Teutonic castle, Ostróda
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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An example of military architectural structure erected by the Teutonic Order, used as headquarters of commanders of the Order on the southern borderlands of the Teutonic Order State.


The construction of the brick castle at the confluence of the river Drwęca, where its mouth meets a lake, was started already in 1349 and lasted until 1380. The castle in Ostróda has a dynamic and violent history. In the 15th century, it was two times overrun by Poles. After Prussia was secularised in 1525, the castle became the seat of starostry. In the second half of the 16th century and in the 17th century, the structure changed owners a couple of times. After the fire in 1788, which consumed not only the castle, but also the town, the structure was reconstructed only partially, and its rooms were earmarked to serve as residential premises and once again, the seat of starostry. In 1806, the castle housed the main staff of Prussian and Russian army in the Napoleonic War. In the 1807, the structure was captured by Napoleon, who make the castle the main headquarters of his staff. In the 19th century, the castle underwent adaptation works a couple of times, and it housed, inter alia, municipal and district construction administration and a court. After 1915, castle premises were earmarked for residential purposes. As a result of war struggles in 1945, the castle and town were nearly completely consumed by fire and the former remained in that condition long after the war. In 1977–92, the castle in Ostróda was rebuilt. However, its former height was not restored, and in place of the eastern wing, only a curtain wall was erected. The structure currently houses a museum and cultural institutions and a knight guild.


In its original form, the ordensburg in Ostróda was a four-wing complex without tower. The structure was erected on a plan approximating that of a square sized 44.7 x 45.2 metres. At present, it is comprised of three wings and curtain walls closing the quadrangle from the east. The entrance gate is located in the western wing. The complex was built of brick and rested on a stone foundation. The ground floor housed utility rooms. On the first floor of the souther wing, there were a refectory and a chapel, while the gate passage to the castle courtyard was located in the western wing. The foregate did not survive; its relics were uncovered during archeological examinations. Archeological examinations also revealed pillars of a dansker — a castle toilet facility spanning the moat and adjoining the northern wing from the outside. From the courtyard, the castle wings were adjoined by wooden cloisters which served traffic purposes. In the middle of the yard, there was a well discovered during excavations in years 1968–1969. Nothing is known about the form of external castle fortifications. The reconstruction created after the war does not allow to fully assess the spacial complex and architectural form of the castle in Ostróda.

The castle houses a municipal museum. There are two exhibition halls in the former castle rooms. In one of them, there is an exhibition pertaining to the history of the town and its immediate vicinity.

Compiled by Hanna Mackiewicz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board in Olsztyn, 7.10.2014.


  • Kajzer L., Kołodziejski S., Salm J. Leksykon zamków w Polsce, Warszawa 2001, s. 362-364.
  • Czubiel L., Zamki Warmii i Mazur, Olsztyn 1986, s. 59-62.
  • Jackiewicz-Garniec M., Garniec M., Zamki państwa krzyżackiego w dawnych Prusach. Powiśle, Górne Prusy, Warmia, Mazury, Olsztyn 2009, s. 318-328.

General information

  • Type: castle
  • Chronology: 1349-1380
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Ostróda
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district ostródzki, commune Ostróda (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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