Kwidzyn in one day

The former capital of Pomezania region is less than 100 kilometers from Gdansk. The castle with its nooks and crannies, the Cathedral with its wall paintings, the Crypt of the Grand Masters, the bell tower - all this and many other attractions are waiting to be rediscovered.

What was Pomezania?

Let’s go back to the Middle Ages, when the area around today’s Kwidzyn was inhabited by Slavs and later by pagan Prussians. The areas east of the Nogat River belonged to the Prussians. Territorially, Pomezania was marked by the area located between the Vistula, Nogat and upper Drweca rivers. The inhabitants of these areas were Pomezanians. Unfortunately, already in the XIIIth century, the pagan Pomezans were defeated by the stronger Teutonic Knights. Then the tribal-territorial name was used for the bishop’s areas. In 1243, the Pomezanian bishopric was established, with the city of Kwidzyn as its seat.

It was the Dominican Ernest, elected as the first bishop of Pomezania, who received 1/3 of the diocese as a salary. In the 1380s, a Pomezanian chapter was established and incorporated into the Teutonic Order.

From 1286, Kwidzyn was the seat of the Cathedral Chapter. The then parish church was raised to the rank of a cathedral. A decision was also made to build a castle.

What remains of the former capital of the Pomesan bishopric?

The completion of the new cathedral church dates back to the XIIIth/XIVth century. At that time, there were two castles in Kwidzyn (bishop’s and chapter’s), a cathedral and a town hall building. It was possible to enter the city through three gates, from directions of: Kwidzyn, Malbork and Grudziadz. To this day, the XIIIth century bishop’s cathedral and the castle of the Pomesan bishops have been preserved in Kwidzyn. These are perfect examples of Gothic architecture for secular and religious purposes.

It is worth remembering that the city parish co-cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Kwidzyn is an active church, hence religious celebrations have priority, and the tourist function comes second.

Sightseeing tickets for individual and group tourists are purchased at the “Tabularium” at the back of the cathedral. The cathedral is visited with a guide.

Visiting the cathedral

Explore the cathedral with a guide and hear the secret of the burials of three great masters of the Teutonic Order in the Crypt of the Grand Masters. Additionally, the story of the recluse Dorota from Matowy (1347 – 1394), who was bricked up in a cell at her own request for about a year, prompts reflection on life.

The name of the historic bishop’s throne, “Sedes”, will bring a smile to many visitors. The parish church’s polychromes with parables are a journey back in time. You will listen to the parable of the “Wise and Foolish Virgins”, you will see wall paintings in which you will see the image of Saint. Bridget, Mary, Jesus. Climb to the upper choir and look at the image of the three great masters Werner von Orselen, Ludolf Konig, and Heinrich von Plauen, the ones you heard about in the Crypt. Beautiful wooden confessionals also hide interesting stories.

After seeing the cathedral, climb the cathedral’s bell tower, it serves as an observation tower. When it was built, no one expected that it would become a tourist attraction in the future, so it causes some inconvenience. It’s quite narrow inside, over 200 steep stairs, and it can accommodate 9 people and a guide at the same time. However, the view is worth these minor inconveniences.

Castle of the Pomesan Chapter

The castle in Kwidzyn is a branch of the Castle Museum in Malbork, the ticket is purchased behind the castle gate. The price of the ticket to the castle includes an audio guide in several language versions. There are toilets below the castle courtyard.

​A bit of a history

The castle of the Pomesan chapter resembles a Teutonic castle. It was built at the turn of the XIIIth and XIVth centuries, using stones and bricks as building materials. It had the form of a quadrangle, was two-story, and the courtyard was square. In front of the entrance gate there was an outer ward, an economic base. The final stage of work was completed toilet tower, called “Gdansker” in the 1480s. Initially, the castle was an independent structure, only later it was connected to the cathedral, and the south-east corner tower was transformed into a bell tower.

The castle was the seat of the Pomesan chapter, a religious and political-administrative center. In 1526, after the secularization of the Teutonic Order, the Pomesan bishops also converted to Protestantism. A few years later, the castle became a government building and residence.

After the first partition of Poland, until 1935 the castle was the seat of a court and a prison. Already in 1936, it became the seat of the Hitlerjugend HJ-Ostlandführerschule.


Kwidzyn Castle - view of Gdanisko, photo: Pomorskie Travel/ M.Ochocki

Kwidzyn Castle - view of Gdanisko, photo: Pomorskie Travel/ M.Ochocki

Zamek w Kwidzynie, fot. Pomorskie Travel/M.Ochocki

Zamek w Kwidzynie, fot. Pomorskie Travel/M.Ochocki

Visiting the castle

  • Go down the stairs into the Gothic cellars, which are a space for temporary exhibitions. Then look into the well tower, from which water was drawn until the XVIth century. In the XIXth century, this tower served as prison cells. Nowadays, long-eared bats and bats hibernate here in winter.
  • When entering the main part of the castle, you will pass through the former dormitories, bedrooms for monks. However, from the XVIth century, this interior became the seat of offices and apartments of officials and officers. From the XIXth century, it has been a place of court sessions.
  • What arouses the most emotions is the XIVth century “Gdansker” tower, which served as a toilet, but also as a final defense tower, and is located 54 meters away from the main body of the castle. From the XIXth century until 1935, Gdansk was a prison. Today, its interior houses an ethnographic exhibition mainly relating to the areas of Powisle. Each of us will recognize painted furniture, sculptures and pottery. However, the purpose of agricultural and kitchen equipment, a prototype of a washing machine, or a cheese press is quite a mystery to younger tourists.
  • Through the built-up cloisters that surrounded the courtyard and served communication functions, go to the former chancellery of the Pomesan chapter. It was a place of work, where chronicles were written and documents were prepared. It is alleged that it was in the chapter office that canon Jan from Kwidzyn wrote down the life and revelations of Dorota from Matowy.
  • The next room is the winter refectory, originally a place for eating meals in winter. From the XVIth century, this room was occupied by the castle manager. In May 1967, a permanent nature exhibition “Nature – the nation’s treasure” was opened on the third floor of the castle.

A walk around Kwidzyn

After leaving the castle, look at it from the outside, especially from the side of the “Gdansker” tower protruding from the face of the building. Start in front of the castle gate, pass the Cinema Theatre at John Paul II Square, turn into Warszawska Street and see the outline of the former medieval gate. Continue straight and turn at the post office building, continue walking to the main city promenade at J. Piłsudski Street, there are cafes and restaurants that tempt you with their offer. Go further to the Plebiscite Square, you will see figurines of musical notes and restored buildings around: the District Court, the School Complex , the Community Primary School and the slightly hidden building of the Music School.

Going further you will pass the church of St. Saint Trinity with interesting furnishings, continue the walk along Grudziadzka Street to the complex of the former Royal Non-commissioned Officers’ School, which from a distance looks a bit like a bastille. Nowadays, it houses the headquarters of the Kwidzyn Cultural Center, a school and the Commune Office.

At Magazynowa Street there is the Granary, which proudly presents its silhouette, the remains of the city walls and the tower of the former town hall will be the culmination of the walk. ​

Kwidzyn Cultural Centre, photo: Pomorskie Travel

Kwidzyn Cultural Centre, photo: Pomorskie Travel

Kwidzyn with a child

Check out the repertoire of the Cinema-Theatre at Jana Pawla II Squere, the building is intended to refer to a barge. Another option for children may be a performance on the Jan Wilkowski Puppet Stage or activities and attractions prepared by the Cultural Center in Kwidzyn. You can drive a few kilometers to Milosna. They definitely won’t be bored here.



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