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Teutonic castle - Zabytek.pl


woj. warmińsko-mazurskie, pow. kętrzyński, gm. Barciany-gmina wiejska

An example of the Teutonic Order’s military architecture, one of the best-preserved conventual castles, a legible reflection of changes in the functional plan; a prosecutor’s seat.


Construction of the brick castle at a wooden fortress site started in 1377. According to the plans of Grand Master Winrich von Kniprode, it was to become the seat of a new commandry. Therefore, the defence structure in Barciany was originally designed as a massive four-wing complex with stately architectural features. In the first stage of construction which took place in 1377-1385, curtain walls were erected and the east wing with basements, as well as an entrance gate. Traces on the façade dating back to that phase testify to further expansion plans. Ca. 1385, the functional plan of the castle was reduced to a prosecutor’s seat. Instead of four wings, two were completed: the stately east wing, and the north wing, lower than initially planned. The other sides of the fortress remained enclosed with curtain walls. The beginning of the 15th century saw the last stage of castle construction when a low roundel was attached to north-east corner, covered with a conical roof. Following the secularisation of the order, the castle became the seat of the administrator of the local estate, and in 1580 Königsberg builder Blausius Berwart constructed a granary attached to the west curtain wall. In the 18th century, a single-storey residential building was erected at the south curtain wall, and a wooden cloister was converted into a wattle-and-daub structure. From the 19th century until 1945, the castle was leased by the Pachino family, together with the landed estate. In 1915, the north wing was destroyed by fire which consumed the original interior decorations. After the war, it became the seat of a state-owned farm. Since 2000, the complex has been owned by a private person and renovation/ conservation work is in progress at the site.


Taking advantage of the natural defensive features, the Barciany Castle was built on a hill, amidst marshes, to the south of a settlement that was to grow into a town. The stronghold was based on a rectangular floor plan sized 55 x 58 m. Brick walls on a stone plinth. Entrance from the east leads to the castle courtyard, once featuring a well in the middle. There are fragments of coloured polychromes preserved on a blind window to the right of the barrel-vaulted gate passage. East wing - the oldest and most stately one, with basements and a gate passage, covered with a high gable roof, and topped with two different ornamented round stepped gables. The most prominent castle interior was a high chapel with five windows, originally of pointed-arch design. Abutting on the chapel was a chapter house which later served as refectory. The top storeys of both wings accommodated single-space storage/defence rooms with rows of small windows/embrasures. The ground-floor and basement rooms covered with massive groin vaults served utility and storage functions. On the outer side, the east wing is supported by massive buttresses. The lower north wing without a basement served utility and residential purposes. Its west wall is topped with an ornamental gable, the finest one in the entire complex: divided by pinnacles featuring plastered panels, decorated with pointed-arch niches with circular openings. In the early mod period, the interior of the low roundel was reconstructed and the cupola ceiling was ornamented with stucco work. A wooden porch was added to the south façade of the east wing, and a terrace was built on top of the plinth of a tower which never saw completion.

The structure can be viewed from the outside.

Compiled by Adam Mackiewicz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Olsztyn, 7.12.2014.


  • Czubiel L., Zamki Warmii i Mazur, Olsztyn 1986, s. 1-4.
  • Jackiewicz-Garniec M, Garniec M., Zamki państwa krzyżackiego w dawnych Prusach. Powiśle, Górne Prusy, Warmia, Mazury, Olsztyn 2006, s. 64 - 74.
  • Kajzer L., Kołodziejski S., Salm J. Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Warszawa 2001, s. 83-84.
  • Torbus T., Zamki konwentualne państwa krzyżackiego w Prusach, Gdańsk 2014, s. 264-269.

Category: castle

Architecture: gotycki

Building material:  ceglane

Protection: Register of monuments

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_28_BK.152401