Ordensburg, currently a school, Olsztynek
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Ordensburg, currently a school



An example of a neo-Gothic reconstruction reminiscent of the original, Gothic castle complex built by the Teutonic Order.


The castle in Olsztynek was built around mid-14th on a small hill adjacent to the north-western edge of the town. In 1410, the castle complex was overrun along with the city by the army of Władysław Jagiełło, and four years later, during the Hunger War, it was destroyed, but soon rebuilt thereafter. After secularisation of the Teutonic Order, castle premises were earmarked for the headquarters of starostry, and then served as an arsenal. In the second half of the 18th century, they became the headquarters of domain officials. With the end of this century, devastation of the castle began, and in 1793 major part of its building were demolished. Only the ground floor of the northern wing was left to serve as residential premises for officials. In years 1847-1849, the former castle complex was converted into a gymnasium, from which the later laureate of the Noble Prize, bacteriologist Emil von Behring (1854-1917), graduated. The conversion of the castle in neo-Gothic style erased to a significant extent the medieval character of the fortress, recreating its original form only roughly. After 1945, school building were renovated and once again earmarked for educational purposes.


The original castle complex was comprised of three wings surrounded by a perimeter of defensive walls, additionally strengthened by a deep moat. Out of it, only basements with cross-rib vaults and part of peripheral walls of the main religious house survived up to this day. The school which replaced the castle, is reminiscent in its neo-Gothic form of the former castle complex. Its main building is a reconstruction of the former representative northern wing of the castle. In the south-eastern corner of the school complex, adjacent to the former outer castle areas, there is a three-storey building reminiscent of the former castle tower. Both buildings are connected by a small eastern wing with a projecting section. The neo-Gothic school complex, similarly as the medieval castle, was built of brick on a stone ground plate. In the case of the northern wing, also the external walls of the ground floor are clad with stone, and façades from the yard are decorated with burr bricks. The buildings are covered with gable roofs laid with ceramic tiles, and the gable topping them are accentuated by pinnacles. Rectangular window openings feature pointed and segmental arches in the top sections. A massive buttress adjoining the eastern gable of the northern wing from the outside most probably constitutes a remains of the former, castle defensive walls. Archeological research carried out in 2006-2007 on the school yard revealed additionally a Gothic entrance to the basements, a wall, and most probably, foundation of the first gatehouse once located on the south side.

Accessible structure. The structure houses a Vocational Schools Complex.

Compiled by Adam Mackiewicz, 7.12.2014.



  • Kajzer L., Kołodziejski S., Salm J. Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Warszawa 2001, s. 351.
  • Czubiel L., Zamki Warmii i Mazur, Olsztyn 1986, s. 56-58.
  • Jackiewicz-Garniec M, Garniec M., Zamki państwa krzyżackiego w dawnych Prusach. Powiśle, Górne Prusy, Warmia, Mazury, Olsztyn 2006, s. 306-311.

General information

  • Type: castle
  • Chronology: 1360
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Olsztynek
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district olsztyński, commune Olsztynek - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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