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Malbork Castle

Listed under Castles & Palaces in Poland.

  • Photo of Malbork Castle
  • Photo of Malbork Castle
Photo of Malbork Castle
Photo by flickr user zakwitnij
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The Teutonic Order was a German Roman Catholic order commonly referred to as the Teutonic Knights since its crusading military work during the Middle Ages and for much of the modern era. Malbork Castle was built as a fortress and originally named Marienburg, after the Virgin Mary who was the order’s patron saint.

The castle is world’s largest gothic, brick castle, once housing up to 3000 ‘brothers in arms’. With additions of the Upper, Lower and Middle Castles, after 1309 the castle became a municipality, and dominated the area around it. Nobel prizewinner Henryk Sienkiewicz in his novel The Teutonic Knights (1900) wrote, ‘the very sight of Malbork Castle was enough to strike terror into the heart of every Pole’ with the fortress being ‘absolutely incomparable with any other in the world’.

The castle was later to fall into decay, but in the 19th century a meticulous restoration of the buildings began, with many of the conservation techniques that are now standard evolving from the restoration. However World War II brought a new battle to the Castle walls, with more than half the castle suffering damaged during the conflict. With the detailed documentation of the first restoration however, a second restoration took place to restore Malbork Castle to its former magnificence.

The castle chambers now often host music concerts and medieval style banquets, while the Son et Lumiere spectacles staged in the evenings in the courtyards are very popular with tourists as well as the nocturnal tours of the castle interior.

Written by  John Johnston.

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Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork

This 13th-century fortified monastery belonging to the Teutonic Order was substantially enlarged and embellished after 1309, when the seat of the Grand Master moved here from Venice. A particularly fine example of a medieval brick castle, it later fell into decay, but was meticulously restored in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of the conservation techniques now accepted as standard were evolved here. Following severe damage in the Second World War it was once again restored, using the detailed documentation prepared by earlier conservators.

Copyright © UNESCO/World Heritage Centre. All rights reserved.

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