The Teutonic Knights – at one time part of the Northern Crusades – are preserved in the awareness of Poles through literature and cinema. The main works presenting the Teutonic Knights are the Henryk Sienkiewicz novel “The Knights of the Cross” and the Aleksander Ford film of the same title. Thanks to the ‘activities’ of the Teutonic Knights, Bytów has its most valuable monument.
The Castle was built during the years 1398-1405 on a hill towering over the city. It initially had the role of a border fortress, the headquarters of the Teutonic administration and an inn for knights travelling to the capital of the Teutonic State in Malbork. Over the centuries, the Castle has had many owners and fulfilled various roles – from a prison to a treasury office. The gothic building was constructed on a rectangular plane with three round towers and the quadrilateral Prochowa Tower, one in each corner. Access to the Castle was protected by a system of moats and a drawbridge. The oldest building of the Castle, the so-called Monastic House, is the current home of the West Pomerania Museum, but in medieval times it hosted the refectory, the chapel and the home of the prosecutor.
Today, the Castle is the main attraction of Bytów. Its walls host the West Pomerania Museum, the collections of which include the furnishings of the homes and households of the former Bytów land, as well as an exhibit of religious art. A visit would not be complete without seeing the Castle walls, which overlook the courtyard and the city panorama.
Today, the Bytów Castle is home to libraries, associations and a tourist information point. Tired tourists will find accommodation and satisfy their hunger with the tasty food offered in the restaurant.
Thanks to the Castle, Bytów has been placed on the vehicle route of the Gothic Castle Trail, leading through 12 towns in Warmia, Masuria, Pomerania and Kashubia.