Photographer's Note

The Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork/Marienburg.
It is the largest castle in the world by surface area 21 ha, and the largest brick building in Europe.

The castle was built by the Knights of the Teutonic Order as a fortress on the Nogat River. The order was sent there in 1225 by the Pope to convert the local pagan population into Christianity. In 1226 the Order was given land from Polish Duke Konrad of Mazovia, with an aim to protect Poland against the attacks of pagan Prussians. The Teutonic Order grew quickly stronger, exterminated Prussians, repressed local Christian population, started to threaten Poland. The knights tried to form their own state and to control the amber trade. Their headquarters was moved in 1309 from Venice to Malbork. In 1410, a Polish-Lithuanian army decisively defeated the Order and broke its military power at the Battle of Grunwald but the Polish King Wladyslaw Jagiello stalled out and was unable to rout them from Malbork.

The construction of the castle began in 1275. It was named Marienburg after the Virgin Mary, patron saint of the Order. It consists of three castles - the High, Middle and Lower Castles, separated by multiple dry moats and towers. The castle once housed approximately 3,000 "brothers in arms".
In the construction of the castle the knights used a lot of modern solutions: floor heating system and the system of keeping warm in the castle, elevators, modern toilets and many creative defense devices.

Today, the largest brick castle complex in the world, a jewel of military architecture is every year visited by about half a million tourists. There work about 130 guides and explain tourists all mysteries of the castle in all European languages.

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Additional Photos by Ryszard Michalik (rychem) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 4184 W: 0 N: 9916] (67679)
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