As measured by land area the Malbork Castle in what is now Poland is the largest castle in the world. It is a remarkable 13th-century Teutonic castle and fortress and a UNESCO-listed site. It is located in what was once Prussia close to the modern-day Russian exclave of Kaliningrad - an exclave that was once East Prussia.
If one is also visiting the Czech Republic, the largest medieval place is Prague Castle. But also plan to visit Hohenwerfen Castle - the spectacular castle where eagles dare in the Alps in Austria.
The History of The Malbork Castle
It is considered a classic example of a medieval fortress and was once the largest brick castle in the world. The complex boasts dungeons and towers and covers some 20 hectares.
Completed: In 1406
It was the headquarters for the Teutonic Knights for over 150 years. Remember when visiting this castle is it immense so for allow for around half a day.
Malbork: Became the Capital of The Teutonic Order In 1309
Originally the Marlbork Castle was built as an Ordensburg fortress. In the Thirteen Year's War in 1457, it was sold to the King of Poland.
Full Name: Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork
Status: UNESCO Listed Since 1997
By 1457 the Order was in decline and after it become Polish it was the residence of Polish kings visiting Pomerania. Later the Swedish invaded this area and it gradually went into decline.
With the First Partition of Poland in 1772, it became part of Prussia. It was then part of Prussian and then German rule for 170 years until the German defeat in World War Two.
"Malbork’s blockbuster attraction is its show-stoppingly massive castle sitting on the banks of the sluggish Nogat River, an eastern arm of the Vistula."
It was one of the first buildings to be protected by the Germans as a symbol of medieval German glory. Today it is a must-see for anyone visiting the region with an interest in the best of medieval history.
The Teutonic Order/Knights
The castle was built by German Teutonic Knights (a German Catholic religious order of crusaders). Not all the crusaders fought in the Holy Land. Many of them crusaded against various remaining pagans (and even Christians deemed "heretics") in Europe.
The Malbork Castle was built after the Teutonic Order conquered Old Prussia (Old Prussia was a pagan and Baltic people before it became German). The castle was intended to strengthen German control over the region after the Great Prussian Uprising in 1274.
The Teutonic Order was a Catholic religious military order that was actually founded in Acre in the Kingdom of Jerusalem in around 1190 during the Third Crusade. At first, it was more a brotherhood as hospitallers in Acre but transformed into a knightly order.
Founded: Teutonic Order Was Founded In 1190 In The Kingdom of Jerusalem
After the fall of the Crusader kingdoms there, they relocated to Europe and eventually conquered the Baltic region. There were three knightly orders that participated in the Crusades and they were made up of monk-knights.
The Three Knightly Orders:
Teutonic Order: Full name "The Order of the Teutonic Knights of St. Mary's Hospital in Jerusalem"
The Order of St. John
Visiting The Malbork Castle
Opening Hours: 9.00 am to 4.00 pm (Last Admission at 3.00 pm)
Days Open: Open Daily
The Castle Tour of Malbork Castle's Interiors and Grounds:
This tour is only available from Tuesday to Sunday and from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm. But one will need to arrive earlier as the last admission is at 1.00 pm.
While visiting everyone must follow a tour guide or the audio guide during the visit. The price of the audio guides is included with the admission fee. The Castle tour of the interiors and the grounds takes around three hours.
Admission Fee: 60 PLN ($15) (Without Guided Tour)
Tours are available in Polish, German, English, Russian, Italian, Spanish, French, and Czech (subject to availability, require at the ticket office). These tours are limited to 20 people.
Price Guided Tour: 250 PLN ($63)
Duration: 3 Hours
Green Route of Just the Castle Grounds:
This tour covers the grounds of the impressive castle including the Outer Bailey, drawbridges, the Middle and High Castle courtyards, St. Anne’s Chapel, terraces and Grand Masters garden, moats, and defensive walls. The guided tours are available in the same languages as above.
Duration: One Hour
Monday: From 9.00 am to 4.00 pm (Ahe Last Admission at 3.00 pm)
Admission Fee: Free Of Charge For Entry On Mondays (Audio Guide 10 PLN)
Tuesday to Sunday: From 1.15 pm to 4.00 pm (the last admission at 3.00 pm)
Admission Fee: 30 PLN ($7)
Guided Tour: 250 PLN ($63)
More information is on the castle museum's website.