My first general awareness of Malbork Castle came from a Lufthansa flight magazine on a trip to Europe. Immediately I though “this is a place I need to visit” and in August 2013 I was able to do so with my family. Malbork is about 30 km (18 miles) southeast of Gdansk, Poland and can be visited by car or train from Gdansk.
This huge castle is one of Poland’s greatest tourist attractions. We were astounded at its size. We were “running” and it took us close to three hours to visit.
Malbork was built by the Teutonic Knights (a German religious order of monk-warriors founded during the Third Crusade to Jerusalem) and Malbork was their headquarters and seat of the Grand Masters for 150 years starting in 1309 (construction on the castle started in the 1370’s). World War II inflicted significant damage to parts of the castle, but it is largely intact and restored.
The primary structures include the High Castle (the stronghold), the Middle Castle (kitchens, rooms for entertaining guests and the Palace of the Grand Masters), and outer walls and buildings. Main sights include the Grand Master’s Palace, the Great Refectory, the High Castle Courtyard and St. Mary’s Church, including St. Anne’s Chapel underneath the church.
Be sure to visit the walls on the south side of the castle. There are interesting displays of medieval machinery and excellent views of the castle buildings and towers from here.
There are other Teutonic castles in northern Poland and in another post I will share images of two more, but Malbork is the grandest by far.
Sources: Plaques at Malbork Castle, Top Spot Guide: Malbork Castle – The World of the Teutonic Order, by Marek Stokowski.