damage done to the Malbork Castle throughout the centuries, a lot of its treasures have remained, thanks to the persistent restoration work. Nowadays, the castle carries some truly interesting exhibits, giving us an insight into the medieval lifestyle. Malbork is still the place of various events – from culture festivals to imitations of the famous battles of the past.