Powisle. The kingdom of plumps and the Teutonic castles.

Situated on the east coast Powisle is at the bored of two vaivodeships:  Pomeranian and Warmian-Mazurian.  Luckily for the Pomeranian, in its borders there are many lakes, rivers and forests full of beautiful walking paths.  Those who love history and architecture will come to Powisle to visit the castles, fortresses and crypts, which there are quite a lot of them.

Powisle is situated in the area of Lower Vistula , which is the land of beautiful landscapes and quite complicated history. This land changed its nationality many times and finally became part of Pomerania and Poland.

Flavours of Powisle

Powisle is rich with lakes and rivers. There are also forests here, which are an excellent palace for strolling and active way of spending time. There are also quite a lot of farming areas, which especially in the Spring time create charming panoramas and orchards with apples, pears and plumps. Those are the plumps that locals farmers are so proud of. The plump of Powisle is a rarity and the good of the region. The most famous plump is from the Neborowo Wielkie. It is used for  a classical plump jam and the tincture, which is the hallmark of the region.

  Fot: http://arabiasaudyjska-ksa.blogspot.com

Powisle is appreciated not only for its geographical location and features. This is the land where there are two artefacts from the Teutonic times.

Powiśle - what's worth seeing?

First, let’s go to Kwidzyn, called the capital of the Lower Powisle. Over the city, situated at the Liwa river, there is a castle of the wormer chapter house of the Pomesanians. The castle was modelled on the other Teutonic castles from the region. The castle was built in XIII/XIV c. and during its golden age it was the centre of the religious and political – administrative life. The most characteristical feature of the castell in, so called  “Gdanisko”, the tower emerging form the castle walls. It was connected with the rest of the castle with the corridor supported on brick arcades. It looks really spectacular and visiting Kwidzyn You have to drive down Gdanska Street, beneath the arcades. Visiting the city, it is worth looking at the former. Medieval, brick city walls from XIV c. , four-storey granary, brick granary from XVIII and the crypt of the three Grand Masters of the Teutonic Order in the St. John Evangelist Cathedral.

Castle in Kwidzyn, fot: pomorskie.travel

Sztum, situated at the two lakes: Sztumskie and Barlewickie is another stop while visiting the region. Sztum is famous not only due to its beautiful location at the two lakes but because of its history so much joined with the Teutonic Order. This was the place where in XIV c. Teutons built the defensive fortress, which became the sit of the mayor. The fortress was built from the field stones and the bricks, due to that it lasted till today. Now, it is a part of the Castle Museum in Malbork. There is also a Sztum Land Gild, so the knight tradition is still alive in the city.

Driving around Sztum, it is worth to see Waplewo Wielkie, to see the Sierakowski Palace. This place, during the difficult times of XIX c. was the centre where Polish tradition, culture and language was cultivated. There were many Polish aristocrats, artists, poets and writers coming here.

The Sierakowski Palace in Waplewo Wielkie, fot: M. Michalska

In Prabuty, on the other hand, almost at the border of the Pomeranian and the Warmian-Mazurian vaivodeships, it is worth visiting the underground waterworks route. The corridors under the Old Town were built around XVIII due to many dangerous fires.

Powisle, during the day full of charm, in the evenings, mysterious. Who knows, maybe in the former Teutonic castle, there are still some ghosts of the Grand Masters?

The Teutonic castle in Sztum

The Teutonic castle in Sztum

Conveniently situated and strongly fortified, the castle in Sztum was a superb staging area for the knights of the Teutonic Order, who in 14th Centuries ventured into Lithuania for sorties.
The Pomesanian Sztum was conquered by Teutonic Knights in 1236. From 1325 to 1326, using stone and brick, they transformed a wooden town into a defensive stronghold which in 1333 became the residence of the Order's Commanders. The castle's structure differed from the majority of 14th-Century Teutonic seats, as it was erected in an irregular rectangle, rather than the usual square. Its shape resembled an island on which Sztum lay in the Middle Ages. The castle hill was surrounded by a moat and a wall incorporating a gate tower and two donjons.
In 1377, the castle received Albrecht III of Habsburg, an Austrian Duke who supported the Teutonic Order in its invasion of Samogitia. To express his gratitude, the Duke presented the Sztum Command with his family colours, i.e. a white strip on a red field. These symbols still serve Sztum, whose flag is identical to that of Austria. The funds left by the Duke facilitated the construction of a grand castle tower, from that time on called the Tower of Albrecht.
The seat of the Teutonic Commanders did not only fulfill a military role. After its reconstruction carried out in the 15th Century, the castle gained recognition as a summer residence of the Grand Master. The fortress featured all possible amenities, the representative rooms received stoves and bathrooms washing tubs, and water from the well at the courtyard was even claimed to possess therapeutic properties.
It was not until the end of the Thirteen Years' War that the Teutonic Order lost control over Sztum Castle. During the 17th-Century conflicts with Swedes, their King, Gustav Adolph, sought shelter there, although it did not guard the castle against damage. The Swedish troops left the stronghold in ruins, plundering all valuables, stove tiles included. Nowadays, the best-preserved parts of the complex are its southern wing, the walls with one donjon, and the gate tower. The Brotherhood of the Sztum Land Knighthood, active within its walls, organises knight's tournaments and historical shows, thereby recalling the fortress' splendour from years gone by.