Malbork Castle continues to surprise. Because who has not heard of the largest brick castle in Europe. Each of us learned about the Teutonic Knights and the Battle of Grunwald.
Coming from Low Lands, a land, flat as a table, we see a large brick building rising in front of us. With the sword and the mission of Christianization, from the 13th century, the knights of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the German House in Jerusalem conquered the Prussians territories, where they built about 120 castles.
The one in Malbork, the largest and most impressive, was their main home. It was here that the grand master of the order lived, it was here that the most important decisions for the entire order corporation were made. From here great politics was conducted and great feasts were organized, from here the knights of Europe set out with the Teutonic Knights on expeditions against pagans.
Approaching from the river Nogat, we will see three main parts of the largest mud castle:
- the economic part – the low castle,
- the representative part – the middle castle
- the oldest one – the high castle
Access to it was defended by moats, drawbridges, gates and numerous observation points not very visible to us. Thanks to these safeguards, this fortress has never been conquered in combat. The bribing of mercenary troops by Jagiellonan King Casimir IV caused Malbork bars to be raised and the gates to be open.
The castle was rebuilt from the ravages of war, but the original Gothic style can also be seen here. The bricks, fragments of the floor and elements of equipment that served the monks have survived.
The Great Refectory with its amazing vaulting and heating holes in the floor will be remembered for a long time as a place of ceremonial feasts for over 400 guests. Right next to it, another surprise – the ceiling of the Summer Refectory which is supported by only one column. According to records, during the siege of Malbork in the 15th century, it was almost destroyed by a cannonball that flew right next to it. The ball is still embedded in the wall to this day.
The amber exhibition with caskets, altars, ornaments and contemporary products made of “Baltic gold” attracts attention for a long time, as the exhibition of weapons. On which the collection of weapons ranges from the medieval sword, pole and blunt weapons to pistols and hussars’ weapons. In the courtyard we can look into the eyes of four great masters. The history of their achievements is like the history of the Order in a nutshell.
There is a well in the courtyard of the High Castle, and the ground floor houses a series of utility rooms: a brewery, a bakery, a kitchen, and warehouses. On the first floor, however, there were: a chapter house – refectory, a treasury, chambers of the important guests, dormitories or bedrooms, a church and a gdansker tower. Each of these rooms could be entered from the cloisters, used as communication routes.
According to the monastic rule, the brothers had more fast days than meat days during the year. One of the fasting delicacies served at that time were beaver tails dipped in honey. During the visit, everyone who has been to the Castle will remember the figurine of a devil with a grimace on his face and wings, the famous signpost to Gdańsk. What was gdansker, it is worth finding out on the spot.
A visit to the chapter house and the church with the beautiful, original 13th-century Golden Gate will undoubtedly provide an unforgettable experience. Everyone will also remember the exhibition of Gothic sculpture in the former dormitory.