Malbork castle is located in a town of Malbork in northern Poland. It was founded in 13th century by the Teutonic Knights (German, Roman Catholic Order). Malbork’s original name was Marienburg (literally “Mary’s castle”) in honour of the Virgin Mary, patron saint of the Order. Teutonic Knights were given land here by Polish Duke Konrad Mazowiecki. They were supposed to protect Poland from attacks of pagan Prussians and convert the Slavic tribes to Christianity. Since 1274 the castle was continually build and enlarged. In 1309 the seat of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights was moved here from Venice. They began to expand rapidly. Malbork castle became Europe’s largest Gothic fortress. Soon it appeared that the conquest of Prussia was brutal and native Prussians became almost completely exterminated. Teutonic Knights started to repress also local Christian population and threaten Poland. In 1454 Polish-Teutonic war began. It is widely known as Thirteen Years’ War. In its result the castle was handed to Poland and until the first partition it was a part of Polish Royal Prussia. In 1772 this region together with Malbork castle was taken over by German Prussia. It was seriously damaged during World War II. Over 50% of the castle was destroyed and since the 50’s of 20th century the castle has been under continuous reconstruction. It’s the largest brick castle in the world and a masterpiece of medieval architecture. The complex consists of the High Castle (monastery), the Middle Castle with the Great Refectory and the Outer Bailey.
In 1997 the castle was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a “the supreme example of the medieval brick castle that characterizes the unique architecture of the Crusading Teutonic Order in eastern Europe”. It’s a home to many fascinating exhibitions including the largest in Poland, precious collection of amber. Malbork castle is also a place where “Light and Sound” shows are organized in the summer evenings. But the most spectacular event takes place in third week of July and it’s the Siege of Malbork. It’s an amazing historical performance that attracts thousands of people from all over the world. Malbork castle is definitely a must-see destination.